Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another Tough Election Choice (and Poll #13)

Like many of you out there, I've spent several hours every day over the past few months poring over polls and analyzing charts and watching numbers and reading analysis and watching 24-hour news coverage of the elections. I'd guess it's an addiction, but I won't be sure until I read about it on a reputable political analysis site. I'll just obsessively refresh fivethirtyeight.com to see if baseball stat genius Nate Silver has done any number-crunching analysis on election poll-watching addiction for people in the Northeast ages 25-32.

He hasn't.

Still hasn't.

So that's where most of my time drifts away these days. What may be the most exciting election I'll ever watch is just five days away from being OVER. Just FIVE days away from having a new government after 8 awful years of the worst fear-mongering, ignorant, impotent, belligerent, incompetent Executive branch of my lifetime.

FAILURE.

Of course when I looked at the two candidates this time around, one thing really stood out:

Notice anything four-stringed about this candidate?

So we have Hawaiian Barack Obama, who probably loves the uke, vs. this angry fellow:


My friends, YEEEAARRRRRRGH!!

I suspect my decision will match most of the readers at Ukulala, at least based on the "scientific" data from this Ukulala poll a few months ago:


John "McStupid" (who said I was juvenile? I'll bite you!) comes in at a whopping 4%.

More people prefer 1992's premiere chartman (Perot) AND/OR electing an inanimate order of McDonald's French Fries president than that agitated uke-smashing Bushonomics-loving old man.

Whatever your choice, vote Tuesday, November 4th as early as you can!

3 Comments:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Join the Resurgence

I just talked to Danno Sullivan, fellow uker in the Greater Boston Area, and he's going to be offering a beginner's class on the ukulele this fall in Cambridge, MA at the Cambridge Center for Adult Ed.

Here's Danno's fun description of the course:

Ukulele for the Almost Musical

Easier to get started on than other string instruments, but full of music and fun— it's the ukulele. The uke was big in the 20s, bigger in the 60s, and now it's the instrument of choice again for great-sounding, portable music. This class is for anyone who'd like to learn the basics and for players who'd like the chance to play songs with others. At each class you'll learn new songs in a variety of strumming techniques and styles, from Polynesian pop to rock to Tin Pan Alley; the new chords required; and how to figure out chords you don't know. Join the resurgence— small is big! No ukulele? Some loaners are available; e-mail the instructor for recommendations prior to class. Limited to 16.

Sec. 01: 8 Tuesdays, 5:45-7:15 pm. Begins Sep. 30, 56 Brattle St. | $159


In fact, first class starts this Tuesday, September 30th! So if you got a hankerin' for some ukerin', sign up and have some fun and, as Danno says,

...join the resurgence...


1 Comment:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New look, same Ukulala

I've been working on personalizing Ukulala a bit, so it feels more like it's own (and my own) place, and less like the generic blogspot site it actually is.

So don't run away just cause the site looks different!

I did a black-and-white background sketch, which hopefully you can see right now. It's a work-in-progress so who knows what may be added next. Link graphics? New post icons?!! New colors??! Maybe something to do with ukuleles? Anything is possible.

It may take me some time to get all the formatting right (and believe me, that's fun work... oh yeah), but hopefully soon it will be the "new-look" Ukulala. All the content should be exactly the same, it's purely a cosmetic change at this point.

6 Comments:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Phase Two: Makin' some music

So it's been a while since I last posted a new tutorial, but not because I haven't been busy on the uke.

My plan from the beginning is to make a video of "How to Play" every song I learn. That way I learn on my own, and then double-learn by making the tutorial video, which forces me to be more clear and accurate. That was Phase One. But there was also a Phase Two: I wanted to eventually make some of my own music.

The reason for fewer tutorial videos in the last few months is that I haven't been learning as many songs. Instead, I've been taking a break to make my own! My sister Flora and I (and Gorch from overseas) have been working on original music, with the goal of having a few songs done by the end of the year.

It's surprisingly difficult to coordinate, especially since the closest person to me in our makeshift "band" is, according to Google Maps, 3058 miles away.

So eventually (hopefully this year!) I'll have some original music posted here or on YouTube, along with several tutorials on songs I'm trying to learn.

I always have a few songs in mind I'm trying to figure out. I keep them categorized in my head like so:

Songs I can kinda play

  • Across the Universe by the Beatles (strumming not quite right)
  • Age of Consent by New Order (chords are easy, timing difficult to work out--good cover I'm learning from here)
  • Tightly by Neko Case (sounds better on guitar, but I think I have it close)
  • Hell by Squirrel Nut Zippers (timing is a bit dificult, but strumming and chords I have)
  • Ballad of John and Yoko by the Beatles (chords are hard unless you change the tuning)
  • Lua by Bright Eyes (this one has good instructions online for guitar, but I haven't been able to make it work quite right on the uke)
Songs I really, really want to learn

If you have any suggestions about any of these songs, or if you can play them, PLEASE let me know! I especially want to see a good uke cover of I'll Believe in Anything.......... then I kan STEALZ IT!!!

0 Comments:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Poll #12: Hello Musicians!

Remember a long time ago when I first released the results of poll #1 and found out most Ukulala visitors were a bunch of drunks? Well, the results of poll #12 are now in!

...so what happened to polls #2 through #11...? See, I was going to do them in order, but then I had a bunch of problems with poll #2. Poll #2, as described here, was supposed to be a song that was based on the poll results. Unfortunately, it isn't entirely trivial to post mp3s on blogger. I would have to sign up for third-party web hosting and include a link, and find a compatible [player, and it just became a hassle that I decided to deal with later.

But I didn't want to release the poll results out of order, so I just didn't do write-ups on any of them. Now I think I'll just try to bang them out in whatever order I feel like, but I will get to them all! In that spirit, the most recent poll was:

Have you ever recorded your own music?


A:
Yes, plenty of times. (
54%)
B: Yes, once or twice. (
31%)
C: No... not yet. (
8%)
D: No, I just love to listen. (
8%)

Wow! 85% of Ukulala visitors have recorded their own music, and half of those who haven't are planning on it someday.

That's awesome.

I'd love to hear what you have recorded........ PLEASE post links to your music in the comments, or email me at askukulala@yahoo.com.

If you'd like me to, I'll let you know what I think--in a very honest and possibly cruel and brutal fashion!

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ukulala at Ukulele Noir

Mmmm beer and ukuleles....


Front row at the Ukulele Noir (click for bigger pic of Ian Schwartz and the Sour Candy Orchestra).

So it's been a very busy, busy month for Paz down at the Tepuloid shoe redistrubution center. We got two solid weeks of shipments from the new Tredz line without ANY of the inventory documentation or tags. Of course, I'm the guy who has to go in for overtime and tag them. Long story short-- if you ever wondered how many model 7A shoeboxes fit in a single compartment of a 3-story warehouse shelf, the answer is... a lot.

