Monday, December 21, 2009

Last jam of the year!

Tonight, Monday December 21st, is the last uke jam of 2009. We'll have the usual uke jam song books out, along with some holiday song books. All other songs are welcome, especially ones that reflect your experiences this time of year, be they Merry Christmas songs, Bah Humbug tunes, songs in celebration of the solstice, snow, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah... or if you prefer to fantasize about getting away from it all with some beach music, that's fun too. Come play with us.

I also hear there will be cookies.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween/Moon-themed jams in October

In celebration of Fall, the month of October, and Halloween, and as a warm up for Bookulele, we're going to focus on songs with Moon themes, and any other Halloween tunes we can think of. So bring along your halloween/moon songs and come play with us!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Halloween Bookulele

Bookulele, the annual Halloween-themed ukulele-centric show and party thrown by High Strung, will be on Halloween this year:

Saturday, October 31st
3 p.m.
Broad Street Cafe

Lots of performances planned this year, including the Durham Ukulele Orchestra, and the ukulele costume contest. Stay tuned for details!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day Uke Jam

We'll be having uke jam tomorrow, on Labor Day, at the usual time. Come end up your long weekend, whether you spent it in town or on the road, playing some ukulele and singing with us!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Somewhere Else

16 year old Killian Mansfield (with whom Paul has played much ukulele up at Ashokan) who is battling a rare form of cancer has just put out an album with some amazing guest stars on it, including Levon Helm, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, John Sebastian and many more. There is a concerted effort underway to try to push this album all the way to number one on the Amazon music charts and to keep it there for as long as possible. All proceeds from this record go to Killian's foundation which supports integrated therapies for kids with cancer. Now here's a kid who cares enough to try and make a real difference in the world, even when he's not feeling well. Amazing and humbling. This from the page:

"SOMEWHERE ELSE is the dream project of Killian Mansfield, a 15-year-old ukulele wizard from Woodstock, NY who is battling a rare form of cancer. Eclectic, uplifting, fun and funky, SOMEWHERE ELSE is a mix of songs performed by Killian with critically acclaimed singers and musicians including Dr. John, Kate Pierson, John Sebastian, Todd Rundgren and Levon Helm. Proceeds benefit the Killian Mansfield Foundation, which supports and promotes Integrative Therapies for children with cancer. Produced and engineered by Ralph Legnini (former studio sidekick for Todd Rundgren and Nile Rodgers), SOMEWHERE ELSE includes world class rock, jazz, blues, country and folk musicians doing a lot of genre hopping, (picture B-52's Kate Pierson with renowned country fiddler Jay Ungar!) There is truly something for everyone on this remarkable CD."

Here's the link

Thanks, and good listening.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lil' Rev tonight!

Today's the day, folks. Come to High Strung at 6 p.m. to learn from and listen to Lil' Rev, one of the great teachers on the uke circuit these days. Tonight's workshop will include a short performance by Lil' Rev. Details below.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Uke Jam 7-8 tonight!

Come on out and play with us at the uke jam tonight.
For this week only, the jam will be just one hour, starting at 7, ending at 8.
The first 30-40 minutes we'll stick to beginner friendly tunes, with the option to challenge ourselves for the rest of the hour.

Come hear us gush about Dan Zanes and friends. Bring songs!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Yet another great event for uke players/lovers/listeners in the area:
Looking Glass Artists Collective in Salisbury, NC, presents a day of workshops and an evening performance by Boulder Acoustic Society on Wednesday, July 22nd.

If you haven't heard (of) this band, check out their web site or look them up on You Tube. They are returning to LGAC after playing there in the Spring and being asked back for another show and some workshops. They describe themselves as "old school but never old" and have a great mix of traditional sensibility, modern flair, creativity and musicianship. Note that their descriptive blurb on the home page of their web site does not mention ukulele (what?!?!), but 3 of the 4 band members play uke (and do so on stage) and have had special ukes made for them by luthier Mike DaSilva.

The best source of info is the flyer, available at High Strung. Stop by and get one, or call them for details @ 286-3801

There's uke, jazz history, and fiddle workshops that are $5 each, if you register before Monday. After that, the price goes up to $10 each. Go to three and get into the evening show for free.
Online details (that I've been able to find) are few, but you can check out the LGAC web site or their google calendar.

And there's this, from the Salisbury Chronicle website:
Fiddling, ukulele, history of jazz — July 22, master classes led by members of Boulder Acoustic Society coming to Looking Glass Artist Collective, 405 N. Lee St. Classes $5 each- "History of Jazz:" 2 p.m.; "All Things Fiddle:" 4 p.m.; choose between "Ukulele 101" or "Simple Songs for Uke" at 5:30 p.m. (loaner ukes available). Each class approximately one hour. Those registered for three classes get free ticket to attend evening concert. 704-245-2302.

