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View Full Version : So the uke scene keeps growing! Hows the scene in your area?



Uke Republic
09-13-2011, 05:57 PM
About 3-4 years ago it seemed but a handful of uke players would get together in metro Atlanta and play. Now in our area there are about 5-6 groups that meet up and its wonderful, so many talented and fun people I've had a chance to meet because of the ukulele.
Hows the scene in your area?

Trinimon
09-13-2011, 06:08 PM
In TO it seems to be alive and growing. One of the local uke groups meets up every Wed. I guess I should start going to 'em for some inspiration 'cause I'm in a funk.

Funny enough, just yesterday I saw someone in the subway with a little Kala soprano box. I know that box anywhere! lol

TCK
09-13-2011, 06:20 PM
So far- nothing here. Me and the wife and a bunch of folks who tell me they "used to"...I wish it was different

mds725
09-13-2011, 08:00 PM
In San Francisco, a meetup group that formed this summer, Ukulele Rebellion (http://www.meetup.com/San-Francisco-Ukulele-Meetup/), seems to be thriving and attracting as many as 20 people to its every-other-Sunday-afternoon gatherings. I've been to a few and they're fun. I hope to go regularly as my Sunday schedule frees up. There's also the now-massive Berkeley Ukulele Club (http://www.meetup.com/Berkeley-Ukulele-Club/), which has been meeting every other Wednesday night, across the Bay Bridge. I guess the scene here is active.



So far- nothing here. Me and the wife and a bunch of folks who tell me they "used to"...I wish it was different

Hey TCK, where is "here"?

MisterRios
09-13-2011, 08:43 PM
There's a uke meet-up here in Berlin which has decided do meet biweekly instead of monthly now. I went for the first time last week and it was awesome. People were trying out each other's ukes. I even got to try out a tenor and concert sizes, which seemed humongous in my hands.

The bad thing though, was that we began at 19:00 and had to stop playing at 22:00 because of recent complaints from the neighbors. The other bad thing is that the room is fairly small, and with everyone packed in there drinking and talking, it turned into a cacophony when we weren't all playing together, and I could barely hear my instrument. It was however, tons of fun, and I'm definitely going again as much as I can!

webby
09-13-2011, 09:50 PM
seems to me its peaked around here.

talk to the local music shops and they are scaling down the uke stock because they have sensed the interest declining.

6 months ago they couldn't get enough ukes, now they are happy to let the uke wall shrink, glad to get rid of the last of the stock, going back to a few mahalos, a couple of concert laminates between 100 and 300 bucks, a couple of eleukes if you're lucky and no high end ukes over about 500 to 800 bucks.

webby
09-13-2011, 09:54 PM
In San Francisco, a meetup group that formed this summer, Ukulele Rebellion (http://www.meetup.com/San-Francisco-Ukulele-Meetup/), seems to be thriving and attracting as many as 20 people to its every-other-Sunday-afternoon gatherings.


20 people once every 2 weeks in a city of how many million ?, that doesn't sound like the word thriving is really appropriate.

metricfuture
09-14-2011, 02:38 AM
It's still pretty slim pickings in my town, but I've heard that it's really taken off just a few miles south of us in Dallas. I haven't made it down for a meet up yet, however, since DFW traffic takes about a week off my life for each leg of the trip.

RyRod
09-14-2011, 02:47 AM
We were just discussing this at one of our groups last night.

I haven't been playing that long but I've seen a few groups pop up around here. There are 5 groups that I can name off the top of my head; The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Group, Silver Strings/Garden City, Motor City Ukes, L.A.U.G.H. (Lansing), and MMUGs (Mid Michigan).

The only problem is that for some reason people don't know about them. One of the group members had his uke with him in public and met somebody else that has been playing for years and they had no clue there were any groups.

I also never knew about Rob Bourassa. He lives like 20 minutes from me and I had no clue until I read his bio for the Milwaukee uke fest.

The only "good" uke player in Michigan that I knew about was Gerald Ross.

More and more people are taking the uke up. I've also noticed a younger crowd too, which is good because we're not playing as many old songs. (not that that's a bad thing)

gyosh
09-14-2011, 03:15 AM
I was talking to the manager at Guitar Showcase in San Jose and he said last year they sold a little over 600 ukes and this year they've sold over 650 and the Christmas sales haven't started yet. I guess that would be the same for most of the other shops in the area. C.B. Perkins (also in SJ) has a nice wall of ukes whereas last year there were none, and I know that Ukulele Source in Japantown, can't keep the K-brands in stock. I think the uke population is booming, it's just a matter of getting groups organized. We need more young enthusiasts, but there doesn't seem to be anything organized around younger players. I'm organizing a group at the high school where I teach and I can see that one factor in the scarcity of organized groups might be the music choices of traditional uke clubs. I know the first time I went to check out a local uke club I was easily the youngest person in that room (I'm 48) and the music choices reflected that. That's fine for me, but I'm pretty sure the teens and twenty-somethings and even the thirty-somethings wouldn't be all that enthused about playing the types of songs I'm seeing at local kanikapila's. As I try to collect songs for my kids, I'm sure you'll start seeing me more and more of me in the "song/tab" section of uu asking help in transposing current pop songs for the kids.

