Nellie McKay (

Nellie McKay has released three critically acclaimed albums: Get Away From Me, Pretty Little Head, and her most recent, Obligatory Villagers. Her music has been heard on the television shows Weeds, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS and Privileged, she created original songs for the Rob Reiner-directed film Rumor Has It, and made her feature film debut in P.S. I Love You. On the stage, Nellie won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera. She has performed on numerous television and radio shows She has also toured the world and has opened for Bo Diddley and Sting. A recipient of the Humane Society’s 2005 Doris Day Music Award for her dedication to animal rights, she has also participated in benefits for groups ranging from Planned Parenthood and Fair Fund to the ACLU and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Ms. McKay has been active in supporting get-out-the-vote efforts, the campaign to close primate laboratories and working to ban carriage horses throughout the country.

Bill Tapia (

At 101, ukulele master Bill Tapia is the oldest working musician in the United States, if not the world. Born in Hawaii to Portuguese parents, he can recall playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" for American doughboys heading off to World War I in 1918. His longevity is amazing, but what's most impressive is the way he distills nearly a century of musical experience on the bandstand, delivering graceful, harmonically sophisticated renditions of jazz standards and Hawaiian swing on the diminutive four-string uke. He's hit the Top 10 on the jazz chart twice. After touring the West Coast and frequent trips home to perform in the Aloha State, he now returns to New York for the first time since 1935 for his appearance at the New York Ukulele Festival. His longevity and legend will only grow with his new live release, "Livin' It Live", available March 31st. "As delightful as it is surprising... Tapia's 86-year career includes jams with long- gone pioneers of American musidc, including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Fats Waller. ...Tapia takes his rightful place alongside these greats. He retains a sharp improvisational skill and capable instrumental ability..."

Julia Nunes ( )

She's a YouTube phenomenon. She's a ukulele-wielding smartass and an incredible talent. She's Julia Nunes - and she just woke up. She just got back from a handful of dates opening for piano popster Ben Folds, she's in the middle of recording her second album, getting flooded with fan mail, dealing with more than 1 million YouTube hits, and being hounded for autographs. Actress Molly Ringwald sang her praises. Nunes is a serious musician with bright blue eyes, bright blonde hair, and a perpetual smirk. Plus she's got a big, beautiful voice - and a little ukulele. Once the ukulele entered the equation, people really started to take notice - including the folks at Bushman, a company that manufactures ukuleles in Nashville, Indiana.The Bushman bigwigs urged Nunes to enter the company's World Ukulele Video Contest. The prize: a new Bushman ukulele. "It wasn't 24 hours later that she made that video complete with three-part harmony," says Bushman founder John Hall. "And that video won the contest."

Mihana (

"I, Mihana, invite you into this world of mine....filled with light....touched with rust,....and shared with love."The roots of my music are in my family and reach back to the first Polynesian settlers of the islands. I began singing informally with my mother, Irmgarde Farden Aluli, while I was still in high- school and college. I began singing in the group Puamana when I was 27. Over the next 23 years, Mother, Sister Aima, Cousin Luana and myself worked and sang together both in live performances and in recordings. After Mom passed away I began exploring to find my own direction and purpose. Rust On The Moon is the first result of my search" "Rust On The Moon," shows a variety of musical genre, ranging from jazz to rock, which are seamlessly blended into an mix that leaves you wanting more. Whether Mihana is crooning the heartfelt sentiments of "Rust" and "Easy" or is taking you on the great rockin' ride of "Hula" or "Love", you will no doubt find yourself singing along.

Ukulele Bartt (

I don’t think there’s anyone who looks like they’re enjoying playing the uke more than Ukulele Bartt. And it’s highly infectious - I get an urge to pick up the uke every time I see him play. Particularly when he’s shredding the crap out of some flamenco ukulele. Bartt has just released a new album, Under the Big Fat Moon. When it comes to music genre, Bartt can't be pidgeon-holed into one rigid category. I get the feeling that he'd like to remain free of a particular genre because he is a well-rounded musician with years of experience on guitar as well as ukulele. He plays everything, jazz, flamenco, country, rock, old standards, Hawaiian, and a lot more. If you’ve never heard the “Flight of the BumbleUke” or a ukulele rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” it might be time to expand your musical experience with the flamenco, classical and rock sounds of ukulele aficionado Ukulele Bartt. The Hawaiian and Portuguese guitar virtuoso is a little bit like Tiny Tim, Queen, and George Harrison combined. And for anyone who enjoys a unique musical experience, Ukulele Bartt has a style and a sound worth hearing. “Bartt is incredibly talented and an accomplished musician,” said Gail Mishkin, of The Folk Tree, a shop and art gallery in Pasadena where Ukulele Bartt and his band will perform this weekend. Mishkin said she’s a fan of Ukulele Bartt the man and his music.