Note: According to the High Strung flyer, there is another class at 6:30: "Indie and Punk Ukulele songs demonstration", but this one is free & won't count for the "buy 3, see the show free" deal.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lil' Rev uke workshops July 29th

Lil' Rev, a highly regarded ukulele player and teacher, and the author of some of my favorite ukulele instructional books, including the green book we've used in the past at uke jam, is coming to High Strung for an evening of ukulele workshops. From the High Strung web site (click the link to sign up):
Tunes and Techniques for Ukulele
This workshop will cover learning rolls, triplets, slides, tremolo and other tricks
that will expand your toolbox and bring new texture to your repertoire. Lil Rev is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and music-historian who teaches and tours nationally, around the continental U.S
Wednesday, July 29th
6-9p.m. $20/person

There are plenty of video clips on Lil' Rev's website. Here's a good one from YouTube.

Dan Zanes and Friends

Dan Zanes and Friends are coming to the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh this Saturday, July 18th. AND... their web site says there are "lots of surprises planned for this one." Now, these surprises wouldn't be surprises if we published them here before the show, but we can promise you that these surprises will involve ukuleles and members of the Durham ukulele community. Said surprise(s) could involve you too, but you'll have to be in touch to find out more. Or just come to the show and see for yourself.

Dan Zanes (formly of the Del Fuegos) and Friends are a family friendly band of musicians who love ukuleles and promote community music making for everyone.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Uke Jam tonight. Bring Songs!

I saw Elvis Costello and a bunch of ridiculous (in a good way) musicians play last night in Cary and was reminded of yet still surprised by his general awesomeness as a musician, collaborator, and writer. In celebration, I'm bringing two Elvis tunes to uke jam tonight, one "classic" Elvis tune, and one classic country tune from his new record (erm, neither of which he actually penned... that's for another time). Come on out and play!
As always:
1st and 3rd (today!) Mondays, 7-9 p.m.,
High Strung, 1116 Broad Street in Durham

If you're new to uke jam, it's best to come at the beginning so we can get you started.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ukulele Challenge benefits Ukuleles for Peace tonight!

What happens when you mix a bunch of ukulele players, a bunch of great local musicians inspired to pick up a uke, a supportive music store, a cool club, and a fantastic cause? Find out tonight at Pinhook in downtown Durham.

First, the basics:
Tonight, Friday, May 15th
Pinhook - 117 Main Street, Durham
10 p.m. - Durham Ukulele Orchestra plays first!

Now, from the Ukulele Challenge blog:
With the generous help of High Strung Violins and Guitars of Durham, we challenged local musicians to break out of the confines of their normally gigantic instruments and have fun experimenting with the versatile, forgiving, beautiful, goofy, sad, bright, recession-proof, every person's instrument that is the UKULELE!

The result? LET'S GET SMALL!: A Ukulele Challenge and Benefit Concert! It'll be an 8 act line-up of fancy and not-so-fancy panted musicians from the area, each plying their trade to "The Tiny Art" at the Pinhook on Friday May15th, in what promises to be a hot damn grab bag of genres, original tunes, cover tunes, original cover tunes, and other noises. There will be ukes of all kinds, accompanying instruments of all flavors... (read more here)

Also, check out this great article in this week's Independent Weekly.

All proceeds will benefit Ukuleles For Peace, a small non-profit children's ukulele orchestra based in Central Israel that brings together Arab Palestinian kids and Jewish kids, with the broader purpose of fostering a sense of connection and shared community between Jewish and Palestinian families in the region. We're asking for suggested donations at the door of $5 for this event, but anything you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Come on out and support local musicians and their ukuleles!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Uke jam tonight; Thanks to High Strung

It was great to see a lot of uke jam faces at the Jake Shimabukuro show on Thursday night. What a musician, huh?! I loved the comment by a young audience member when asked if she was going to learn to play like Jake: "Are you kidding? I can't even fake move my hands that fast!" I can't either, but still I'm more inspired than ever to play more and to find ways to bring out the beauty of my little ukulele.

To that end, come play with us at the uke jam tonight. Bring songs. Bring ideas! We can always look up songs on the ol' net and print them out.

Special thanks Lee and Christine at High Strung for making tickets to Jake's show available on Thursday. I'm glad some of you got to use them. For anyone else who missed the show, I recommend taking a listen to Jake Shimabukuro's Live CD.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Intro to Uke workshop this Sunday (tomorrow)!

I'll be teaching an introduction to ukulele playing workshop at High Strung tomorrow, Sunday, April 26th, 1 - 3 p.m. The cost is $20 for two hours. Get to know your ukulele and discover its potential through melodies, basic chord strumming, rhythm, and ensemble playing. The workshop is aimed at adults and will be useful whether you're a first time player or have recently started playing and want to work on your basics. There will be lots of time for practice and questions.

Please sign up in advance, if possible, through the High Strung web site. Or you can register at the door, starting at 12:30 on Sunday.

Future workshop plans include an advanced beginner workshop for adults, and an introductory workshop for kids.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ralph Shaw/Joel Eckhaus uke workshop this Thursday

The ukulele workshop with Ralph Shaw and Joel Eckhaus is on for this Thursday at High Strung. Sounds like this workshop will be a chance to learn and practice some great strums. Here's the description from Aaron at High Strung:
Techniques for the Advanced Beginner with Joel Eckhaus and Ralph Shaw. Joel and Ralph will be presenting a workshop for ukulele players of all abilities featuring the strumming techniques, songs, and instrumental solo styles of both Roy Smeck and George Formby. Come ready to push your playing to the next level.
6-7:30pm Thursday, April 16, 2009
High Strung Violins and Guitars 1116 Broad Street, Durham, NCLink 27705
email aaron @
Check the High Strung web site or call them to sign up.