In my off hours, I did get out to check out an interesting show last week (or was it two weeks ago now?!), July 25th at the Castlebar in Brighton, MA. After some initial searching online for a local ukulele scene, I was enticed by the ukulele noir website and decided to give it a whirl.

I did a bit of internet research beforehand to figure out who was going to be there, and wrote down this list of who to look out for:


Craig Robertson - Ukulele Noir founder
Tim Mann - thin, longer black hair
Ian Schwartz - scruffy
Amber Nash - ukebucket (!!)
Robert Wheeler - Uke consciousness
Tripping Lily - Monica, Demetrius, Alex, Laird


I was surprised that one of the performers was going to be Amber Nash of ukebucket, (whose April 30th original song I already had downloaded onto my computer). I can't find a link to it now, but it's good. I didn't really know what to expect, but I brought a camera and a little notebook. After my failed socks from a few weeks ago, I put my lucky make-out glasses on and hit the road.

The following is from my memory, my notes, and also I had a bunch of beers:

After leaving the bar and Sox game (they lost 1-0), I headed to the back room of the Ukulele Noir show. There was something different about this crowd... many of them were holding ukuleles, or long funny-shaped metallic doohickeys (would later find it was called a "floot"). It was a nice looking space with chairs and tables set up around the stage, which seemed appropriate... but unfortunately anyone coming or going had to walk in front of the stage.

It was a friendly crowd and I was right on time. One of the nice girls sitting next to me was Rachel Kiel, who, it turned out, was herself a musician playing with the first act:

Ian Schwartz and the Sour Candy Orchestra


It's funny, I actually recognized Ian from an online ukulele contest we both made videos for. Mine was Postcards From Italy and he did a few but I particularly liked his tutorial on four-note chords. So he looked familiar as soon as I got there.


Ian Schwartz and Rachel Kiel during the Sour Candy Orchestra performance.

I remember they were the Sour Candy Orchestra. How, I imagine you asked? Because they threw out bags of sour candy in between each song--to make sure we all had a taste of their sweet sweet band. I'll never forget the sweet gum middle... and I'll never forget the Sweet Gum Middle Band.....

They had a cello (Behvin McDonnel), a soprano sax (Beth Goodman), a flute (Rachel Kiel), and of course Ian Schwartz on the ukulele. It was a good mix of instruments, and Ian and Rachel both did vocals. I wish I had a recording of the sound they had, because it's a bit different from what I am hearing now on their myspace. Apparently it was their first time playing all together, but it sounded pretty tight.

The songs sounded light but had a bit darker--or at least, more adult-- lyrical content than you'd expect if you heard an instrumental. I think they touched on cheating (You'll Drive Into the Night: "...she's holding me, kissing me--and I don't think that he would like it"), alcohol dependence (The Sun is Getting Colder: "...and for now, whiskey's all I need..."), and maybe the shame of being a blue-faced ever-lovin' ten-foot-tall disgrace (
The Disgrace: "I hide my face in the clouds").

I talked to Ian after his set for a bit and he recommended I check out the Ukulele Underground forums. He also said he prefers to do shows with the bigger band because when it's just him with a uke up there on stage he can't help but think "Why am I up here?" I'm sure he's fine on his own with the uke, but it definitely doesn't hurt having an orchestra back you up (double bonus for shows if it's an all-attractive-girl orchestra).

Oh, and I found out later Ian is a friend of a friend. It's a small city.


Robert Wheeler

Robert opened with some light playing and historical ukulele anecdotes. His set took a couple surprise turns, paraphrased from my notes:

"The uke... brings up all sorts of questions about life... like, 'why doggystyle?'"


"[something something something] Clinton... [something something] ...great contributions to the... Oral History of America."


Dirty man. Well ok, maybe just the jokes. He is an entertainer, after all. And founder of "Ukulele Consciousness", which I think has been around for a long while but I can't seem to find the definitive writings of. Maybe the whole thing isn't online?

I guess the jokes worked to get the crowd involved. By the time he got to his awesome rendition of "My Girl", the
whole crowd was singing along.


Robert Wheeler after spitting some uke wisdom in his customized "uke consciousness" jacket.

Craig Robertson

Craig's the man with the plan, the founder (founding member?) of Ukulele Noir. He is also a performer with a style that fit the dark cabaret atmosphere of noir:

Craig Robertson, founder of Ukulele Noir, noirs it up.

His set was a bit dark with a mix of humor and, again, adult themes. I think I'm starting to get a feel for what the Uke Noir is all about.... the song he described beforehand as "the closest thing I have to a love song" had some french in it and then the lyrics "take that dress off".

I think the idea of an ukulele troupe is interesting. It's a community for the local uke players and perhaps a place for people to get comfortable doing shows with some friendly faces. Craig and Ukulele Noir have been around my neighborhood a while, so I'll be in touch with him about what's going on in the uke-munity where I live, and for advice while I'm learning.

Ed Arnold

"I have CDs for sale in the back," Ed said after the first song. "...Mostly Flock of Seagulls, but take a look, you might find something you like."

Heh heh, bootleg CDs for sale.... I think that's a pretty good gag actually. And despite (I suspect) being barely sober enough to stand, Ed may have been my favorite music of the evening.

Now, he wasn't the most talented uke player, and he didn't have the most polished sound (see Tripping Lily below), but his set was the closest to the kind of music I usually listen to. The way he used the ukulele, his choice of songs (mostly covers of excellent songs), and his energy--to beat-box, to make jokes and to stomp his feet to entertain us--won me over. He stopped to show for second (as he did every time he forgot the lyrics or chords) and said "I'm a drummer, dammit!"--and it showed. He played with a harsh rhythm, loud and energetic, while he stomped hard and in time to get a bass drum out of the floor.

He brought something to the table I hadn't seen before in a one-man uke act, and it was great.


Ed Arnold: drummer, ukulelist, entertainer, drunk.

I think he was a friend or possibly a guest of Ian's. I tried to look his music up on myspace or something, but all I found was him being quoted in the Boston Globe about Google's math problem billboards:

Ed Arnold, 31, of Watertown, a drummer with the band Amun Ka, had no idea what the banner meant until a reporter explained it. But then Arnold said: ''Advertising is all about targeting who you want to get. If they're trying to get very intelligent mathematicians, that's the way to go."
Boston Globe, 2004

Damn right. And the Globe finished the article with his quote, which means it basically captured the point of the entire piece. Kudos.

Tim Mann

Another founding member of Ukulele Noir, Tim's music felt a lot more like folk than most of the other acts. He had a set of mostly original songs with his own unique style. It is soft music and I think the writing, especially the lyrics in 'Mystery' and the music in 'Distant Strangers', is very strong.


Tim Mann: keep on strummin'....... ...FOREVER.

I think his recordings on the myspace page really benefit from the richer sound he adds in. I'd like to see him play his songs with a larger band.

...He was also nice enough to give a belligerent drunken hobo like me a ride home...

