2007 Teachers

Past Uke Fest Highlights

Portland Ukulele

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Brook Adams

Brook Adams, ukulele and guitar player, singer and composer lives with his family in Eugene Oregon. Performing since the late 1970's, Brook has played at festivals including Seattle Bumbershoot, Northwest Folklife, Oregon Country Fair, Salem Art Fair. He has also performed in France, Canada, Mexico and Guatemala.

Brook has entertained the Portland ukulele crowd in the last couple of years,  playing first at the Portland premiere of the film Rock That Uke, and opening for the Japanese ukulele sensation Petty Booka. As well as writing his own tunes, Brooks covers songs from the sex pistols to Sinatra along with the standard music from the 1930's and 40's.

One of Brooks specialties is pop and novelty songs on the ukulele. Brook will focus on this genre in his uke fest workshops.   www.brookadams.com

UkeFest Workshops: Novelty Songs, Super Simple Songs


Jere and Greg Canote

Jere and Greg Canote from Seattle, WA, are as renowned for their affable attitudes and humor as they are for their music. Greg on fiddle, and Jere on guitar, and both on banjo ukes, perform zany concerts, play for dances, lead songs, and promote a good time! The twin brothers started singing soon after they were born and haven't closed their mouths since. They spent their early years in California's Sacramento Valley, inventing songs with their father at the piano and tagging along with their parents' folk and square dance group. They honed their skills performing in many bands and discovered old-time music in the mid 1970s. In 1978 they attended the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA, and eventually became frequent teachers there. After touring the country with dance caller and singer Sandy Bradley for four years, they returned to the Northwest for a thirteen year stint on Seattle's National Public Radio show, "Sandy Bradley's Potluck," as Sandy's affable side-kicks. The rigors of finding new material for a weekly radio show kept the twins on their toes, mining and performing gems of American music of the past as well as writing new songs in those styles.

Jere and Greg regularly provide workshops on ragtime music and ukulele.

UkeFest Workshops: Strum Fun for Everyone, Party Uke

Joel Eckhaus

Joel Eckhaus (aka Ukulele Eck) is a “native” New Yawker, and now lives in far off and exotic South Portland, Maine. He studied uke and tenor banjo for two years with Roy Smeck, Vaudeville’s Wizard of the Strings. He performs solo and with his group, Ukulele Eck and the Fabulous Lacklusters. Joel is also a luthier. He owns and operates “Earnest Uncommon Musical Instruments” and builds acoustic and electric ukuleles, mandolins and tenor guitars. www.earnestinstruments.com/

UkeFest Workshops:Chord Melody a la Smeck, Level I & II


Piper Heisig

Piper Heisig, from San Luis Obispo, California, is a musician, singer, songwriter and teacher. A professional musician since 1977 and teacher since 1987, she can be heard singing and playing bass or percussion in a number of bands, on the Central Coast. Among the styles she has played through the years are, Swing, Western Swing, Old Time, Country, Bluegrass, Traditional Jazz, Blues, Rock and Roll, Paraguayan and Persian. She has recorded over 20 albums and her name has appeared on many band rosters including, "Old Mother Logo", "Lone Star", "Those Darn Accordions" and "Cats & Jammers". Piper is the music director for hula halau "Na Mele 'O Ke Kai" in Morro Bay, California. She is currently studying hula and the cello and is a certified Fashion Therapist. (Photo by Sally Mingo.)

UkeFest Workshops: Unobtrusive Percussion, Beginning Bass




James Hill

The `ukulele is hotter than ever, embraced worldwide by a crop of young musicians eager to push the instrument into uncharted territory. Leading the charge is Canada's James Hill. With the recent release of his third solo album, A Flying Leap, this "imaginative and versatile" 25-year-old virtuoso continues to "tear up the uke" (AcousticGuitar.net). Seven of the album's ten tracks are genre-bending originals ranging in style from the bluegrass-tinged 'Song for Cheri' to the jazzy 'Fleas My Dog Has' to the remarkable 'One Small Suite for `Ukulele,' an ambitious work in three movements written for `ukulele and string quartet.

