Mike DaSilva has really created a great place for the ukulele enthusiast. Mike has such a generous spirit and he attracts great talent from around the world. I could say so much but there’s a mini-documentary Made by Hand that will tell much more than I could say here, http://www.levinvideo.com/madebyhand/
Having club meetings at Mike’s workshop studio is a blessing. Some members are building their own ukuleles under Mike’s watchful eye and helpful hand. Here’s a photo of my friend Mary G. playing her newly made Diaz reproduction (she wanted a small ukulele for backpacking?!?!?) I have heard several testimonials of DaSilva Ukulele owners and it seems that they are always cherished! They are always ultra-light and have great sound. I have had the chance to play several.
Mike has many concerts at his studio. There are so many talented ukulele players and musicians that come and perform. If you live near Berkeley get on Mike’s e-mail list for upcoming news and events.
GRAZIANO UKULELES http://www.grazianoukuleles.com/
I have met Tony Graziano at the Northern California Ukulele Festival (’06. ’07, ’08) and at the wild and wacky Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz. His, wife Sue, is part scandanavian, and did some traveling and went to a couple Swedish ukulele clubs. I found out that Tony stated off in 1969 making dulcimers in Woodland, California. Tony has been making beautiful ukuleles since 1978. Take a look at this amazing bamboo ukulele http://www.grazianoukuleles.com/bamboo_tenor.html
POHAKU UKULELES http://www.pohakuukulele.com/
I also met Peter Hurley at the NCUF (’06, ’08). Several of his ukes on display were non-traditional-shaped art-ukes, like Smirnoff bottles, the Aero-uke, and the Cubist Pohaku. I am very pleased with the quality and sound of soprano (shown in the previous post.) I notice tha both Bliss Blood of the Moonlighters and Craig Robertson have Pohaku ukes too.
KALEPONI UKULELES http://www.kgstudiosoakland.com/kaleponi_ukuleles
Al Dodge, is a musician, ukulele maker, artist, at ukulele teacher at the Orinda ukulele club. Kaleponi means California in Hawaiian. I don’t know what his production is like but he also makes beautiful instruments. I have seen them with Mike DaSilva ukuleles when there are open arts studios at Mike DaSilva’s artist’s loft building.
Al has a band, the Sundodgers, that I see in the courtyard playing for hours at the NCUF,