Amber Nash

Never showed, which means my damn glasses failed even worse than the socks. She was definitely one of the artists I was hoping to talk to, so I might get in touch with her in the future.


Tripping Lily

Tripping Lily was probably the biggest, tightest, most polished act of the evening. The main event, if you will.

The band is:
Demetrius singing and on the uke and guitar.
Alex on the mandolin, violin (fiddle?), singing, and washboard.
Monica on the fiddle and soprano uke.
Laird on the stringed bass.

They moved off the stage and set up in the middle of the room in a tight circle. In between songs they would mix and match instruments and come up with a new combination that somehow worked. The gentleman next to me, who I had been talking with a bit over the night, told me he had come to see them. I could tell he was enjoying them on a deeper level than me when he started talking about the complexity of their rhythm changes. I liked how the washboard made me want to dance.


Tripping Lily, imported goods from Nashville.

Now, I am in no way a music reviewer. I know less about music than most people. In fact I know less about music than most people know about... differential equations. Music is still mostly a mystery to me, and part of Ukulala is figuring some of it out to play it myself. But I still am amazed when I see it done well, and I still only listen to about 10 bands regularly. I am not knowledgeable about music, is what I'm getting at, so I'll leave the job of describing Tripping Lily with complex music-talk to the pros:
Equal parts sassy bluegrassers and moody urban songwriters, jazzy jammers and sighing torch singers, Tripping Lily is nearly a genre unto itself. The folk-pop quartet formed in Nashville, but calls Boston home now, and its sound appeals to neotrad and alt fans alike. Guitars, mandolins, and fiddles prance behind airy, quirky melodies that feel both rootsy and modern. The harmonies lull like lullabies, then jolt as if shot through jumper cables.
BOSTON GLOBE - Scott Alarik - Feb 1, 2007, as quoted on Tripping Lily's Press page
Phew. I never would have come up with all that. I thought it was awesome, and they had some of the best all-around musicians I've seen in a while (Alex on several instruments, including the mandolin, washboard, and violin). The upright bass really added depth to the music and made it... smoother.

Overall, this is a young group with good looks and a lot of musical talent between them. AND best of all, they have a name that sounds like an action sentence, so I can pull the ol' Simpsons gag next time I meet them:

(Alex extends hand) "Alex, Tripping Lily."
(shakes hands) "Paz, smiling politely."

1 Comment:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ukulala meets the Squirrel Nut Zippers

1/7/09 UPDATE: Check out the comments for some additional notes and corrections from Will Dawson and Darrell, both part of SNZ. Thanks y'all!

7/23/08 UPDATE: Thanks to some corrections and details from the good folks over at HUMANWINE, I have made a few changes in the sections that talked about them.

First off: this is going to be a long post with lots of pictures, animated gifs, and video. So be forewarned!

Last week, on Friday, one of my favorite bands ever, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, played at the Paradise in Boston. Now... I don't want to give away too much about my secure undisclosed location, but Boston is close enough that I decided to make the rare trip out in the sun (and disgusting, filthy germ-filled air) to check out the show:


Now since I've done a tutorial on one of their songs (Plenty More) and since I am a fan of their stuff in general, I got in touch with the band a few days before the show to see if they'd be interested in talking a little bit about their music, their band, and --since they do use the ukulele sometimes-- about ukuleles. They graciously agreed to chat for a bit and maybe pose for some photos after their soundcheck.

Now I am by no means a professional interviewer, but I knew I wanted three things:

1: An answer to the question "How does the ukulele fit into the big picture of your music?" and
2: A photo of someone in the band playing the Ukulala ukulele, and
3: To make out with Katharine Whalen.

With those goals in mind (and my lucky make-out socks on), I met up with my friend and photographer Aaron at the front door and started taking some occasional notes. Over the next hour or so, I met Chris Phillips (the drummer), Drew (the stage manager), Jimbo Mathus (lead vocalist and writer), Katharine Whalen (female vocalist and four-string virtuoso), and several people part of or helping out HUMANWINE, the opening act.

The following snippets about each are based loosely off my notes and my rapidly-faltering booze-scarred memory:

Chris Phillips


This is the first person I talked to, the drummer for SNZ. He approached me when he saw the ukulele case and introduced himself. I had him to thank for inviting us to stop by, and he brought us back to the stage to introduce us to the crew and band.

My memory of what we talked about is a bit fuzzy, but I think he has a couple kids, and he said they were growing up into music and would probably be learning on the uke at least while they're young and it fits them. He messes around a bit on it too. The gateway instrument....

I think he kind of expected that I was waiting to interview the lead singers or the ukulele player. Makes sense, but he seemed like a humble, down-to earth guy and I wish I had talked to him a bit longer and gotten more photos.

Here he is at the end, with Katharine:


Katharine Whalen and Chris Phillips cradle her ukulele like a baby.

At the end of the interview/chat, when he came out to talk to Katharine, he stepped in and asked if we had tickets to the show. I told I had mine already, but the show was sold out and Aaron didn't have a ticket. Chris said it was no problem if he wanted to go, and he got Aaron's full name and added it to the guest list.

Drew (Andy)


The Squirrel Nut Zippers' stage manager's name is Drew (and Andy), and he's a hard-working, genial motherfucker with a keen sense of humor. The show went off without a hitch. Also--if your band is doing a sound check and you need to find a wireless mic guard and half of some jerk's broken glass pipe, he's the only dude you can trust to get it done.


SNZ Stage Manager Drew tunes the bejeezus out of Katharine's custom-made gift, a tenor guitar.

He helped us coordinate with the band so they could get their soundcheck in, have time to do a "limousine interview" (Katharine later said someone brought her around in a limousine with champagne and a photographer for an interview right before mine. Oh man, I can't compete with that), and still meet with us for a bit.

The mustachioed glue that keeps SNZ together and functioning behind the scenes.

Jim Mathus


He's the front-man for the Zippers now, and he looks it. The man has style, even when, or maybe especially when, he's going straight-up casual:

Jimbo Mathus

I wasn't sure whether to call him Jim or Jimbo, but I don't think it really mattered. I still don't know which to go with, 'cause I forgot to ask, but Aaron thinks Jimbo is best. We talked outside while he had a cigarette, and I just basically let him know who I was and asked him a few questions about how the band writes their songs and chooses their instruments.

While we were talking, a few members of the band HUMANWINE were walking by to set up their stuff, and he introduced himself and me. One girl, whose name I unfortunately did NOT write down but HUMANWINE tells me was Kaethe Hostetter, stayed to hang out. She plays the viola/violin.

It sounded like she was on the road pretty often and had a lot in common with Jim, so they swapped a few travel stories. She picked up the Ukulala ukulele, and--without being a regular ukulele player--played something cute and catchy. Then she played something a bit harder while Jimbo eyeball-danced:

Jimbo Mathus of SNZ and Kaethe Hostetter violin player for HUMANWINE rock out on the Ukulala ukulele.