Small World Project (

There’s no doubt about it: It’s a small world — and it’s especially small at Small World Project performances, where everyone plays small-scale instruments to produce rare and compelling musics of the world. Sébastien Dufour’s charango and ukulele take centre stage, accompanied by Patrick Graham’s miniature percussion section on the cajonito, kanjira, udu, carillon and other diminutive devices. Resonating through it all is Frédéric Samson, on his double bass — a big, contrasting exception in this small world of music, whose enveloping depths will balance the other instruments. Drawing its inspiration from the four corners of the globe, the Small World Project’s music vibrates with Brazilian samba beats, Chilean folklore, flamenco Andalou, Hawaiian Island melodies, and the musical strains of Morocco, Senegal, India — with some good old American bluegrass in the mix. Primarily scored by ensemble leader Sébastien Dufour, this trio’s original music is all about decompartementalizing musical styles by integrating pure “world” elements, classical music and jazz. Winner of the Galaxie / CBC Rising Stars Award at Festival des Musiques et du Monde in Montreal, the ensemble’s first album was launched internationally on the Fidelio Audio label last June. Fresh from their performance at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the trio will be in concert at the Grand Théâtre de Québec and at TOHU in Montreal this coming autumn" and at the New York Ukulele Festival in May.

Moe Dixon (

Moe Dixon is a familiar name on the festival and concert club circuit. In performances across North America and Europe, Moe is best known for his ability to create an energy that brings people together through song. Thousands of listeners have become loyal fans. His magical performances are highlighted by masterful playing and powerful vocals. Moe’s poetic song-writing is filled with his optimistic vision of life. With a lifestyle of skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, golfing or mountain biking, his inspiration comes from his sense of adventure and his willingness to fully live his Destiny, Cause and Calling. Every audience absorbs and expands on Moe’s unique energy and each performance becomes a celebration. One of the top solo artists in the country, he specializes in finger-style and ragtime. Standing room only shows demonstrate his ability to reach out to all ages. His connection to the audience is highlighted during his remarkable and energetic solos

Ken Bari Murray (

Ken has seven independently-produced CDs (Away From Home, Koitori, Now And Then, Eating Persimmon, Cosmic Adjustment, Phoenix and Trust) which were released since 2005. Based in New York City, where he was born, he has been performing regularly in cabaret venues and loft parties since the early 70's. As a founder of the Leftovers, he wrote and recorded songs that blended Caribbean and rock influences to create a multicultural sound, which he continues to explore today. He now plays the baritone ukulele as his primary instrument and performs on both coasts, in Hawaii and elsewhere around the world. As an independent performer, Ken is currently engaged in "house concerts," which have proven a nice fit for his style of music. A recent performance was the Island Aid Benefit for the medical relief ship, Lautan Megah. This ship is now moored in Sumatra, Indonesia, where the 2004 tsunami disaster occurred.

Les Chauds Lapins (

From the murky depths of New York’s cultural ferment, Les Chauds Lapins rise stately into view. In their hands, small devices banjo ukuleles, that curious half breed which combines the banjo snap of early jazz with the sultry sea breeze of the ukulele. On their lips, cryptic incantations from an alternate reality — for it is the heart of the French music hall which pulses within collaborators Kurt Hoffman and Meg Reichardt. Les Chauds Lapins present French songs of the '20s – '40s, an epoch when American jazz and swing was being absorbed into the witty, passionate, highly melodic tradition of French popular music. Their repetoire includes numbers popularized by the likes of Mistinguett, Lucienne Boyer, Edith Piaf, and in particular features suave, swing-tinged gems from the enchanted catalog of songs by the great, late Charles Trenet.

