Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee (USA)
the joy for music always follows them
Even though Craig Chee was born and raised on Oahu, he matured as an ‘ukulele player and musician on the mainland. Throughout attending and graduating from the University of Oregon, Craig focused on teaching a myriad of different styles with the tiny instrument. Craig has had the honor of working under Jake Shimabukuro and Troy Fernandez, and has become a renown instructor and performer around the world. Craig infuses his energetic and just plain “fun” style into many genres of music and is known for his collaborations at different music events.
Sarah Maisel was born and raised in Alabama and found herself working in San Diego, CA as the Lead Female Draper for the La Jolla Playhouse and the University of California San Diego. On walking into a local ‘ukulele jam, Sarah was both fascinated by the instrument and the joy that surrounded it. Studying under Frank Leong, Sarah dove into the jazz stylings of golden age Hawai’i songs and arrangements inspired by ‘ukulele legends like Lyle Ritz, Benny Chong and Byron Yasui. Sarah found a passion of teaching and performing with the ‘ukulele and was quickly featured at many ‘ukulele festivals around the world.
Tobias Elof (DK)
Nordic ‘ukulele sound
Danish Tobias Elof has in few years gone from a life as a hopeful young musician to have achieved more than most – touring Europe, Asia and Hawaii, won Danish Championship in Folk Music, nominated for two Danish Music Awards and admitted to the Academy as the first in world – with the ‘ukulele in his hands.
Tobias Elof began to play the ‘ukulele when he was 8 years old – at that time because the fingers were not big enough for bass. Although his fingers grew, the desire to play the distinctive instrument, only increased and today it has become his livelihood.
Elof has his musical roots planted in Scandinavian folk music. With virtuosity, intimacy and passion he challenges the genre by experimenting with the music and adjusting it to the ‘ukulele.
The 8th of June Elof will be releasing his long-awaited debut album as a solo artist. The album title, ‘Ukulele Meditation, presents a way of playing the instrument that takes you to a to a new dimension. The album has come together over 5 years where Elof has collaborated with many artist like the duo Bremer/McCoy, vocal quartet Åkervinda, and sound engineer Jonas Nakel, whom are releasing the album on Toneart Rec.
It’s the sound of the forest, it’s the sound of crystal clear stars on a winter night, it’s the sound of ear sharpening melodies, it’s the sound of flow, it’s the sound of being present in the moment, it’s the sound of a deep breath.
A Unique Life Performer
Tobias Elof has performed at venues and festivals in places such as Sweden, the UK, Estonia and Hawaii and has shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest ‘ukulele icons – including the Hawaiian legend Kimo Hussey and Canadian James Hill.
In addition to the international success, Tobias Elof also frequently visit Danish venues across the country, and is known for his intimate and charming liveperformances.
Ukulelezaza (real name Remco Houtman-Janssen)
started playing ukulele at age 11, following in his mother’s footsteps, who organised George Formby meetings and sang and played ukulele and uke-banjo in several bands. In his teens he lost interest, but then rediscovered the uke in 1994, in his early twenties, and he has been playing passionately ever since.
From the mid-1990s onwards Zaza played in Hawaiian bands for about eight years and attended about a dozen ukulele events in the UK, which formed the basis of his style of playing. Nowadays, when performing solo, Zaza mostly plays 1920s/30s music and original instrumentals, and uses a variety of ukuleles. His gentle touch and overall right hand mastery rank him amongst Europe’s finest ukulele players, and he has performed at many ukulele festivals throughout the world. He is a well experienced ukulele teacher for all levels, with a bag of tricks second to none. Zaza is also the co-founder and organisor of the Belgian Ukulele Festival, which had its first edition in 2007 and became the blueprint for the major European ukulele festival today.
Ukulelezaza published three tablature books with ukulele solo arrangements of famous and more obscure songs from the Golden Jazz Era. Each book also features information about and plenty of photographs of the vintage ukuleles Zaza passionately collects, like Martin, National, Hollywood and Nunes. Zaza also released two solo albums, on which he plays ukulele, plectrum banjo, tenor guitar, mandolin and lapsteel guitar.
Video Credit: www.you2play.com
Lucky Leles (DE)
A shared Ukulele house with notes and needs!
Silke dreams of a big career as a country singer.
It is not without ulterior motives that she rents the two vacant rooms in her small apartment to the musicians Torsten and Andy. Of all people it is with two ukulele-players she plans to start a country band, go on a world tour and finally become rich and famous.
Yet the new lodgers are not to be pocketed easily. Rowdy Torsten drives his roomies crazy listening for hours to earsplittingly loud Hard Rock playing along with his electric ukulele, standing legs astride in the fashion of his rock heroes. Ex-surfer Andy practices grimly the ever same scale from morning to evening to the monotone tick-tock of his metronome. Free from consideration for his roomies’ nerves he pursues his rise to the fastest ukulele-player in the world, to be one day adored by the Hawaiian Hula-girls. How far will Silke go to fulfil her aspiration? Will she succeed in turning Torsten and Andy into real cowboys after all?
What is this shady “Dolly-Parton-look-alike-competition“ about? Will all, despite living radios, annoying metronomes and questionable implants, be good in the end? Enjoy a stormy ukulele-comedy show with country songs, Hawaiian tearjerkers and rock anthems.
” used to believe that there were only two contenders for World’s best Ukulele Player: James Hill and Jake Shimabukuro.
That was before I met Lorenzo Vignando AKA Ukulollo.
Lorenzo’s extraordinary ukulele skills and original songs combined with his passion for humanity,kooky sense of humour and small round screen create a magical performance that I can only describe as spell-binding.
To spend an evening with Lorenzo is to spend time in presence of a humble virtuoso truly deserving of a place among the world’s best, and an experience that will quite simply change your life forever.”
Fi McCafferty, Director Geraldine Ukefest
Foto: Henryk Weiffenbach
Hula Hut & The Seven Seas (DE)
Hula Hut & The Seven Seas bring magical sunshine to our hearts and a smile onto our lips!
Within a traditional 1930/40s setting (vocals, steel guitar, guitar, ukulele) Hula Hut plays long forgotten hit songs from the heydays of Hawaiian music. The band presents a varied repertoire from moving instrumental classics to breathtakingly beautiful vocals, performed by Yuko Matsuyama in the style of the great Hawaiian vocal artists.
Let the sunshine in!
The Gentle Ukes (DE)
UKULELE-ORCHESTRA FROM BERLIN
The Gentle Ukes are an ukulele-orchestra from Berlin, formed in 2010 at the Free School of Music Lichterfelde-West. A group of people of mixed ages dedicates itself to the pleasure of playing music together. Whoever sees the ukulele, hears or plays it, can’t, but smile. In this spirit The Gentle Ukes perform in Berlin and elsewhere. They play varying pieces of different genres with soprano-, concert-, tenor-, baritone- and bass-ukuleles. The audiences love their songs. The musicians are happy. And the fun of making music remains alive.
Uke Academy (DE)
AN UKULELE-ORCHESTRA WITH 15 (HOBBY-) MUSICIANS
The joy of making music together let Andreas David to form the Uke Academy in 2014.
He also wanted to encourage ukulele-beginners and modulated familiar pop, rock and classical songs with three to five different vocals. It was planned as a six-month project.
Now the ukulele orchestra is already celebrating its fourth year and delights the audience with its lively size and playful skills, for example at the festival Fête de la Musique.
Foto: Thomas Rehbein