Late March 2017: Our snowy freezing-rainy winter does not want to give up, but the lengthening days tease with the promise of spring, and the lawn mower woke from hibernation last week.
The Palm Strings Ukulele Festival was a blast. I arrived in something of a crabby mood after two hard days of driving in wintry weather, walking into the venue just as Michael Powers, Abe Lagrimas, and James Agg took the outdoor stage–the healing effect of their set was nothing short of magic. They simply rocked the place; the wind that blew cups off the table and whipped away the flames of the outdoor fireplace were no match for the music blazing from the stage.
Looking back to late fall, the Exhibition of the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii was wonderful! Between the Guild organizers, fellow exhibitors, and attendees, it was a lesson in aloha and shared enthusiasm.
I also spent time with Andrew Kitakis and the rest of the great Ukulele Site/Hawaii Music Supply gang up on the north shore before the exhibition, nearly spraining my neck from turning around so fast when Corey Fujimoto started playing the first movement of the Bach Violin Sonata in E major on Reynard–Wow/ouch! I will be supplying instruments to the Ukulele Site and to Shawn Yacavone of Ukulele Friend later this year.
Returning to the present, in a week my daughter Meghan and I will be off to the Reno Ukulele Festival (Gerald Ross, Victor and Penny, Abe Lagrimas, Michael Powers, Peter Luongo, Steve Espaniola, Faith Ako, and more–whew).
Closer to home a few weeks later, the Northwest Handmade Instrument Exhibit at Marylhurst is absolutely stuffed with superb work by luthiers all over the Pacific Northwest.
July beckons with a double-header, the Bend Ukulele University, and (for us geeks) the Guild of American Luthiers (GAL) convention. Speaking of the GAL, I recently had an interview with Corvallis violin maker Jeff Manthos published in the American Lutherie.
OK, enough for now. Here is the list (as always, possibly out of date) of some of the finished and unfinished ukes in the shop, all tenor unless noted:
- Lakshmi – East Indian Rosewood, bearclaw spruce, spalted rosette, varnish finish
- Luna – another fabulous “Richard Parker” tiger myrtle, bearclaw Swiss spruce
- Black Orculele – African Blackwood, bearclaw Swiss spruce
- Mr. Fox – incredibly curly mahogany, sinker redwood
- Jupiter – Lyric baritone in myrtle/Swiss UPDATE: now in Reno for the Festival drawing
- Carmen – koa/Swiss spruce (sold)
- CoolCow/Bonita – GT model, CSA rosewood, Swiss moonspruce (sold)
- River – East Indian rosewood, bearclaw Swiss spruce, cutaway bevel (reserved)
- Black Mordor – GT, African Blackwood, sinker redwood, Barad-dur headstock (sold)
- Orodruin – Madagascar rosewood (from “volcano tree”), sinker redwood (for Ukulele Site)
Pop on over to my Facebook for more timely updates. Slightly more timely anyhow;-\.
Late October 2016: a solitary pale green cricket chirruped softly on the studio door jamb last night, a tender coda to the vast evening choruses of summer.
The sour gum trees have more brilliant scarlet leaves scattered below than remain on the branches, and I fear one good windstorm will un-decorate the entire autumn display.
But any autumn melancholy was more than offset with Kimo Hussey’s workshop/concert late September, and the Port Townsend Ukulele Festival only days later, an extraordinary gathering of teachers/performers and students.
I’m now preparing for the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii Exhibition–a giant invitational gathering of ukes and makers just steps from the beach at Waikiki, with workshops, kanikapila, and attendees from around the world.