By Craig Chee
The ‘Ukulele is having quite a resurgence. It is not uncommon to see the tiny instrument being utilized at open mics around the area, in mass numbers at the many ‘ukulele club jams or even on stage in front of thousands in the hands of Jason Mraz, Ingrid Michaelson and Bruno Mars.
There are many things that have led to the increased popularity of the ‘ukulele. Firstly, it has been discovered as one of the most approachable instruments to learn music on. Having a smaller size and fewer strings than a guitar makes it a lot less intimidating and easier to pick up and play, whether one is an elementary student or a retired senior diving into the world of playing music for the first time. Even groups such as Guitar in the Classroom are starting to utilize the ‘ukulele in helping schools get music programs back into their offerings. With budding musicians using the ‘ukulele to do stripped down versions of popular songs (from artists such as the Beatles to Adele to Van Halen), it has also helped create a whole new profession in YouTube cover artists.
We are lucky to have a store like Hale ‘Ukulele (San Diego’s only uke-only store) where the walls and ceilings are filled with all types and sizes of ‘ukuleles to try out. You can find ‘ukuleles made by local master to others made by the top luthiers in Hawai’i. Hale ‘Ukulele also serves as a great meeting spot for aspiring local artists and even international renown artists. You’ll see Sarah Maisel and myself there at least a couple times a week when we’re in town. We will be doing a workshop at Hale ‘Ukulele May 16th before our tour in the UK. Hope to see you there!
Aloha, Craig Chee
About the author: Craig Chee has had a great impact in the ‘ukulele scene around the world, known for his innovative techniques on the instrument as well as being a premier teacher. Craig and his fiancé Sarah Maisel (another incredible ‘ukulele player known for her Jazz stylings) have been traveling the globe teaching and performing with their ‘ukuleles. Both teach locally here in San Diego. For more information about their workshop at Hale ‘Ukulele (3650 Clairemont Dr #5a), call (858) 414-4492 or visit www.haleukulele.com