My two cents,

-Gary

Mandarb
09-14-2011, 03:24 AM
I think the uke scene in our area has grown and continues to grow. We have a jam once a week with about five or six people which is impressive for the boonies of PA. I also stopped in my local music store to see if they had any of the new Martin ukes. I was talking with the owner and he told me he can barely keep any ukes in stock.

rem50
09-14-2011, 03:24 AM
Me and one one 80+ year old guy (who knows a ton of great tunes!) play at a bluegrass/country jam every monday here in Jacksonville NC. If there are more of you out there in this area PM me!

SuzukHammer
09-14-2011, 04:21 AM
I paid a short visit to Thailand. It seems every store was carrying ukes, even stores that shouldn't be. It seemed like there is common knowledge of the uke compared to 1 year ago.

I went to Ribbee shop in Bangkok and for the first time I saw zero customers. Zero. But, I saw 5 workers there in the shop so it was midafternoon on the weekday so the 5 workers still must mean there are adequate sales. Their workshop they had a few months back was their biggest yet. Loads of people.

Here in the sand, people are asking about the uke. I'm getting some feelers about a band or 2 wanting me to come around.

consitter
09-14-2011, 04:30 AM
Unfortunately, I'm about the only adult in my area interested in them. A few children are taking lessons at a local music shop. I would love to have fun with others, but it's just not happening around here.

hoosierhiver
09-14-2011, 04:45 AM
This year in our region, the Indianapolis group has gained momentum, Bloomington now has a new group that meets at the libraray twice a month and Cincinnati has a solid group now happening.

philpot
09-14-2011, 05:11 AM
I've started three of my friends on it. Other than that, there isn't much of a scene in my area.

patico
09-14-2011, 07:11 AM
here there's a lot of music going on.
ukeleles (tahitian type ukeleles) are everywhere, the same as guitars.

i normally jam 1 day/week, but study almost 7/week at home.

PhilUSAFRet
09-14-2011, 07:26 AM
66 members and growing every month. Things are great on the Space Coast uke scene.

http://www.meetup.com/Space-Coast-Ukulele-Club/

jackwhale
09-14-2011, 07:26 AM
I've been playing for about a year and have gone to the Berkeley Ukulele Club for most of the year. About 50 people show up every other Wednesday. The club meets in Mike DaSilva's shop, and unfortunately he is moving to Hawaii. The first meeting in the new location is tonight at a restaurant/bakery around the corner from DaSilva. I'm hoping that the 40 or so members make the transfer.

There also are active classes/play alongs at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley.

Someone mentioned that Santa Cruz has around 100 who show up at their gatherings.

fabioponta
09-14-2011, 08:02 AM
Here in Brazil we have Ukencontro once a month in Sao Paulo, with about 15 ukers since 2010. I live in the State next (Paraná) and now the scene has changed: we are doing the Ukencontro in Curitiba, capital of Paraná: the first occurred on August 27th (I could not go because I live in the countryside, in Guarapuava), but now let's make a new Ukencontro, September 24, and I will not miss: ukers are all crazy to see my new Kamaka HF-3. We are 20 and have two professional musicians who participate together. They play very well too!

Here's some ukers from Curitiba

Eduardo Ansay and Ana Ribeiro

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AHu5OwKr94


Lemoskine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijV7VjmyvMI&feature=related

wheelgunner
09-14-2011, 08:08 AM
I am the best ukulele player in town. Only 'cause I'm the only ukulele player in town.

fabioponta
09-14-2011, 08:10 AM
São Paulo Ukencontro 2010:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qEAA90oZ30

Curitiba Ukencontro 2011:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bq50yX5LESE

SailingUke
09-14-2011, 08:41 AM
I don't think the ukulele movement is slowing at all. Look at the backlog at Mya-Moe and other custom builders.
Kala, A-nue-nue, Ohana, Koaloha, Kamaka factories are all having issues keeping up with demand.

I would more believe that the movement is too big and diverse making it difficult for us to find each other.
The many senior groups meet during the day when us working folks are trying to make money to pay for ukuleles.
There is also such a diversity in music genres. We visit groups and play on average of three nights a week.
We also visit a Saturday group and a Sunday group as our schedule permits.

sukie
09-14-2011, 08:48 AM
I have probably met over 100 ukulele players in the Twin Cities area. Lots of them come to StrumMn (local uke group) maybe once and then we don't see them again.

You may think you are alone, but you probably aren't. The other players just may not know about local clubs or not want to be involved.

For stores not stocking so many anymore -- I wonder if it's because they don't sell many "good" ukes. One shop here really only carries $40 (Makalas?) ones. Hard for a buyer to upgrade that way.

