Talking Story 9


The Uke Fest is an arena for uke musicians to strut their stuff and show other musicians what they are doing! This is an exciting part of the Festival and it is great to observe as an attendee. We have traditional Hawaiian ukulele players polishing age-old licks that still resonate in our souls: Guitarist-turned-ukers, who are transferring their best leads to uke; East Coast hipsters who use the uke to navigate away from the tried and true path and then we have pre-teens, who come to know music entirely through the ukulele and can whiz through speedy passages that cause whiplash! We all take turns announcing our themes and sharing our skills, but it is great to have a place for this exchange. The Uke Fest is here to nurture an environment that provides this rich opportunity.

A couple of thing to do with Kids: We can announce that the Uke Fest is giving Katie Down 24 brand new Mahalo Ukes for her two programs that benefit Kids. We have mentioned the South African Songwriting Event before, but Katie also teaches uke to kids whose parent(s) are incarcerated. Whichever program Katie decides to use the ukes for, we know they are in the right hands! Another announcement has to do with an addition to the performers’ lineup. Rio Saito will be coming! This Japanese young person is a dazzling performer already and his You Tube videos are very popular. We are happy that Rio will represent the youngest generation of uke players by taking our stage on Saturday night.

Since Brooklyn Brewery is sponsoring us again this year, we are providing free refreshments (beer, wine, water, soda) during the Thursday night screening of The Adventures of Achmed. In addition to this great movie, Small World Project will regale us with the original ukulele score. Thursday is also set for a vendor preview, so several vendors will highlight what they will be making available over the weekend. We have been searching for a way that vendors can address a broader audience than those that walk past their booths, so we hope this is it. We also would like to offer a limited version of an “Open Mic”. This should be a great way to kick off the Fest.