Science says • Ukes for Homeless crowdfund • Alleycat • Cakes • Doco
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Skate shoe and clothing manufacturer Vans brought out their 'Casual Friday' range of ukulele shirts, tank tops, board shorts and caps a couple of years ago. Even though the items are still showing up in many online stores, they all seem to be out of stock. It's a nice alternative to Hawaiian style fabric, though.
Have to say, if Vans are making ukulele shirts, ukuleles must be seriously bad-ass (but we knew that).
Scientifically backed health benefits of music
This list of 20, linked to the studies it refers to, starts off with a lot of exercise-related activities which include music but settles into some less well-known benefits ranging from reduction in stress, improving blood vessel function and the reduction of anxiety equal to having a massage. By the end of the list I felt calm just from reading it.
A young woman from Byron Bay in Northern NSW wants to give ukuleles and teach playing skills to homeless people in Sydney so they can earn some money busking rather than begging. Cecilia Brandolini who was a finalist on 'The Voice' with her brother Gabriel, has launched a crowd funding campaign to not only purchase and supply the ukes and instruction, but to pay for the busking permits required by the City of Sydney. She is not far off her modest financial goal!
Not just any old cat on the internet
After looking into a uker's request to play a song I'd heard but never considered for ukulele, I became engrossed and arranged it for uke in melody and simple harmony parts plus chords. The Alleycat has been used in numerous movies and is by Danish composer and jazz pianist Bent Fabricius-Bjerre or 'Bent Fabric' for short (who will be 92 this year). Frank Bjorn, another name visible on the record label in the clip, was a run-of-the-mill Scandi pseudonym he used for his original compositions. Fabricius-Bjerre received a Grammy for the song, and although it is a slow foxtrot, it was in the best Rock and Roll recording category (huh?). Apparently there is even an accompanying dance, but the only videos I could find were of line dancers in Taiwan learning some moves to it.
The original piece is longer than indicated on the music and goes up an octave for one section, but all the parts are there, minus a few flourishes and with one low G modification, so you can repeat to your heart's content and play along with the YouTube clip in the same key.
Ukulele cakes can be made from sponge cake cut to shape, or by using 'guitar' cake tins, which look more like ukes anyway. There are also cutter shapes for the little ukes shown on the cupcakes. Here's another being made line-of-least-resistance-mode with packet mix, tin and some decos!
Trailer for Under the Boardwalk: A Ukulele Love Story
In 2012 a documentary was released called Under the Boardwalk: A Ukulele Love Story, about the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz and telling the story of this grass-roots Californian ukulele group. Whilst groups like this are now familiar to many, a positive review by IMDb says that the film reveals key reasons for the current global resurgence of the ukulele as well as chronicling the history, community and spirit of the club itself. Have a look at the trailer above.
How very bromantic!
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