Sweet Soubrette (

Sweet Soubrette is Ellia Bisker on vocals and ukulele, sometimes solo and sometimes with a full band, The Regrets, who include Heather Cole on violin, Mike Dobson on an array of percussion, and Bob Smith on upright bass. Special guests have also been known to make appearances. "Hi, we're Sweet Soubrette and we play songs of doomed romance," says NYC's Ellia Bisker. Wry, unapologetic, sassy and flirty, this tiny ukulele princess is not your typical acoustic act. But her humorous – if jaded – outlook on love is refreshing, and her witty commentary sets the stage for an evening of mellow, comedic rock. Her voice is light and airy with a touch of vulnerability – like the Siren she describes in "Siren Song". Accompanied by violinist Heather Cole, who compliments her punchy playing with fluid, haunted melodies, and a hint of melancholy to the humor, Bisker is tongue-in-cheek funny – Jeanine Garofalo funny – and the audience absolutely adores it.

Victoria Vox (

Vox graduated from The Berklee College of Music with honors and a degree in songwriting -- releasing a handful of DIY, guitar-driven albums before a friend gave her the 4-stringed instrument. It proved to be the perfect new partner for her rich voice and changed the way she wrote and arranged music. “The ukulele doesn't interfere with my range as much as a guitar, and because it's more simplistic, I feel that I move to different melodies than I would on the guitar,” explains Vox.” Her first ukulele driven record, Victoria Vox and Her Jumping Flea was funded by fan donations and released in 2006. The refreshing disc was well received, and featured on NPR’s “To The Best of Our Knowledge,” while songs were featured on television and in independent movies. “My Darlin’ Beau” was awarded runner-up in the International Acoustic Music Awards. On Chameleon, released on her own label this spring, Vox partnered with producer Mike Tarantino (James Blunt.) The two mix the ukulele with her acoustic guitar, electric bass, percussion and other instruments to flesh out her burgeoning songwriting talent and pure vocals.

Jim Beloff (

“I was a pretty good guitarist before getting into the uke. I was also a songwriter and big admirer of sophisticated theater and pop writers like Stephen Sondheim, James Taylor, Todd Rundgren, Jimmy Webb, Joni Mitchell, etc. Like many I thought the ukulele was a novelty instrument/toy with a high voice that wasn’t suited for nuanced chords and thoughtful lyrics. That all changed when I found a Martin tenor uke in 1991 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl flea Market. After a few days of playing this uke tuned down to DGBE (with a high D—a la “my dog has fleas) I became convinced that my kind of songwriting actually made more sense on a uke than it did on a guitar. After spending a few weeks poring over old, out of print Cliff Edwards uke songbooks we pitched the idea of compiling our favorite arrangements from his books to a leading print music distributor. At the time they didn’t have any significant uke book offerings and they agreed to distribute what became our first songbook, Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Favorites. Since then my wife Liz and I have published 18 Jumpin’ Jim’s songbooks with several new ones on the way.

Tripping Lilly (

The Boston Globe says, "Tripping Lily is a genre unto itself." Tripping Lily's song "For Five Years or More" went to number one for several weeks on Boston's Folk Station WUMB. Touted as fresh, energetic, and alive, Tripping Lily’s pop-rock groundwork is cross-fertilized with folk music and cutting edge vocal harmonies. The band’s unique ability to absorb traditional music while speaking to the here and now is proof of their versatility as contemporary musicians. Tripping Lily seeks to exploit the empty space of the canvas. They unravel everything they’ve known and in turn, end up in a better place. The band: Demetrius Becrelis Ukulele, Guitar, Vocals, Alex Becrelis Mandolin, Ukulele, Washboard, Violin, Vocals, Monica Rizzio Violin, Ukulele, Vocals, Laird Boles Upright Bass, Background Vocals.

Prewar Ponies (

The New York Band, Prewar Ponies, is- always: Daria Grace, baritone uke and vocals, usually: J. Walter Hawkes, trombone and soprano uke, often: Jon Dryden, piano and accordion; Mike Neer, guitar; Matt Hughes, bass; Russ Meissner, drums, sometimes: Doug Largent, bass; Andy Borger, drums; Tim Luntzel, bass; Daniel Lapp, trumpet & fiddle; Dan Rieser, drums; Jim Whitney, bass. We like to play songs from the '20s and '30s mostly, but generally stay away from the standards. Daria likes to mine old recordings and sheet music to find obscure charmers that almost nobody knows like 'The Gentleman Just Wouldn't Say Goodnight', 'Pettin' In The Park' and 'Pardon My Southern Accent.' We play 2 sets at Rodeo Bar on the 4th Monday of every month, starting at 9pm.




See you at Uke fest May 29, 30 and 31!