Just saw this morning that Micheal Aratani aka “MGM, Music Guy Mic, has passed away.
MGM is well known throughout the uke community. As a long time employee of Hawaii Music Supply (HMS) and all around ambassador of the instrument.
There is a condolences thread at the UU Forums [LINK] if you want to share your thoughts.
MGM was omnipresent in the uke community, both in person, online, and on the phone. He was a friend to everyone he met, a wealth of knowledge about the instrument, a trusted ear, someone who sold countless uke players their first ukulele.
He will be deeply missed.
There are lots of MGM videos out there, but I particularly love this one, where he plays a memorial song for his grandmother, on her ukulele, a Manuel Nunes from the 1900′s.
And MGM doing what he truly loved, teaching everyone to play the ukulele.
Had a great time at the Julia Nunes Show in Strafford NH last night!
She and Will Sturgeon played a mixed set of mostly Julia originals, one of Will’s originals (the very catchy “Little Bird”) and a medley-mashup of pop covers. I was impressed with how they could both walk in out of a cold, New Hampshire, October night and start belting out beautiful harmonies right off the bat. Total pros.
She also performed her cover of Royals, by Lordes. With Will and the crowd adding in backing vocals (she insists on lots of crowd participation!) and harmonies to the sparse percussion, and Julia’s amazing voice, it was one of the highlights of the night. Continue reading
Here’s what I’m playing lately, working them up to hopefully build out my Open Mic set. Continue reading
So excited that Julia is coming up my way next month. Got tickets for the wife and I to see her in Stratford, NH. Lots of Northeast dates available. http://www.undertowtickets.com/artist/julia-nunes
The Ukulele Community continues to rally around Chuck Moore of Moore Bettah Ukulele.
Here’s a comparison poster by Ukulele Underground forum’s “Hippie Guy” Brad Bordessa.
China and Taiwan are well known for their product plagiarism. They don’t recognize or enforce international patents and infamously knock-off everything from iPhones, to Rolls Royce’s.
Sadly, we’ll have to add ukulele builder and artisan Chuck Moore of Moore Bettah Ukulele to that list. Last week a discussion started about a pair of Moore knockoffs from Ayers Guitar/Uluru Ukulele.
Discussion here: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?82326-No-Bettah-Ukulele-Imitators Continue reading
An unexpected side-interest of my nearly 3 year old obsession with the ukulele is a massive amount of insight and appreciation for the work of fine luthiers. The wood, the skills, the history, the stories. I love reading the first hand stories of the various ukulele luthiers and how they started along that path, or kept a family tradition alive.
Whether it’s Rick Turner using mahogany salvaged from Bob Hope’s poolside bar and Redwood salvaged from a sun-soaked Stanford fence, or local luthier, Jim Moyekins, showing me the piece of Sitka spruce top he’s using for the top of a new baritone uke that came from a 100 year old airplane, I can’t help but be enthralled with the story.
Jim was nice enough to lend me a book by Allen St. John called “Clapton’s Guitar” I didn’t expect it to be so entertaining. The story of Wayne Henderson, the Virgina Luthier who’s hand made guitars are sought out by the best flat pickers in the world is a fun read, and a great insight into the world of vintage guitars, and the people who collect them.
Check it out! Well worth the read for anyone with an appreciation for fine luthier work.