3nails4holes
09-14-2011, 12:13 PM
the charlotte area scene is growing, but a bit hard to tell how it is now. about 10-15 people come to the charlotte uke jam once per month. i'm looking into ways to grow a group north of charlotte now.

mds725
09-14-2011, 12:15 PM
20 people once every 2 weeks in a city of how many million ?, that doesn't sound like the word thriving is really appropriate.

I don't think "thriving" is inappropriate. Ukulele rebellion has 100 members, and it has grown to as many as 20 people showing up from only a few people showing up at the first few meetings. Also, it helps to know a few things about San Francisco - it has fewer than a million people and it's surrounded on three sides by water and connected to two land masses by bridges. People tend not to do as much crossing over bridges for day-to-day (other than work) activities as one might think, so people in the East Bay have their own ukulele club, and people in the North Bay have their own ukulele club, and people in the South Bay tend to find it easier to go to San Jose. Also, Sunday afternoons is not a great time for a lot of people I know who want to attend ukulele club meetings but can't on Sunday afternoons due to family or church obligations or commitments to many of the other things that go on in the city on summer Sundays. (I've missed several ukulele club meetiings myself because I have commitments to San Francisco's Sunday Streets program from April through October.)

Also, Ukulele Rebellion is not the only measure of the ukulele's popularity in San Francisco. When I first signed up for ukulele classes through Kapalakiko I Ke Aloha (http://www.kapalakiko.org/), there was only one other person in my Beginning Hawaiian Music class. Now there are as many as 10 new people in each class cycle, and the ongoing Intermediate class is outgrowing the space in which the class is held. The San Jose and East Bay classes, which meet monthly, attract as many as 40 people each. In addition, it's become commonplace for ukulele players to gather informally to play in Dolores Park on weekends.

23skidoo
09-14-2011, 01:28 PM
Here in Brazil we have Ukencontro once a month in Sao Paulo, with about 15 ukers since 2010. I live in the State next (Paraná) and now the scene has changed: we are doing the Ukencontro in Curitiba, capital of Paraná: the first occurred on August 27th (I could not go because I live in the countryside, in Guarapuava), but now let's make a new Ukencontro, September 24, and I will not miss: ukers are all crazy to see my new Kamaka HF-3. We are 20 and have two professional musicians who participate together. They play very well too!

Here's some ukers from Curitiba

Eduardo Ansay and Ana Ribeiro

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AHu5OwKr94


Lemoskine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijV7VjmyvMI&feature=related

Fabio- love those videos! Your group sounds great as well.....I DIG the Brazilian music....been trying my hand at bossa and samba on guitar, love listening to batucada, choro,...Sepultura is even my favorite metal band! I would move to Brazil in a heartbeat...... between the futbol and the music, I'd be terribly happy.....

I live in the same town as Uke Republic.... I'm part of the growing scene - just got my uke this spring and have been to a couple of SouthEast Ukers jams around town over the summer. Great fun!

fabioponta
09-14-2011, 05:17 PM
23skidoo,
You'll be very welcome! If you ever come to Brazil, let me know to do a special ukencontro!
Samba and choro is still dificult to me play in the ukulele (I prefer cavaquinho for this ritms), but I will try play "One note of Samba" in James Hill version soon.

garyg
09-15-2011, 05:51 AM
Here in Athens GA there seem to be a lot of informal interest but the Five Points Ukulele Club meets weekly at a local pub and participation ranges from 4-10 folks. No sign of peaking.

jima
09-15-2011, 07:14 AM
The scene is thriving in Chicago. In addition to the many clubs (CHUG, Nui Ukulele Club, the Harrison Street group in Oak Park), we have the ongoing Chicago Ukulele Cabaret evenings every few months, and a large group of students taking the ukulele classes (http://www.oldtownschool.org/classes/adults/ukulele.html) offered through the Old Town School of Folk Music. It looks like there are 9 classes a week, offered at several different experience levels (including one class for the kids!), and each class has a max of 12 students, making an average of about 100 students a week playing the uke!

Shastastan
09-15-2011, 09:20 AM
We had our first ever uke club meeting last night. Population in this area is about 100K. We had 7 at our first meeting, but there have been no announcements about it at all. No idea what the local interest will be. I did hear that some schools are swtiching our recorders for ukes. So that's good news. We live in Redding, CA

drbekken
09-15-2011, 08:00 PM
Over here in the land of the vikings, there is an artist named Siri Nilsen, who plays ukulele and sings her own songs. She is a great talent. It seems that the music stores sell a lot of ukes, but a visible 'uke scene' is hard to spot. For me, anyway, but that probably doesn't say a lot. I keep on strumming by myself, and seeking out those strange old songs from way back.

Nickie
09-15-2011, 11:00 PM
The last time I looked, we had 298 members in the Tampa Bay Ukulele Society. Of course, they aren't all active. When we do meet, which is at least once a month, we fill up the room, wherever we are.