Then I witnessed something fantastic. Jim was chatting with Kaethe about New Orleans when someone mentioned something about collaborations. The conversation went something like this (and I am viciously paraphrasing, but what they actually said was probably even shorter):

Jimbo: so, you guys want to collaborate at the end?
Kaethe: Yeah, sure, that sounds cool. How should it go?
Jimbo: We'll play C and G at the end of the encore, you guys can just jump in and play along.
Kaethe: Yeah, just C and G?
Jimbo: C for 2, G for 2, maybe a little bit of mixing it up, it'll be easy.

...and that was it.

Just like that, they were ready to play on a stage together. Man, to be a real musician............ I don't think they even know how much like a magic trick their conversation sounded. It was like... a recursive function: so reduced it couldn't be right. Anyone who knows what that means is a nerd and I will come to their house and beat them up.

At the climax of the show, both bands rocked out together on stage and then marched through a (thunderous) crowd in a congo drum line, so I guess the collaboration was approved at the higher levels.

Jimbo in action, from Aaron's Photo-Go-Round post:


Katharine Whalen

The female vocalist and four-stringed virtuoso of the band also had a flare for putting together her thoughts into perfect groups of words. We chatted for a little while, and I decided to ask her, being the ukulele player in the band, my main question: "How does the ukulele fit into the big picture of your music?"

Well, without even pausing to do some internal editing she said --and this is the ONE quote I wrote down in full, because it was so good and I asked her to repeat it-- she said:

"The ukulele is sparkly, like bubbles in a glass of champagne."
Katharine Whalen, Squirrel Nut Zippers

Now it may have just been because she had champagne on the mind after that "Limousine Interview" (as mentioned above in the Drew section) she finished just before she talked to me, but that quote is a gorgeous piece of imagery. It is the perfect way to describe the light, exciting, energetic spark of this instrument on a track.

We went back and forth for a while, with me just trying to get an idea of how these people put together their music, and what their influences were. In no particular order, I think I learned:

  • Katharine learned first on the banjo (Jimbo mentioned it may have been from teaching herself out of a Mel Bay book, but I didn't confirm that), then was introduced to the ukulele and encouraged to sing by her husband at the time.
  • Her husband at the time was (!?!? why didn't I know this?!) Jim Mathus (see above). They divorced several years ago but are now touring together. That revelation, of course, led to several other questions--none of which I asked.
  • Wash Jones is her favorite song to perform, as seen on this video from 2007.
  • Eddie Condon, legendary jazz musician and bandleader, was her biggest influence in terms of the style she plays. He played a rhythmic style on the ukulele, the four-string (tenor) guitar, and the banjo.
  • Her favorite instrument right now was a gift-- a custom tenor guitar.
  • She might start up a four-string band--banjo, tenor guitar, ukulele, bass--the sky's the limit! (Hi Katharine, looking for a third-rate ukulele player?!!? wink wink)
  • The song "Hell", off their biggest album (and my personal favorite of theirs!) was actually recorded with her baritone ukulele....
...which she THEN brought out and let me play:

Paz plays the Marathon baritone ukulele used for the original recording of the SNZ song Hell.

It was tuned in "open G" I think she said, which is the same as a banjo. Makes it easier for her to switch between the instruments, but I had no idea where most of the chords were. Nonetheless, she had the Ukulala ukulele and I had her Marathon, so we had a quick little jam session where I definitely didn't keep interrupting her:

Katharine Whalen from SNZ enjoys a totally relaxed jam session with Paz from Ukulala.

By the way, I'm still looking for a link to the Limousine interview. I'm curious to see how it went and what she talked about with them just minutes before I spoke with her.

And because she volunteered that I should include pictures of myself, here's the first picture of me ever on this ukulele blog, with Katharine:

Paz poses with Katharine, who holds the Ukulala ukulele.

I debated this in my head for a while, because I do like a certain degree of anonymity. But, what the heck, if we've got one picture of me we may as well include the one of me with Jimbo:

Jim Mathus and Paz both enjoy a good chill outside the Paradise in Boston.

Oh, and later that night, Katharine with a decidedly less casual outfit on:

L... Legs.

HUMANWINE

They are a Boston-based band with a cool setup, and they opened for SNZ. Yes, HUMANWINE capitalizes their whole name (I'm not just yelling, it was part of their "ALLCAPSNOGAPS Policy of 2000 Group"). They drive around in a big school bus painted matte black, because NH law says to register a ex-school bus it must be painted any other color than "school bus yellow," and they chose black. The front window had a big sign that read "FREEDUMB". I don't know what it means, but I think it costs $19.95:

The HUMANWINE bus shares a parking spot.

And
they are in the process of converting it to be an entirely environmentally-friendly vehicle that runs on Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO), so they can tour the country without the brutal carbon footprint and high fuel costs you usually get from a big-ass bus. Their plan sounds fucking awesome.

Apparently Waste Vegetable Oil is trash that the restaurants actually have to pay to dispose of, so of course they're more than happy to have it hauled away for free. I even heard rumor (verified fact) that HUMANWINE's Ma and lead singer herself, Holly Brewer, carried some 19 gallons of unfiltered WVO herself on the first "Official WVO Run" from a restaurant in JP.

As HUMANWINE tells it, "We ask. They open their door for us."

True for so many things.

~#~

So that was Ukulala meeting the Squirrel Nut Zippers (and running into HUMANWINE). I also recorded a video of SNZ playing the song Hell at the show that night, which is definitely worth a watch to get an idea of the energy at their shows:



And here's one more shot of a few of the other guys in the band, who I didn't meet before the show but held it down live:

Gabrieli Pelli and Will Dawson sax up the audience a bit.

I hope this blog entry got across how relaxed, friendly, eclectic, fun, and interesting group they seemed to be. It's funny when a group's music matches their persona. I had a great time and I hope they did too, and if you read this whole thing then I have one more thing to tell you: I only accomplished 2 of my 3 goals.

For now.

8 Comments:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How to play Holland, 1945 by Neutral Milk Hotel

Well, I'm back from a nice and baseball-y vacation across the east coast. Apologies for the lame weekly poll (it was about the best spots to sleep on vacation), but that was the big question on my mind when I got home. I had a great time, but it feels good to sleep in my own bed again---and to play some Neutral Milk Hotel on my uke again!

In that spirit, this video is on Holland, 1945, another great Neutral Milk Hotel song along with In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. It's a dang good album that was inspired by the diary of Anne Frank, and this song seems to be the only one directly talking about her (maybe? who knows).

In making this, I sought assistance from Woodshed at ukulelehunt.com to make sure the chords I had were all correct. His version, which--I have come to accept--is usually the correct version, is a bit more complicated than the one I originally found here. It adds in a few more chords in the last verse, and calls for some very quick chord changes.

Ukulele Hunt chords and lyrics can be found here.