During his teenage years he honed his skills as a key member of the renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble under the direction of Peter Luongo. After touring for twelve years with the Langley Ukulele Ensemble, James embarked on a solo career in 2002. In performance, James is energetic and captivating, mixing colourful anecdotes with a versatile repertoire that stretches from Schubert to the Beatles and beyond. He is heard frequently on CBC and NPR National radio, and has shared billing with the world's foremost `ukulele players including Herb Ohta (Ohta-San), John King, Lyle Ritz and Benny Chong. www.ukulelejames.com/

UkeFest Workshops: The Great 'Chord Melody' Illusion, Parts I & II


Aaron Keim

Aaron's love of traditional string band music and jazz brought him to Boulder in 2003 to study for his graduate degree in music history with Tom Riis at University of Colorado. During his first year in Boulder, Aaron worked at folk music shop HB Woodsongs, which fueled his passion for research and performance of American roots music styles.

Since then, Aaron has developed into a diverse multi-instrumentalist, author, teacher and entertainer. Besides his acomplished double bass playing, he specializes in old time styles on the ukulele, banjo and guitar. When he is not on the road with Boulder Acoustic Society, he plays old time music with his wife Nicole in the Hudson Super Six. Aaron's writing has been seen in publications such as The Fretboard Journal and The Old Time Herald.


UkeFest Workshops: Old Time Styles for the Ukulele, Beginning Solo Arranging





Michelle Kiba

Based in Santa Cruz, California, Michelle Kiba's ability to think big has resulted in an amazing career as a full time ukulele entertainer, recording artist, music educator and music therapist. Michelle is a ukulele teacher on staff with the Community Music School of Santa Cruz. She directs the "Pa Mele O'Hokulea Ukulele Academy" (Song of the Morning Star) with group classes meeting weekly in San Jose and Santa Cruz.

Michelle's artistry as a dynamic singer and ukulele player is richly complemented by her "Aloha Style Band". Michelle's charming reputation has quickly reached wide audiences. Michelle has recorded two cds, her newest release with the Aloha Style Band is titled “Reflections of Aloha.” Michelle also created a strum along songbook with a companion CD titled, "My Dog Has Fleas". Read more about Michelle at www.ukalady.com.

Michelle will teach beginning hula, and a ukulele workshop of Hawaiian Hapa Haole songs.

UkeFest Workshops: Beautiful Hawaii, Hula Hula Hula



John King

John King lives in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a member of the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii and the board of directors of the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum. He is a contributor to the Hawaiian Journal of History and the Galpin Society Journal and is the author of two collections of ukulele music published by Mel Bay and Hal Leonard. Currently, Mr. King is co-authoring a scholarly history of the ukulele for the University of Hawaii Press. He has released two recordings: Johann Sebastian Bach Partita No. 3 for Unaccompanied Ukulele and Other Baroque Masterpieces, and Royal Hawaiian Music featuring compositions of King Kalakaua, Queen Liliuokalani, Princess Likelike, Prince Leleiohoku, Captain Henri Berger, and others. www.nalu-music.com/

UkeFest Workshops: Pulling Strings, Ukulele Ensemble






Voted the best folksinger in Wisconsin in 2004 (WAMI), Lil Rev specializes in Blues, Rags, Folk, Old Time Country and Original instrumental music for the Ukulele. He is author of The Hal Leonard Ukulele Method Book #1 & DVD, as well as his popular recordings The Fountain of Uke Volumes #1 & #2.

Lil Rev tours nationally teaching and performing on Ukulele, Mandolin, Harmonica, Guitar and Banjo.

Lil Rev is endorsed by G-String Ukuleles of Hawaii.

