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Artist Spotlight: Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee - A match made in Ukulele Heaven

Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee

There is indeed, a huge army of ‘uke’ players out there thrumming away, but very few have managed to actually earn a living as professional players, the exception being Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee based in San Diego, California USA.

Fusion caught up with Sarah and Craig via Skype, whilst they were visiting family in the exotic Hawaii Islands. 

Craig Chee grew up in Hawaii, and as a youngster he loved everything musical. This included going to the theatre, singing in choirs and even watching films. It was a huge part of his upbringing.

“I can relate to your story Craig,” says Sarah, “I didn’t have a ukulele as a child. I actually started playing classical violin when I was six years old, I took all the lessons and played in orchestras up until I was about 17. Then I realised that I didn’t have the drive to be a professional violinist, so I dropped all musical ties whilst I pursued a career in costume making in the theatre for six years. I actually have a degree in pattern making.

By chance I went to a pizza place where there were about 40 ukulele players performing along with hula hula dancers, it was the coolest, most awesome thing I’d ever witnessed, a real life changing moment. Until then, I knew very little about a ukulele, I actually contacted the band leader called Frank Leong for lessons in 2006, and haven’t looked back, it’s such a beautiful and happy sounding instrument, like the people who surround it.

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Mixware to be appointed as New U.S. Fusion Distributor

We are very pleased to announce that we have appointed as the new exclusive distributor in the United States of America.Fusion Bags are now available again to U.S. dealers and customers.
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Artist Spotlight: The England Supporters Band

ENGLAND SUPPORTERS BAND

INTERVIEW WITH BAND LEADER JOHN HEMMINGHAM

The England Band - Supporters BandSports fans will certainly be aware of the pulsating ‘boomta boomta’ drum beat, trumpet trills and trombone parps, that are heard at many competitive events around the world, especially at football matches, in a live situation or on TV. We can narrow that down a little further, England football matches to be precise, they are in fact, the official, and now legendary, England Supporters Band, fronted by band leader John Hemmingham. Using modern technology, Fusion paid a visit to John via Skype, witnessing an office that rather resembled an explosion in a paper mill.

“Hi”, says John, “Sorry about my untidy desk, I’m in the middle of running through all the football fixtures for 2015, I also have the job of organising all the transport, flights and hotels for our home and away matches, it’s just gone crazy. It’s not just football, we also play at all the Leeds Rhino matches, Great Britain Hockey Championships, Olympic events around the world, all the Ricky Hatton boxing matches in Las Vegas, George Groves boxing and UK Snooker Championships, it just keeps going and the work just pours in. Some events you would think a brass band with drums wouldn’t fit in but it does, this includes pantomimes and even a French cookery TV show in France called Bocuse D’or.”

Click here to read the full interview.

Dan Erlewine's iPhone Guitar Modification


Dan Erlewine is well known for his books and articles on guitar maintenance and repairs. In this fun article, Dan's discusses how he modified a guitar so that he could jam along with tunes on his iPhone. He even created a knee rest that houses his iPhone will he is playing! Complete with images, Dan describes the entire process.

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How to Get More Mailing List Subscribers

The following was written by Ari Herstand and originally appeared on Ari's Take.

Last night I had an incredible show at one of my favorite places to play in the country, The Hotel Cafe. I got to meet many awesome Ari's Take readers. At the end of the night, after I finished chatting with everyone by the merch booth, I glanced at my mailing list clipboard and noticed only 3 signups! Gah! What happened? For shows with the crowd I had last night, the signup sheet is good for at least 20. Especially when I'm standing there encouraging people to signup (which I admit, I slacked on last night - for shame!) I then noticed the culprit. Someone stole my pen!

I learned early on that people like to steal pens. I doubt it's malicious, probably just habitual. Whenever their hand finishes using a pen they place it into their coat pocket or purse. So I always put a big piece of masking tape around the butt of the pen so the signer knows that this is, in fact, not their pen. Most of the time it has deterred the thieves.

I guess not last night!
So new rule, always tie your pen to the clipboard! 

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Artist Spotlight: Farnell Newton - Trumpeter, Educator, Recording Artist

Farnell Newton - Trumpet PlayerFarnell Newton is an incredibly versatile musical educator at Portland State University’s Jazz Department, where he teaches a variety of musical styles including, jazz, hip hop, funk, soul, rock, pop and Latin music. He’s also become one of the world’s most respected horn players, and a first choice for touring and recording for a host of major artists.

A never-ending list of artists that have benefited from Farnell’s playing includes Stevie Wonder, Bootsy Collins, Jill Scott, Earth, Wind and Fire, Gladys Knight and Cee Lo Green.

Time is tight for Farnell, but Fusion managed to catch up with him for an interview on a wet November afternoon in 2014.

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How To Choose An Oboe

How does one select an oboe?

Despite my being an amateur, or perhaps precisely because of it, articles on my blog where I describe my impressions on the different oboe makers continually receive quite a lot of attention. http://RobinDesHautbois.blogspot.ca/p/blog-page.html Of course, personal opinions will vary, so I encourage each person to experiment and formulate their own assessments: the resulting contrast in tastes would make for a captivating conversation.

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The 7 Step Online Strategy For Musicians

We live in an online world that’s so huge and all-encompassing that it’s easy to get swallowed up by it. This inevitably causes much confusion by the average artist or musician, since it’s easy to spend a lot much time online without ever having your fan base, music or merch sales increase. And let’s face it, it’s usually a lot less fun trying to constantly update your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and/or Google+ accounts when all you want to do is make some music.

One of the problems is that most musicians are online with no idea about how to use the various platforms for promotion. In my book Social Media Promotion For Musicians, I outline multiple ways to improve your online efficiency while increasing your fan engagement and music sales. Here’s a quick overview of the latest strategy designed specifically for anyone in the music business.

Step 1. You Need A Website
Unfortunately, a website many times gets overlooked as an integral piece of your digital promotional life because there are so many other platforms that you can use as your online focal point. Having only a Facebook page or Tumblr blog, or relying on another social network as your central focus, has a number of potential flaws, not the least is control of your message.

Your website is the only place online where you can totally control the look, feel, and content, and it’s the only place that you have multiple ways to display a wide range of content as well.

If you depend on a social network for your online presence, you’re ceding control to an unknown, unseen force that can change it’s will at any time with no regard to your online well-being. That's why it's imperative that you don’t count on a single social network for your total online presence or even your total social media presence. If you rely on an external network, sooner or later you're going to get burnt. It's the nature of the Internet to constantly change, and it's too early to get a feel for the life span of even of the largest sites and networks.

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