I am not quite at that level yet, but I did incorporate the advanced techniques into my youtube tutorial video:



Video Breakdown
0:00 Intro and Tuning (GCEA)
0:13 Chords (Simple: G,C,D Advanced: G,C,D, G/B, D7, Am)
1:59 Strumming pattern (8 beat loop)
4:10 Part 1- Intro
4:33 Part 2- Verse 1
5:29 Example of Intro and Verse 1 w/lyrics
6:48 Part 3- Chorus
7:09 Part 4- Verse 2 (same chords/timing as verse 1)
7:25 Part 5- Chorus (same as first chorus)
7:36 Part 6- Verse 3 (has advanced version if you prefer)


The strumming pattern I describe in the video loops in eight beats, where each beat is a down or an up strum:
1) down
2) miss up
3) down
4) up
5) miss down
6) up
7) down
8) up
(repeat, switching chords if necessary)

I had enough trouble figuring out the timing for this song that I decided to chart it all out (credit for idea goes to E-dub). I divided the song into units of time (or beats), and turned that into a table. Each cell in the table represents one loop of the strumming pattern.

Intro
CC--
CCGG
CCGG


Verse 1
C
the
C
I've
G
loved
G
C
was
C
roses
G
her
G
C
but
C
buried
G
-live
D
nine
C
five
D
sister
G
side
D
weeks
C
guns
D
rained
G
-one
D
little
C
spain
D
pianos
G
flames
D
rings
C
sun
D
say
C
come
C
Chorus
GG
now
C
pick
C
every
G
piece
GC
life
C
used
G
love
GC
keep
C
-selves
G
least
GD
on
D7
Verse 2 (exact same chords and timing as verse 1)
C
and
C
ride
G
-cus
G
C
with
C
brother
G
in
G
C
says
C
good
G
-live
D
rides
C
flame
D
coming
G
-gain
D
better
C
star
D
-bove
G
are
D
mean
C
cry
D
ring
G
fly
D
rings
C
heart
D
screams
C
part
C

Chorus (same as above)

Verse 3
G (G/B,Am)
here's
C
mother
G
sleeps
G
G (G/B,Am)
here
C
room
G
brother
D
born
G (G/B,Am)
indentions
C
in
G
sheets
G
G (G/B,Am)
bodies
C
moved
G
move
D
-more
DC
sad
G
see
C
world
G
agree
C
rather
G
faces
D
flies
G (G/B,Am)
oh
C
want
G
keep
D
roses
D
in
G
eyes
GG

14 Comments:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I can't wait until May, 2255!

Hooray! Ukulala (ukulaladotcom on YouTube) just reached a nice little meaningless milestone: 100 YouTube Subscribers!

YouTuber jemmahatty rolled the subscribers over into three-digit territory. I'll resist the temptation to profile her yet. That means somewhere out there are 100 people that may or may not know when I put a video up. 100 people who probably have ukuleles, want to learn through video tutorials, and like somewhat similar music to what I've done tutorials for.

That got me thinking... where is this whole Ukulala thing going, and how fast? I think you know where I'm going with this: time for some math.

Let's see... I posted my first video on January 13th. Using a handy online time passage calculator, we can calculate that 166 days have passed. That works out to 100 subscribers in 166 days = 100/166 = 0.6024 New Subscribers per day.

So now I can calculate when I should hope to reach my next milestones (Subscriber goals), using the formula:

(# of days from January 13th, 2008) = (Subscriber goal)/0.6024


And then I can plug January 13th, 2008 and the # of days to look past it into this other time and date calculator to get an actual date for when I should expect to reach that milestone. Here's an idea of what to expect:

100 subscribers: 100/0.6024 = 166 days (Saturday, June 28th, 2008 - TODAY!)
200 subscribers: 200/0.6024 = 332 days (Wednesday, December 10, 2008)
500 subscribers: 500/0.6024 = 830 days (
Thursday, April 22, 2010)

and 1000 subscribers (big milestone!) = 1660 days (Monday, July 30, 2012)

So what does this all mean? To put things in perspective, at this rate, ukulaladotcom will have as many subscribers as that creepy girl who looks at the camera by

Sunday, May 27, 2255

When I am about 275 years old. What? It could happen. Of course, that's assuming there isn't a drop-off once everyone who plays the ukulele has subscribed.

~
Oh, and on the topic of milestones, I added a blurb about Ukulala to the "Top 50 Ukulele Sites list" last month, along with the tracking logo (left top) to see how Ukulala would stack up against the other juggernauts of the uke world.

I know what you're thinking: There are 50 ukulele sites!? Well, believe it or not, there are even more. Ukulala broke the top 50 on June 12th and has been climbing up ever since. It's now at #35, and because of the cumulative way the list calculates hits, I expect to be in the top 25 maybe by the end of the year. I think a good goal would be to get into the top 20 by 2009. I have no idea how reasonable that is, but I've always wanted to say "Wuddup dudes, well, I'm not an expert or anything, no, I'm just the guy who has the sixth most popular ukulele-based tutorial blog on the Northeastern coast."

That'll always be the dream.


3 Comments:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ask Ukulala Vol. 3: Bosnia to the Moustache Empire

Yeeeeeeehaw, time for another round of Ask Ukulala Anything!

It's been a little while, but I have noticed I get enough questions about once a month, so I think from now on I'll try to make these approximately a monthly event.

We've got some excellent questions again this round, so I'll do my best to answer, starting with Piennoich from across the ocean in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Hello my friends :)
;)
Piennoich, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Hi Piennoich! (mangles pronunciation as "pie"-"noych", smiles inquisitively, wonders which sex the name applies to)

I guess you have no question in particular, but, believe me, I read that wink loud and clear.

;)
:)
;)

Do you play World of Warcraft? Would you consider doing so if I sent you one?
Kelly, Circus clown (seriously!)


Well, the thing about Worl---wait a minute.... Are you reaaaally a circus clown?!?!

I feel like these questions are suddenly going the wrong direction. If you're really a circus clown, I want to know MORE. Like, what kind of clown tricks do you do? And are all your friends carnies and how do those flexy people carry heavy things without their bodies bending and how does that guy know how heavy everyone is and what do you feed the bears and is your whole family in the circus and---I'm trying to write down all my questions for you... but ..... head.... exploding..... with questions......... YEARGGGGH! *pop*

....

Ok, wait, I'm fine. Must have just been a blood clot.

Anyway, I don't play World of Warcraft. The last Warcraft I played was Warcraft II, and it was awesome (my favorite quote, from the two-headed ogre with the British accent: "We're ready master. No we're not!").

It's probably too late for me to get into Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) at this point if I haven't yet, so I probably wouldn't sta----wait, are you really a circus clown though?

Do you have videos of yourself online? And where do you access the internet?

