The renewed popularity of the "mighty uke" has swept the world in recent years, and Homespun has been right there with instruction from some of the best players in the business. This DVD compilation takes a learning ukulele player from the easiest beginner's songs to more advanced blues, ragtime, pop standards and authentic Hawaiian music. You'll play songs ranging from country blues to cowboy, Appalachian, ragtime, early pop standards, and authentic Hawaiian music using a wide variety of techniques. Whether you are just starting out or have years of uke-ing under your belt, there will be lots here to help you expand your musical options - and have fun doing it.
Although this CD is titled Hokum Blues, all but two of the eight groups actually predate hokum (which came of age in the fall of 1928), although all have some aspects of the good-time music. The performances are quite obscure, with two titles apiece by Ukulele Bob Williams, the Two of Spades, Louise Ross, Feathers and Frogs, and Swan & Lee (the only recordings by any of these performers). In addition, there are four songs apiece from Ki Ki Johnson and the team of Danny Small & Ukulele Mays, plus seven numbers (including two instrumentals) by the Pebbles. Listening to this early acoustic music, the performances both look forward to hokum and even swing in spots, while hinting strongly at its early roots in string music and minstrel shows. Collectors will want this one. – by Scott Yanow
Hawaiian musician Jake Shimabukuro has been dubbed the "Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele" for his virtuosic playing style that redefines the instrument's traditional boundaries. Filmed on the 2003 CROSSCURRENT tour, this concert film showcases Shimabukuro's innovative approach to the ukulele with two sold-out performances recorded at Tokyo's Akasaka Blitz in July 2003 and interspersed with intimate behind-the-scenes interviews.