Aloha! My name is Alyssa Archambault. It always comes as a surprise to people who meet me, but I have a Hawaiian heritage that I am very proud of. My great grandparents, Sam and Eugenia Nainoa were Hawaiian entertainers and my great grandfather’s first cousin was Joseph Kekuku, the inventor of the steel guitar.
In 2002, while doing research into my family history, I contacted Bill Tapia, the great ukulele player and jazz guitarist, to see if he’d known any of my relatives. He hadn’t, but we soon became good friends and have been ever since.
From Hawaii to the mainland, Bill’s career spans the 20th Century. He performed with many of the leading singers and musicians of the day, including Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday and Hawaiian music legends like Johnny Noble, King Benny Nawahe and Sol Ho’opi’i. He also became a well-known teacher of the ukulele. Among his students were Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, the Little Rascals, Jimmy Durante, Janet Gaynor, John Gilbert, Joe E Brown, and Arthur Godfrey.
At the time I met Bill he was teaching, but no longer performing professionally, and it became a mission of mine to expose his talent to a new audience. First I booked him on shows in various local venues, then I set up concert tours in California and Hawaii. I also arranged for newspaper, radio and local TV interviews wherever he was playing.
In the fall of 2007, Bill was poised to turn one hundred years old. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I decided to produce a concert featuring Bill and a number of his special friends. It was held at a magnificent venue, the Warner Grand, a historic art deco theatre in San Pedro, California. It was actually Bill’s second engagement at the Warner Grand, the first took place in 1935, only four years after the theatre was built.
But jumping ahead seven decades, the show in 2007 was glorious, with Bill telling heartwarming and hilarious stories, singing, and playing ukulele and guitar backed by some of the finest musicians in jazz.
Now I would like to share the magic with everyone by creating a live concert album of that event. The show was recorded, of course, but the music needs to be mixed and mastered to exacting professional standards. We would also like the album to be beautifully packaged in such a way that whoever owns the CD will feel like they were there.
And this is where you come in. To do this right, we are hoping to raise our budget of $13,000. This money will go to cover the costs of creating, promoting, and distributing the album. If we exceed our goal, we plan to use the surplus for additional promotion of the album.
For those who donate, we are offering some very special premiums which you can see on the right of your screen. Among them are a souvenir ticket, an original poster from the concert, and Bill Tapia buttons, T-shirt, and sticker. Starting at our Lokilani level, you'll receive an exclusive invitation to a private luau that Bill Tapia and I will be hosting at Bill’s house. Other premiums include a hat from Bill’s private collection and original artwork by renowned artist Robert Armstrong. Last but not least, at the Yellow Hibiscus level, we are offering a special ukulele. This is a red Bill Tapia model (as seen in picture above), designed and handcrafted by acclaimed luthier Lymana Ashikawa and signed by Bill himself.
OTHER NOTES OF INTEREST:
IF WE REACH OUR GOAL, everyone who donates will receive as a bonus an enhanced CD of Bill Tapia telling stories plus special concert video footage!
A SPECIAL MESSAGE TO UKULELE CLUBS: If at least ten members donate $25 or more apiece, your club will be thanked in the CD liner notes!
Today, at 102 years old, Bill Tapia is still teaching, still vital, and looking forward to future projects and adventures. Check out his website: www.billtapia.com
If you would like to write Bill Tapia a personal note, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also Alyssa’s website can be found at www.panioloproductions.com
Our goal is to release this CD before Bill turns 103! Your donation will make that happen! Thank you!
MORE ABOUT LYMANA UKULELES
(and the Bill Tapia Model offered in this campaign)
By using his own techniques, master luthier, Lymana Ashikawa is able to make the finest sounding ukuleles from Hawaii. The perfect balance of superb tone, great playability, and beautiful looks makes these ukuleles wanted all over the world. Lymana Ukuleles are built by hand with respect to quality not quantity. Ukulele pioneer, Bill Tapia says,"the best ukulele I have ever played in 88 years, nothing like it compares!".
Bill Tapia Model features:
Wood: Spanish Cedar (Body and Neck)
Binding: Abalone and cream purfling
Nut: 1 3/8"
Neck: 1/4" (Graphite Square Bar Installed)
Fretboard: Ebony with Star inlay fret markers
Headstock: Lymana L Logo & Bill Tapia's name inlayed in pearl
Case: Black Hard Case
Finished and available for delivery: Fall 2010
Made in Hawaii
Click this link to see a photo of Bill playing his own Lymana model ukulele at his 100th birthday concert (it may take a few seconds to load): http://panioloproductions.com/images/tapialymanaukulele2007.jpg
Also visit: http://www.lymanaukulele.com/
- (89 days)