*more delicious flattery* Also, teaching helps to learn, so i bet that your answering all these questions advances you even further.
A Fan, Everywhere

You, Mr. or Ms. Fan, are correct. Part of why I started making the tutorial videos and answering questions was so that I would be forced to figure it all out myself before I opened my big yapper. The questions aren't quite as rigorous as the videos, since I like to have a bit of fun with them, but I do try to address the substantial questions with real answers as best I can.

In fact, I might go out on a limb here and say teaching is the best the way to learn. So... everyone should go teach someone else how to play their favorite uke song, and let me know how it goes!

a lot of kids at my school have been pressuring me to try ukulele, but I've heard from adults it's a gateway silly instrument and can lead to the playing of yet sillier instruments. Could you possiably skip straight to the siller instruments? i'm a busy kid, and i can't aford to waste time on the uke when i know there are more hard-core silly instruments out there. Maybe you can post soungs on the jew's harp, or a series of wine glasses filled to different levels. OH! hows about an accordian song?! that big, ol' squeezy box is the bees knees.

Marduk, Mustachioed child upon a beardo's lap

Ooooh, this questioner also included a link to what appears to be a photo of himself:

I like how their coats match, but I'd be concerned if I were that guy that the kid is not actually his. I mean, look at that blond hair and relatively tiny moustache....

Anyway, back to the meat of this question: silly instrument!? SILLY!?!? DAMN YOU TINY TIM!

Nobody thought the ukulele was silly back before that moron started playing it. It's an amazingly versatile, portable, and yet simple instrument. It has a long proud history as a fusion of Portuguese culture and Hawaiian craftsmanship, and it was the instrument of choice here in the US during the 1920s jazz--the "icon of the Jazz Age" according to wikipedia.

And then that idiot picked it up and starting dancing around like a buffoon and squawking like a bird so people could laugh at him and his stupid little novelty instrument. Har har. RIP, no disrespect, but come on. I'm not even sure he knows how to tune or play his uke.

Anyway, those other ideas for instruments all sound awesome. Accordion, wine glasses, jew's harp--wait, is that a racial slur? Bringing up google... ok, no, you're in the clear--would all be fantastic to learn how to play. Lord knows there are ten billion people out there right now playing fucking electric guitar and nothing but. And I got nothing against the electric guitar, I just love to see more variety in music.

I like the idea of the ukulele being a gateway instrument, but there's nothing silly about it. It's fun and easy to learn, so it is a gateway... to music! (nods with self-satisfaction at the turn of the phrase)

So my advice to you is like anything else: if kids at school are pressuring you to do something, go for it bruh.

so...I've been flirting with the uke for a while now. nothing serious, but I came across this and was wondering if you knew where the hell to find tab for it. it's gorgeous.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9toJRdu2bXQ
thanks

sam, austin, tx

First of all, what a fantastic contrast between that video (the link goes to "ukulele master Ohta-san performs HAWAII") and the Tiny Tim video I just watched. The perfect juxtaposition of a master and a jester.

Yes, this is a beautiful song that I have never heard before. I did a pretty intensive online search (read: 10 full minutes) and came up with no tabs for it.

If you really are serious about learning this song, I would write Woodshed at ukulelehunt.com and request that he figure out tabs for it. There's nobody more qualified (or likely) to figure it out, and that song would be a great addition to the uke-iverse (not my term, but I like it).

...But, please don't ask him to figure it out unless you really would appreciate the work he does on it. It ain't easy what he does for the uke community, and if anyone out there requests tabs, I hope they would follow up and let him know it is appreciated.

Hey,
I just got my ukulele yesterday so I'm a total newbie with it, but I have to say I love your videos and I just can't wait to learn them all.
But well, as you know I have to start somewhere and I just want to ask you wich song do you think is the easiest to begin with?
Thank you
(Anonymous because it was sent in a private message. If this is you and you don't care, let me know)

If you have a capo or you are comfortable tuning the ukulele up by a half-note, I'd say Elephant Gun would be a great place to start. That's where I started. You can make it sound very much like Beirut's version pretty quickly.

If you don't have a capo or don't have a tuner that does different notes (I HIGHLY recommend AP Tuner if you are tuning on a computer), then I'd say In the Aeroplane Over the Sea would be the best place to start, especially if you just do the first verse of the song to get a feel for it. It uses 4 simple repeating chords, and it's a very pretty instrumental song.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it is very motivating to play your favorite songs, so if you have a favorite, I'd say start with that and just plug away!

Good luck.

"apprenez à jouer Five Years au Ukulele et emportez le avec vous samedi, on va s’amuser !" "Learn to play Five Years on the Ukulele and take it with you on Saturday. It will be fun!" Shouldn't one learn the incoherent nonsensical gibberish language?
Francophone, USA

Merci, mon ami, pour la traduction. Je regrette de ne pas pouvoir assister à ce concert-là. C'était probablement un peu trop loin ... *pop*

....

Wait, what the hell just happened!? What's all that gibberish up there and why does my head hurt? Where am I!?!?

This question was in response to this post, where I found that caption above my tutorial for Five Years Time on the blogoteque page. While I appreciate the magic tricks you and Quentin (in the comments from that post) can do turning nonsense into english, I don't think there's any way someone like me could do it.

We love our willful ignorance of foreign stuff where I come from.

Hey, Just wanted to send a big thanks from the WonderHowTo team for featuring us on your blog. We always love people talking about our site! Thanks! Best,
Ben Kinzel, Online Marketing Manager
WonderHowTo.com

Well, Ben, I think you're doing a fine job as Online Marketing Manager. In fact, since you sent me this nice little note and since your website is very useful, I'm going to add this link to my main list of Ukulinklinks (over on the right). It's the ukulele section of your "how to" videos.

I hope I can reward you guys with a few clicks. All kinds of useful information on this site, like a very candid (read: shady but true) video how to get started in internet marketing, from this guy:



Herwitz, if you're reading this, there's a thing or two in there about the benefits of maintaining online anonymity. Mr. Kinzel, if you're reading this, don't worry, I think you're one of the good kind of internet marketers based on the honest approach and friendly note. That might even be your real name, which, according to the video above, means you have a good product. Unlikely, but possible.

Anyway, I appreciate a bit of honesty and openness from marketers.

Hey Paz! I have really been enjoying your videos! I've got quite a few of them down now. But my question is this: When playing Five Years Time, is the "hit-type" strum like the "hit" strum in Nantes? I have watched your videos many times and I can't seem to get it.
Taylor

Oh man, this is probably the question I've received the most at Ukulala. "How do I make that 'hit' noise you talk about?"

The problem is, I learned how to do it early on, back years ago when I tried and failed to learn guitar, so I hardly think about it anymore. I've made a few attempts to describe it (question from Molly, about halfway down), but it's always been an unexpected road block for people in the videos I've done.

Apparently it's called a "chuck" noise, and yes, it IS the same "move" I'm doing in both Nantes and Five Years Time (although it's done quicker in Five Years Time). I also use it in Boy With the Arab Strap and Plenty More.

