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View Full Version : NY Uke Fest 2013 -- My Highlights



Stevelele
06-02-2013, 02:25 PM
This year's ukulele festival was a lot of fun. Even though I had to work and could only attend bits and pieces, I probably had more fun this year than I have had in the last few. Here are some of my highlights in no particular order:

- Hanging out with Music Guy Mike.... I first met Mike a few years ago and he sold me one of my first ukes (an ohana soprano which I still have) and my first custom uke (a Loprinzi Nova flamed maple tenor). Great to spend time with him and shoot the breeze, bugging him about the non-existent customs from the big K's

- Seeing the 12 year old uke star Rio play... not just up on stage, but in the vendor hall in front of just a few people. That kid can really shred. He's only played for 3 years--at some point, he really just might surpass Jake. Right now, he's pretty much just playing Jake's stuff, but I can't wait to see if he can innovate technique and compositions the way Jake has

- Seeing the legendary Kamaka custom loaner. Rio has it now--it's the same uke that has passed through the hands of Jake and others. What a sweet uke--and the only one with a Kamaka signature on the headstock

- Hanging out with everyone -- met some new friends -- Ukulele Russ is a cool guy, and some others, too

- Getting a chance to play the oh so rare Taylor koa ukulele-- 1 of 8 in the world! Thanks Russ--that was a real treat, and what a great uke!

- Playing a T's uke--never thought I'd get the chance

- Playing a Deluxe Maui Music 6 string--great sound!

- Having a chance to play some of HMS's awesome ukes. Wow--I had no idea they would bring so many nice ukes, and MGM did a fantastic job creating an aloha environment and matching ukes to the right people--he is the uke whisperer! I was pretty much in heaven. Got to try the Koaloha pineapple sundae, an awesome koaloha tenor, some great kamakas, some super nice kanileas, the surprisingly resonant blackbird, the wonderful Lichty baritone and the completely awesome sounding red thinline maple dasilva tenor

- Awesome music acts -- Small World Project-- for my money, I think Sebastian is maybe the best uke player on the planet. Raiatea was cool, too

Already looking forward to next year!

MGM
06-02-2013, 03:40 PM
Aloha Steve. So nice to see you again. Thanks so much for the kind words. Andrew and I love to bring a lot of different ukes for you guys to comparisons no one on the East Coast ever get the chance to play them side-by-side like if you were to come to Hawaii. Packing is done and all I have to do is get to FedEx and ship and maybe I can finally see the city.

Stevelele
06-03-2013, 06:36 AM
I hope you get to have fun today. You earned it. And thank you again to you and HMS for bringing all these ukes--it was the one and only chance that we had to look at ukes of this variety and caliber. I totally understand that with shipping and the overall expense of participating it's tough to even break even coming to a show like this--it means a lot for us to have a little slice of Hawaii in the concrete jungle every once in a while. For me, it pretty much made the festival great


Aloha Steve. So nice to see you again. Thanks so much for the kind words. Andrew and I love to bring a lot of different ukes for you guys to comparisons no one on the East Coast ever get the chance to play them side-by-side like if you were to come to Hawaii. Packing is done and all I have to do is get to FedEx and ship and maybe I can finally see the city.

hibiscus
06-03-2013, 09:19 AM
Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed your highlights. I almost didn't respond, because I'm tired, but then I noticed how many others did not respond (for whatever reason) and came back by to say thank you.

haole
06-03-2013, 11:04 AM
Had a great time at the fest too! Met lots of interesting people, played lots of ukes that are normally impossible to find, and discovered fantastic new uke music.

MGM brought a huge selection of ukes and was happy to let people try them out (even the one-of-a-kind customs!). Also enjoyed his set-up workshop. Didn't have the funds on me for a big uke purchase this year, but being able to compare a wide variety of instruments is rare in these parts! Quite a few people left happy with a new KoAloha or Kanile'a this weekend.

Peter Lieberman of Maui Music brought some fantastic instruments, and he's a super cool guy. Got to play one with a beveled cutaway and the only all-cedar uke I've ever seen. Would absolutely buy another Maui Music when I have the money.

Always happy to see Jim and Liz Beloff. They're wonderful people, great songwriters, and they bring lots of cool stuff to the fest. Love the concert Firefly!

Missed Friday night's performances, but Saturday's were all amazing. One of the cool things about the NY Uke Fest is that they schedule a pretty diverse group of performers, so you get to see so many different approaches to playing ukulele. Virtuosos, comedy acts, singer-songwriters, full bands, and many styles of music.

Also had a great time at a songwriting workshop with Katie Down of the Ukuladies. We put together the stupidest and most brilliant song ever.

Stevelele
06-03-2013, 11:36 AM
That's kind of you--thanks for responding--I'm always surprised by how little the NY Uke Fest generates conversation on these boards. I wish more NYC Ukefest people would participate on these boards.


Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed your highlights. I almost didn't respond, because I'm tired, but then I noticed how many others did not respond (for whatever reason) and came back by to say thank you.

Hippie Dribble
06-03-2013, 11:38 AM
Thanks for the wrap Steve, sounds like a wonderful event. Did anyone get to see John Bianchi play at all?

Sporin
06-03-2013, 12:26 PM
I missed it again due to a work commitment in Maine but I hope to make it down one of these years!

ukuLily Mars
06-03-2013, 01:26 PM
Thanks for sharing your highlights! I enjoyed MGM's pictures he posted over the weekend as well. I hope I can go next year!

FiL
06-04-2013, 03:00 AM
Only got there for Saturday, but had a great time. Enjoyed the workshops (especially Victoria Vox's and MGM's), playing many of the ukes that the vendors brought (though I was disappointed I didn't see any 8-stringers for sale), the parts of the evening concert I could stay for, and the folks I got to talk to (especially the guy who also had on O-8 with him). Wish I could have stayed for more. Big thanks to Ken for keepin' it going, and thanks to MGM for bringing so many great ukes!

- FiL

molokinirum
06-04-2013, 07:38 AM
Thanks for the highlights!! I missed it this year......gotta make it next year!!