I received the latest catalog from Flea Market Music the other day and this non-instrument product caught my eye. It’s a Mele Hawaiian Shirt by Kahala, which has been handcrafting shirts in Hawaii since 1936. If they’ve been around that long, you know they have to be producing quality shirts. Avaliable in Small through XXL sizes, this shirt features a black and white pattern on a combination Rayon, Cotton and Linen fabric. If you want to wear a ukulele on your sleeve, you can order one for $59.95. I wish they came in other colors too.
I’ve tried all kinds of iPad apps that can turn the tablet into a musical instrument. There are piano apps, drum apps, guitar apps, etc. They are all fun to play with, but this is the first time I’ve actually been thoroughly impressed with one. I told you about the Futulele app a few months ago, but I was just able to try it today. Futulele turns your iPad into a digital ukulele. Don’t laugh, it really does and it is easier to play than any other pseudo stringed instrument app that I’ve used. Holding the iPad like you would a uke, there’s a chord board in the lower left corner. Press the chord you want to play and strum the strings. You’ll be amazed at how real it sounds and how addicting it is to play. You can customize the chord board to just hold the chord sets you need for a song. The app even has a dozen or so popular song chord sets to choose from with songs like I’m Yours, Hotel California and Over the Rainbow. By itself, the Futulele app is cool and well worth the $4.99 price. But it may get even more exciting when you can pair your iPad with your iPhone and use the iPhone as a separate fretting pad. Apparently the remote app for the iPhone isn’t available yet though. I’m keeping my eyes open for it.
What Do Ukulele Players Eat? #2 is a cute little cook book filled with recipes from 22 uke players from all around the world. Each contributor also sent a song that is on the audio CD that is included with the book.
Recipes and songs from: Armelle Europe, Yan Yalego (France), Mr Jaynickel, Herman Vandecauter (Belgium), Lou Armer AKA Bossa Rocker (UK), Pequeno Formato (Spain), Dominyka Kriščiūnaitė (Lithuania), Alexander Wandrowsky AKA Der Mit Der Ukulele (Germany), Rodrigo Lemos (Brazil), Maitake, Gensblue (Japan), Uke Box (Netherlands), The Nukes (New Zealand), Alan Soo (Singapore), Uni & her Ukulele, Jim D’Ville, Brittni Paiva, Skylaar Amann (USA), Shelley O’Brien (Canada) and Betty’s Driving Force, Seaman Dan, Rose Turtle Ertler (Australia).
It’s only April, but the weather is warming up and before we know it, it will be summer time. Popular past times during the summer are camping and traveling. Although I’ve never been camping in my life (sad isn’t it?), I do enjoy traveling and this year will be the first year in a very long time where I’ll be traveling by car instead of a plane. At the end of next month, I’m planning a trip to the Lake Michigan Saugatuck area. I’ve never been that far north and am really looking forward to it. We’re going to be renting a cabin right on the lake, and since we’re driving, it will be easy to bring a ukulele along for the trip. I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t paid any attention to my ukuleles in well over a year or longer, but I’m ready to start over learning to play it again. This trip will hopefully be the catalast. But, which ukulele will be the right traveling companion and which song books to bring along? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. Read the rest of this entry »
Friday night I was watching one of my favorite shows Shark Tank, where one of the “contestants” was trying to get funding for their iPad musical instruction app called Miso Music Plectrum that helps you learn banjo, guitar and ukulele songs. After the show, I checked out the app and some subsequent research turned up a surprisingly interesting new stylus that is shaped like a guitar pick. The iPic from Woodees can be used like a standard capacitive stylus, but it can also be used to “play” virtual stringed instruments by providing a more traditional feel. Priced at $14.99, the iPic is available in several colors and can also be used with gloves. Miso Music Plectrum is available for the iPad and is priced at .99 cents. In app purchase of individual songs are Free – $ depending on the song.
From Amidio comes the Futulele, an upcoming Ukulele synthesizer for iOS. With a special case that holds an iPad and an iPhone and using Bluetooth connectivity, you can strum to your hearts content. Each song can have up to 12 chords in it, and chord sets can be changed on the fly. Amidio is currently looking for manufacturers to assist in producing the Futulele cases, preferably with embedded speakers.
Expected to be released in early April and should be optimised for the Ipad 3.
Here’s a cool gift idea for the ukulele player that has it all… It’s a DIY kit for a folding soprano sized ukulele. The parts are made of laser cut bamboo. All you need to complete the project is some sandpaper, glue and a few other miscellaneous items and you’ll be able to build your own instrument that just happens to fold up into a nifty little package that can easily stow in your backpack. The resulting uke won’t sound as good as a traditionally built instrument, but it will make a fun do-it-yourself project. There are two kit designs to choose from, which are priced from $75-$87.50 (pictured). If you don’t want to take the time to build the kit, you can even buy them already finished… but for the price of the finished kits ($250 – $375), you could buy a decent regular uke. Check out these kits here.
If you’re looking for a new ukulele artist to check out, Nick Peay of Louisville, KY has just released a new EP titled Life & Love & Us. You can preview the album here. Nick’s music is mainly just his voice and the uke, which makes it clean and pure. Nick has only been playing the ukulele for about a year and these simple arrangements highlight his song writing skills.