It's a part of my repertoire, and I hope it will eventually be part of yours. The basic idea is just to strum quickly down, and immediately mute the strings with your palm.
Just push your palm up against them as the end of your strum.

I really need to make a video of it like this guy did. Then I can do some better show-and-tell. So... practice what you can for now, but... stay tuned?

So, I am a beginner with the ukulele, and I've been searching in Google for ukulele songs to play. I have found many songs such as, Tiny Bubbles (to play for my grandpa, haha). I can play the chords just fine, but they don't tell you how to strum them! I am really confused. Do you just have to try different patterns until it sounds right? Cause it's really hard...
Taylor

Damn right it's hard! And why the HELL don't any sites tell you how to strum the songs when it's so important!?

That's exactly why I include strumming patterns into all my videos. It was a complete mystery to me why it is ignored in

1) books
2) tutorial videos
3) chord sites
4) tab sites

and that made it really difficult to learn some songs that should have been simple. It's like they all assume the strumming just kinda "happens". WRONG. It's a major--sometimes THE defining--part of a song.

Actually I do give HUGE credit to Woodshed at ukulelehunt.com for including strumming patterns when it really matters. It was his written description of Elephant Gun that helped me learn the song so easily it inspired me to make my first video. And no, I'm not just kissing his ass cause he's got the #1 uke site in the world, I'm legitimately impressed with the depth and breadth of his body of work.

Very cool tutorial for "the penalty", Thanks for putting that online. As you maybe know, theres an alternative version of the song on flyingclubcup.com with a different strumming pattern. Any chance you could figure out that one?
Sayyadina, Germany

I see what you're talking about. It's very similar, still in twelve beats of course, but he doesn't let it pause as long after the first strum on each chord. Basically just replace some of the misses in the version I did with soft strums, where you just barely hit the strings on your up or down strums.

With bold as a louder strum, I think it would be:

1) down
2) miss up
3) soft down (instead of miss)
4) up
5) down
6) soft up (instead of miss)
7) down
8) miss up
9) down
10) up
11) down
12) up


i hope the reason this weeks poll was so lame is cause you're too busy workin' with that song "allmike_newDIR2_2." i've been playing with the other ones to make them less monotonous. it's been slow going- everything good keeps ending up sounding sad, and when i manage to make it sound uppity it sounds too corny. i had a spot of luck this evening, but i'm too tired to work on it now, so hopefully i can iron it out this weekend. oh, and here's my question for ukulala: did you see that colbert report when he postulated the existence of santa's arch rival, Manfred Claus? comic GOLD.
the mighty gorch, earthquake island

D'oh, I missed that episode, but I did find this mention of the Manfred Claus here (at 0:37 in the video). Colbert is kind of a hero.

And yes, this week's poll is LAME. I am sorry. I meant to have it be a reference to this quote from this Simpsons episode, where
Springfield Elementary students took an aptitude test to determine ' future careers:

Ms. Hoover: First question. If I could be any animal, I would be (a) a carpenter ant, (b) a nurse shark, or (c) a lawyer bird.


Unfortunately I thought that was too obvious, so I kept only the carpenter ant. The poll ended up just... boring. Oh well, I guess the onus is on me to try and spice up the interpretion of the results. Looks like "Cat" is going to win.

In case anyone was wondering, yes, this is the same Gorch who was an honorary member of Ukulala. He helped me with this little ditty, my first bit of original uke music with drums. Someday I'll make that into a real song.

He lives in Japan now, where he is studying under the tutelage of electronic drumming masters to become a master himself, or something like that. Actually I forget why he went there. maybe just to feel tall (was that racist?).

Anyway, he recently started sending me stuff to add uke to, so we can collaborate again. I still have a hard time coming up with interesting original stuff and playing along with a beat, but I will be working on
"allmike_newDIR2_2" soon. I have a certain mistrust of electronic music, but I think mixed with an acoustic recording it has potential. And when we have something to show for it, I'll post it here.

Plus, I already know what my album name will be for the great collaboration between Ukulala and the Mighty Gorch: The Rise and Fall of the Moustache Empire.

~

That's it for now! Use that little box over on the left ANY TIME to ask me about ANY THING!

Peace out!

-Paz

1 Comment:

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to play The Penalty by Beirut

Along with the several requests on YouTube for this song, weekly poll #5 showed me one important thing: Ukulala visitors are ravenous, salivating, Beirut-hungry dogs. They just can't get enough Beirut. And thank goodness, 'cause I'm not going to stop making Beirut videos anytime soon. If you haven't heard it yet, now is the time to check out The Penalty.

The ukulele chords I used can be found here on ukulelehunt.com.

Here's my tutorial video:



Video Breakdown:

0:00 Intro, Tuning
0:22 Chords (C, e/C, Em, F, G for simple version, add C(alt) and Fadd9 for advanced version. Click on the chord links below for pictures of the fingering)
--------
1:15 Strumming pattern (12 beat loop described below)
3:03 Strumming example
--------
3:28 Chorder Intro
3:43 Intro: Simple version
(C, e/C, Em, F) (F, e/C, Em, F)
4:49 Intro: Advanced version
(C, e/C, Em, C(alt)->F) (F->Fadd9, e/C, Em, F->Fadd9)
--------
6:15 First verse Part 1 (F, e/C, Em, F->Fadd9) times 2
7:29 First verse Part 2 (G, C, F, C) times 2
--------
7:58 Middle (same as Intro, but starts at F)
--------
8:19 Verse 2 (same as verse 1, more loops of G, C, F, C)
--------
8:51 Demonstration of Intro/Verse 1

Chords:
C
e/C
C(alt)
Em
F
Fadd9
G

Strumming Pattern:
The strumming pattern follows a twelve-beat loop, where each beat is an up or a down strum. The up and down strums (your hand) should move at a regular pace. The strums to emphasize (play louder) are bolded.

1) down
2) miss up
3) miss down
4) up
5) down
6) miss up
7) down
8) miss up
9) down
10) up
11) down
12) up
(switch chord and repeat)

Chorder:
Each block in the table below represents one loop of 12 beats, as described above. For the most part, the strumming pattern is exactly the same throughout the whole song.

The song is divided into several parts:
1) Intro
2) First verse part 1
3) First verse part 2 (loops GCFC)
4) Middle (same as intro, but starts with F instead of C)
5) Second verse part 1 (same as first verse part 1)
6) Second verse part 2 (loops GCFC)

Intro
For the simple version, play just F instead of C(alt)->F and just F instead of F,Fadd9.

Ce/CEmC(alt)->F
F,Fadd9e/CEmC(alt)->F

Verse 1

For the simple version, play just F instead of F,Fadd9.

