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Archives for: April 2008

15th Annual Ukulele Festival of Northern California

The 15th Annual Ukulele Festival of Northern California was yesterday in Hayward California. It was a beautiful day for a ukulele festival and as usual it seemed a good time was had by all. I got to meet up with some old friends and also got to meet a few new friends that are part of the Ukulele Underground (UU). UU is a relatively new website dedicated to promoting the Aloha spirit which seems to go hand in hand with this incredible addictive instrument we know as the ukulele. If you haven’t already done so, stop over to UU, become a registered member, and look around. You will find video lessons, tablature, within the forum as well as links to outside sources such as Dominator Ukulele Tabs and Ukulele Hunt, as well as helpful tips from the forum members. There are plenty of exciting things such as ukulele giveaways and online open mics that members can participate in.

The most memorable part of the day for me is that it was my first time as a performer at any Ukulele Festival. It was definitely an experience to go through the process of moving between the stations as you work your way to the main stage. I was fairly relaxed by the time I hit the stage as I opened with Jake’s Blue Roses Falling. Then I got a little tense as I worked my way through my arrangement of George Harrison’s Something. It was just a short ten minute slot so I needed a short one to finish with and I chose the Star Spangled Banner. I left the stage feeling like I did a decent job of controlling my nerves and getting through the set. I wasn’t able to capture any video on my own but I should be receiving the footage in the next few days or so. I’ll post some videos once I have the DVD in hand. In the meantime, here are a few pics from the show.

One Note Samba - TAB

James Hill gave me the green light to post my “interpretation” of one of his “Live” arrangements of the One Note Samba. The standard notation is reflective of D6 tuning with a low A string, however, there’s no need to change any of the chord shapes to play the arrangement in C6 tuning. Use the same “chord shapes” that are indicated in the tablature staff and it will sound great just down one full step in pitch.

I’d like to point out that the midi file has a 16 measure space of silence which represents the section of percussion on the ukulele. I never did count the actual measures that James plays the percussion in his video or, for that matter, the number of measures I play percussion in my own YouTube video.

This is a great progression. I hope you have fun with it. The tab can be found on the TABS page.

One Note Samba

I was blown away when I saw James Hill play the One Note Samba on Youtube. He has two versions and the middle percussive sections are quite different. I worked from a video of this earlier arrangement but changed some chords in one of the sections to fit within my own playing abilities.

James takes the middle section to new heights in this version where he adds his imaginary friends to the mix.

I tried to record this the other night and after about 6 tries I was finally able to make it through the complete arrangement without stopping. However, it was very poor and I knew it was time to just leave it be and come back to it later.

So tonight, after a wonderful dinner out with my wife, I decided to have another glass of wine and give it another go. Somehow I managed to get through the entire piece on the first take and decided that even though it wasn't the greatest I'd better leave well enough alone.

I'm working on a tab and will have it available soon.


Jason Castro - Over The Rainbow on American Idol

Jason Castro played ukulele and sang Israel Kamakawiwo’ole's version of Over the Rainbow tonight on American Idol. Though Paula referred to it as a “guitar” all the judges were really pleased with Jason’s performance. Regardless of how you look at it this was a positive thing getting the ukulele in front of such a large viewing audience.

Woodshed, over at Uke Hunt has put together a chord chart of Jason’s version which is a good place for any newcomers or Jason fans wanting to start playing ukulele.

Our 4 string friend is getting some well deserved visibility.