A number of you have been asking about getting together more often and incorporating some lessons into the mix. I think we can do that. Nimbus Arts  has offered to let us use their space at the St. Helena Marketplace, 3111 St. Helena Highway, on Thursday evenings. (This is where the Premium Outlets used to be, just north of St. Helena.) Here’s the plan for now: from 6:00 to 7:00 we’ll do a group lesson for beginners; at 7:00 we’ll switch it up a bit for those who have a little more experience or want to just play some tunes. The “beginners” are welcome to stay and apply their new skills. I’ll come prepared with some kind of lesson each week, but it really can be driven by whatever we want or need to work on and who comes. (Lois has also offered to teach hula on occasion to those of us who are interested; we’re just working out the details.)  It’s going to be very, very casual; if you’re an advanced player, you can teach the class.  I’ll have ‘ukuleles for those who don’t have one. We can start next Thursday, March 19, and see how it goes. Please bring a $5.00 donation. Note: this is in addition to the monthly flea fest on (usually) the last Sunday of the month.

Speaking of which, please let me know if you need a Flea Jumper Songbook for our next gathering, Sunday March 29, at Yo el Rey in Calistoga. So far I’m planning on bringing one for Julie and David.

On an even lighter note, here is the first submission received from my request for “My Little Grass Shack” parodies, this one from Jeff Abbott in El Cerrito who is now an honorary Flea Jumper!

My Little Wine Rack


There’s a place in California

That is salubrious to me,

I’m as thirsty as can be,

Won’t you pour some Pinot Gris?

 And the main course:

I want to go back to my little wine rack

in the beautiful Napa Valley.

I wanna be with all the rieslings and the

zinfandels I knew long ago.


I can hear the bare feet squishing

on the grapes they’re harvesting now;

I can hear the new vintners sayin’

“Oh no micro-oxygenation is the way to go and how!”


It won’t be long ‘til my glass will be filling up with malbec,

A great old tart with earthy minerality.

I’m not a connoisseur I’m just an oenophiliac,

and I hear that it helps to clear your arteries of plaque.


I wanna go back to that little wine rack

in my beautiful Napa Valley ,

Where the cab, pinot, syrah, merlot,

and chardonnay come flowing by.


Where the cab, pinot, syrah, merlot,

and chardonnay come flowing by.


I don’t know about you, but I love it.  I’ll work out the chords and add it to “the book.” (I’ll do a songcard, if someone will do an illustration.)

Onward: I believe the Saturday, April 4, Bob Brozman workshop in Santa Cruz is full. However, Haley tells me they have opened another one for Sunday, April 5, and she might be able to move some of the Saturday folks to Sunday, if more of us want to come down together from Napa on Saturday.  So far it’s me, Taylor, and Christina.  I have room for 5 more in the mini-van.  This is a rare opportunity to learn ‘ukulele from one of the most respected musicians in the world. Check with Haley info@bobbrozman.com to see if you can get in, then let me know if you need a ride.

Even more ‘ukulele workshops coming up!


Brittni Paiva

Sunday – March  22, 2009

DaSilva ‘Ukulele, 2547 8th Street, #28,  Berkeley, CA 94710
510 649-1548

‘Ukulele Workshop 2-3pm  $20 (includes concert)
Concert 3:30-4:30pm.  $10             


 Cash or checks only

 KIDS (16 and under) FREE!


Brittni is an amazing talent and about as sweet as they come. And she has a wonderful rapport with kids–well, she’s only 18, herself. So, if you’ve got a kid you’d like to introduce to the ‘ukulele, this would be a great opportunity. She walked away with the 2005 Na Hoku Hanohano “Most Promising Artist Award” at the age of 16 for her debut recording, “Brittni X 3” for which she played all three parts—ukulele, guitar, and bass! The following year she released her second CD, “HEAR…”, which won the 2006 Hawaii Music Awards “Ukulele Album of the Year” and received two nominations for the 2006 Na Hoku Hanohano for “Best Instrumental Album of the Year” and “Favorite Entertainer of the Year.”


This would also be a great opportunity to meet the host, Mike DaSilva, and take a peek at his ‘ukulele workshop. Mike is a master luthier and gave James Hill a custom-made ‘ukulele at the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival last year. James later said, “this is the best sounding ‘ukulele I have ever heard in my life!” That’s quite an endorsement! For more information on Mike and his Berkeley ‘Ukulele Club (which seems to be growing by leaps and bounds) check out their link under the new “‘Ukulele Clubs” tab above.


herb_wksp_109sm3Our good friend Herb Ohta, Jr. will be passing through again in April and will be in San Rafael on the 4th and 5th, and in Berkeley on the 6th.  The son of `ukulele legend “Ohta-san,” Herb started playing at the age of three, and began teaching at 11.  He now shares the music of Hawai`i and the beauty of the ‘ukulele with people around the world, performing and conducting instructional workshops. He is a seven-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award nominee (the Hawaiian equivalent to the Grammy) and two-time Hawai`i Music Award winner. Herb will be teaching individual workshops in Song Arranging, Strumming, Hawaiian Turnarounds, and Playing Solo—Ohta-style.  Cost is $35.  You can also take a private lesson from Herb for $60.  For more information, contact Hawaii Music Live.


And finally, if you haven’t seen Jake Shimabukuro in concert,  you might want to check out these upcoming performances: he’ll be in Chico at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company April 6 (yes, we will be driving all the way to Chico in a school night to see him perform) and the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz on April 9. He is an inspiring and dazzling ‘ukulele player and a very nice guy, to boot. If you want to go to either concert you should get your tickets soon.

Have a great weekend!  Hope to see you Thursday.