F,Fadd9
like
e/C
day
Em
I
F
trial
F,Fadd9
let
e/C
-way
Em
once
F
island
G IC
stay
F IC
-lieved
G
left
C
light
F
-ways
C
season

Middle (same as Intro, but starts with F)

For the simple version, play just F instead of C(alt)->F and just F instead of F,Fadd9.

Fe/CEmC(alt)->F
F,Fadd9e/CEmC(alt)->F

Verse 2

For the simple version, play just F instead of F,Fadd9.


F,Fadd9
impossible
e/C
night
Em
crowd
F
home-
F,Fadd9
fully
e/C
you'll
Em
leave
F
light
G
family
C
wait
F
keep
C
breathing
G
get
C
day
F
find
C
kneeling
G
let
C
may
F
they
C
reason
G
left
C
light
F
-ways
C
season
GCFC
GCFC

If you have questions or find mistakes, let me know and I'll answer whatever I can or update this to reflect any issues.

Word. The Penalty is an awesome song.

12 Comments:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Better know a subscriber: Bayreuth11

Ask and ye shall receive. This profile of a subscriber is by request, left in the comments on this first "better know a subscriber" post. As I hinted, I was hoping somebody would request to be profiled, so cheers to Bayreuth11! And jeers to everyone who didn't. Yes, I'm looking at you.

So, who is Bayreuth11?

My convoluted, twisted speculation:

His (or "her", but I'm already assuming "his" because the name doesn't indicate female, and on the internet male is the default) profile picture:




Joined: October 12, 2007
Last Login: 1 day ago
Videos Watched: 540
Subscribers: 0
Channel Views: 65
Country: United States
Interests and Hobbies: Playing Ukulele, Running


Not a whole lot of info to work off. Also, he hasn't posted any of his own videos. Tough to get any personal info on just this.... but... things start to get a bit more interesting in his lists:

Movies and Shows: Donnie Darko, Fight Club, The Life Aquatic, The Shining, Rebel Without a Cause, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development


Ok ok, now those are all pretty damn good movies and shows. Especially the shows (and I love watching Fight Club). The male/female question is still out there, but I'd have to say these are mostly "guy" movies and shows, so if I had to make a wild assumption I'd still go with male (although... Jake Gyllenhaal, Brad Pitt, Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson, James Dean... this could still be a girl's list of favorite movies...). But it's the music list that really makes things interesting:

Music: Beirut, New Order, Belle and Sebastian, Voxtrot, The New Pronographers, Neutral Milk Hotel, Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, The Dirty Projectors, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, The Postal Service, Noah and the Whale, The Decemberists, The National, The Replacements, Wolf Parade, Broken Social Scene, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Of Montreal, Okkervil River, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Feist, My Brightest Diamond, Jeff Buckley, The Smiths, The Cure, Gang of Four, Breathe Owl Breathe


The ones in green are bands I think are amazing, blue are ones I think have a few great songs and nothing I really object to, and the ones in red are ones I've never heard of, or haven't heard enough to form an opinion yet. The key here is that there are NO bands I have heard and don't like. That is highly, highly unusual for me. (Sonic Youth is the only questionable one, but I realized I don't know enough about them to say either way). But the fact that every favorite of his is either a favorite of mine already or I haven't heard it before means two things:

1) He's in the right place for learning ukulele songs he'll enjoy.
2) I need to check out those bands on the list I've never heard of.

Now, back to figuring out stuff about Bayreuth11.

He's involved enough with YouTube to have organized playlists, a customized background, and a nice picture of his uke as a profile pic. So he's savvy with YouTube, but at the same time he has none of his own personal videos up. That says to me he has not embraced YouTube in the way that teenagers of the day have (those wacky young people will put up videos of anything), so he's a bit older. Maybe late twenties or early thirties?

Then there is the name. Based on the fact that a) Beirut gets top billing on his music list and b) one of his playlists of videos is the entire Beirut Blogotheque video series for Flying Club Cup (which are amazing, as I have mentioned before), I think "Bayreuth11" is either a homonym for Beirut or a reference to the city of Bayreuth, Germany. Most likely it's a bit of both, but mainly a reference to the city, so I'm going to guess he's got German ancestry or family. Bayreuth and Bayreuth1 are already taken, at least one of them by a German.

He has 7 playlists, mostly related to music, either uke or other. Bayreuth11 loves music, and good music at that. And he's organized, at least for music. I don't know of too many people that would take the time to organize themselves playlists with descriptions, so I'd guess he likes to archive and list things as much as possible, just to organize the musical obsession in his life.

He has two friends: longrangeforce and luminoussoul. Not a lot of help there, except that they are both in the U.S., have similar music tastes, and luminoussoul is maybe a 47 year-old woman who plays piano. It is somewhat possible these three are all the same person, but the musical tastes are just different enough that I think it's unlikely (luminoussoul likes a bunch of Sting). It's more likely that Bayreuth11 and longrangeforce are the same person. longrangeforce lists his/her age at 69, which is probably just a joke (since most people around that age either a) don't know how to move "that little arrow" on the "computer machine", b) have forgotten their age, or c) are busy running for president). And he signed up three days before Bayreuth11, so it was probably just an alternate account with a name he didn't like as much. If he is longrangeforce, he's probably interested in astronomy or physics (long range force being a physics term for gravitational forces with stars and galaxies, I believe), so he might be a grad student. That's a bit of a stretch, but hey, there isn't much to work with here.

Oh my god. Looking at his favorites, he has TWO out of twelve favorite videos devoted specifically to Age of Consent by New Order. And one of them is this amazing ukulele cover.

Age of Consent might be my favorite song of all time. If it's not number one, it's certainly top 3 and shifts in and out of the 1-spot. God damn it's a great song. It's official: Thumbs up for Bayreuth11.

My final analysis:

Bayreuth11 is around 30 years old, an American of German ancestry who may have done (or is still doing) advanced studies in physics or astronomy. He also has a deep obsession for music and the ukulele. He loves indy music, 80's music, and psychedelic folk, and he tries to find and consume as much as he possibly can. He keeps an organized collection of music, and it would be tough to name a band in the genre he hasn't heard of. Maybe Paleo is obscure enough? Music invades on every part of his life, like a life soundtrack. He loves to run, and he brings an iPod and has a few playlists specifically made for running. He loves to run to Arcade Fire (those mixes should really have some Violent Femmes if they don't already). He was almost as excited to find Ukulala as I was to find Age of Consent on the uke in his favorites. He's already bookmarked Ukulala, and he's going to check the site every week or so to see what song I post next (and when I do post it, he's going to like it). In the last weekly poll, he voted for "The Penalty by Beirut".

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So that's my (somewhat lengthy) take on Bayreuth11. Could be completely wrong, I have no idea, but that's what I've got in my head now so THAT'S THE FINAL WORD. Better know a subscriber #2! Leave a comment here (or anywhere) if you want to nominate another subscriber. Bayreuth11, if you see this, feel free to correct me, insult me, or berate me... or to praise me as the Sherlock Holmes of the ukulele world!

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