Why you should care
Nothing’s more festive than playing music, whether it’s on a postmodern ukelele, from a breakout songwriter or on speakers that are literally in the bag.
Devonté Hynes likes to wear hats. He usually wears an NYC baseball cap over his shoulder-length braids. On the figurative front, the 27-year-old Manhattan resident wears multiple hats: producer, songwriter, musician and composer.
Ironically, he’s least known as the recording artist Blood Orange. Now that may be changing for the attention-shy “Dev” Hynes, with the recent release of his excellent second album, Cupid Deluxe (Domino).
To call Joe Luttwak “just” a guitar player in his earlier life doesn’t do either his earlier life or playing much justice.
No. We’re going to call it like we see it: Luttwak, founder of compact, hollow-body Blackbird Guitars, is obsessed. With the guitar, stringed instruments and, to a certain degree, making enough money to eat. Which is where the “there’s got to be a better way” part of the story kicks in, specifically stringed instruments made out of composite materials. Blackbird’s latest, code-named Clara and just released, is a new kickass ukulele.
Blackbird ukuleles are made out of something Luttwak calls ekoa. It’s lightweight, strong and, most important, it sounds cool.
Take any celebratory occasion and you will almost certainly encounter the following in one form or another: music, an element of surprise and an opportunity to open something, be it a bottle, a box or a conversation.
No wonder the Audio Clutch by Stellé Audio Couture feels so festive. The rectangular, hard-sided, evening bag look-alike is all those. Weighing in at just under 2 pounds, this handheld marvel pops open to reveal a pair of speakers. Boasting a Bluetooth wireless range of up to 50 feet, a built-in microphone and an internal lithium-ion rechargeable battery that stays connected for up to 15 hours of play time, it’s capable of playing tunes piped in from your smartphone in any location you see fit. Thanks to the microphone, it doubles as a stylish speakerphone ready to up the fashion ante on your conference calls.