His website is www.lilrev.com

UkeFest Workshops: Blues Ukulele Class, Building Ukulele Technique





Del Rey

Del Rey started playing classical guitar when she was four. As a teenager, she met bluesman Sam Chatmon who inspired her to become a blues queen. Her guitar playing combines country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie through the sensibility of an autodidact trailor-park esthete. Her live show is full of complex guitar grooves and sly humor.

Del Rey plays concerts world wide and also presents a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women in American Music. She collaborates and tours frequently with Austin guitarist Steve James and she plays ukulele with The Yes Yes Boys. Since 2004 she has been collaborating with Maria Mulduar on tributes to Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Johnny Cash, and she is featured on Ms. Muldaur's latest cd Sweet Lovin' Old Soul. Del Rey also writes about music for various publications, including Acoustic Guitar.

Del Rey has recorded three solo albums, an album with the Yes Yes Boys and two albums with Steve James, and two with Del Rey and the Blues Gators. www.hobemianrecords.com/

UkeFest Workshops: Fingerstyle Ukulele



Lyle Ritz

Lyle Ritz is known throughout the world as one of the original "masters" of the 'Ukulele. Also a professional bass player, Lyle has performed and recorded with the 'ukulele for over 40 years. That's Ritz playing bass on the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," on the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," and on Herb Alpert's "Taste of Honey." In 25 years as an LA studio musician, Ritz recorded with everyone from Sinatra to Sonny & Cher, from Ray Charles to the Chipmunks But after 5,000 studio sessions and hundreds of hits, it is a pair of jazz 'ukulele albums Ritz recorded in the late '50s that may be his most enduring legacy. These albums, are "How About Uke?" and "Fiftieth State Jazz." In Hawai'i, Ritz's innovative 'ukulele riffs inspired a generation of players with names like Peter Moon, Moe Keale and Roy Sakuma. His proficiency at 'ukulele jazz chords is now legendary in all of the music industry.

UkeFest Workshops: Open Studio with Lyle Ritz, Gettin' in the Groove


Ralph Shaw

He hails from Yorkshire, England, but these days Ralph Shaw, the "King of the Ukulele," resides in Canada where he is a nationally known figure. As well as his many appearances on National CBC Radio and Television, Ralph is very well known in his community of Vancouver as a performer of the songs of the 1920s, 30s and 40s which he does with a joy and skill that is rarely heard. He sometimes busks at the Granville Island Market and he runs the Vancouver Ukulele Circle (now in its 4th year).

Whether he's re-creating George Formby, Fred Astaire, The Inkspots or Tiny Tim, Ralph brings the past to life and laughter to the present. Ralph's Tuition Video: The Complete Ukulele Course (on VHS and DVD) has been touted as one of the best ukulele courses ever made.

Ralph recently completed a teaching video for children entitled: The Children's Ukulele Course which stars members of his kids ukulele class! www.RalphShaw.ca

UkeFest Workshops: Ukulele Performers Workshop, The Life and Music of George Formby


Byron Yasui

Byron Yasui taught himself to play the ukulele from about 1953. He put the 'ukulele aside from about 1960 when he became a professional jazz bassist and at the same time began formal music studies at the University of Hawai'i and Northwestern University. Then in 1998, he was asked to be one of the soloists in the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum Ukulele Masters concert tour of four east coast cities. Around 2000, he was then asked to organize The Art of Solo Ukulele, which was the name of a statewide concert tour of the Hawaiian islands, a public TV special, and a CD. This series featured four artists from Hawai'i and marked the start of Jake Shimabukuro's concert career. Since that time, Yasui has become increasingly active on the ukulele, giving clinics and performing in solo ukulele concerts all over the U.S. mainland and the Hawaiian islands. He is on the Board of Advisors of the 'Ukulele Guild of Hawai'i and is on the Board of Directors of the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum. He has been on the music faculty of the University of Hawai'i since 1972, teaching music theory, composition, and jazz studies. He is also a self taught classical guitarist and has been performing annually as a guitar duo partner with Brazilian virtuoso Carlos Barbosa-Lima since 1987.