Ralph Shaw is a well known ukulele entertainer who has produced a good series of uke instructional DVDs. For more info on Ralph Shaw:
Check out the bio on his web site (
And here he is playing Viva Las Vegas on YouTube.

As well as playing uke and teaching workshop, Joel Eckhaus makes great instruments. See them at his Earnest Instruments web site. And here's a little more information about Joel.
Joel Eckhaus has been playing the ukulele for over twenty years. He studied with Roy Smeck (the Wizard of the Strings) and has performed with the Arm & Hammer String Band, the Blue Sky Serenaders, the New York Banjo Ensemble, the Howitzer Mandolin Orchestra, the Neverly Brothers, the Blue Sky Serenaders, the New England New Vaudeville Review and the Pinetones. He currently plays with the Fore River Jazz Band; a ukulele/tap dance duo, Ham & Legs; and his own group, Ukulele Eck and the Fabulous Lacklusters. Joel was a featured performer in the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum's Ukulele Masters Tour in 1998. Joel operates Earnest Instruments, building ukuleles, mandolins, tenor guitars and other uncommon musical instruments.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ralph Shaw/Joel Eckhaus workshop coming

High Strung is hosting a workshop with uke masters Ralph Shaw and Joel Eckhaus on Thursday, April 16th. Here's the info from their web page:

Joel Eckhaus & Ralph Shaw,
Ukulele Workshop

DESCRIPTION - More Info Coming!!
$20. Limit 12 people, so please sign up

Sparkling with wit, charm and an infectious comic energy,
Ralph Shaw is the epitome of the very best that the
golden age of British Music Hall and Vaudeville can offer.
Joel Echaus is an American master of building and
teaching the ukulele. Together, they are coming to
Durham on their Southern Tour and teaching a workshop
at High Strung!!

For More Info on Joel Eckhaus:
For More Info on Ralph Shaw:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ukuleles Rock at High Strung, says Herald Sun

There was a nice article about the uke jam in the Herald Sun recently.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Victoria Vox: more details

As we head into the weekend, we're looking forward to Monday's uke jam with our special guest, Victoria Vox.

Please let us know if you plan to attend by adding a comment, emailing marilee88 at yahoo dot com, or registering with High Strung.

Here are some important details:

  • Workshop topics: Making cover songs original/your own, plus cool strumming patterns.
  • The workshop is geared towards players with at least basic uke skills (i.e., you know at least a few basic chords - contact me if you have questions about this). Brand new players, non-players or others who wish to observe and not actively participate in the workshop are also welcome to attend the whole evening for a reduced rate.
  • The cost is $10 for workshop participants, $5 for auditors/observers. Please contact me if cost is a problem for you. All proceeds will go directly to Victoria. Cash is much appreciated.
  • The evening will start at the usual uke jam time of 7 p.m. with open playing. In addition, we invite you to bring any songs you'd like to sing in a very informal "open mike," or songs you would like to teach the rest of the group. Or songs that, in the usual uke-jam style, you would like the group to just play.
  • Victoria will perform several of her songs for us starting around 7:45, and then teach a short workshop.
  • Please note: Though Victoria will not start until 7:45, we ask that participants arrive as close to 7 (or earlier) as possible so we can all be signed in and settled before the show starts.
  • At the end of the workshop, we will all play together. I expect the performance/workshop portion of the evening will go until 9 p.m., and we will stay until 9:30 for open playing.
Hope you can join us. The more ukuleles we have in one room, the more fun we have!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Victoria Vox coming to jam March 16th!

Victoria Vox, a full time touring singer/songwriter whose ukulele figures prominently in her performances and recordings, is coming to the March 16th uke jam.

Victoria will perform a few of her songs and lead a short ukulele workshop, followed by open ukulele jam madness.

All of this will take place at High Strung during the usual Uke Jam time. We're asking attendees to contribute $10 for the show/workshop, all of which will go to Victoria.

Check out Victoria Vox's web site, where you can also hear her new album in its entirety.
And this is her performing The Bird Song, with ukulele, mouth trumpet (!) and toy piano.

Please call or stop by High Strung to pre-register so we know how many to prepare for. You can also use the comments section on this blog for questions or to RSVP.

Snow Date jam tomorrow, March 9th

Last Monday it was winter. Yesterday it was summer. Tomorrow it will be spring. Come reminisce about snow covered trees and celebrate the passing of seasons at the snow date second monday uke jam tomorrow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Uke Jam Canceled; Snow Date March 9th

Tonight's ukulele jam is canceled due to the snow and the expectation that roads will be icy tonight. Please stay home and play your ukuleles in safety!

Because some of us can't go a whole month without ukulele jam (me!), we will have a special snow date jam next Monday, March 9th, at the usual time and place. Stay tuned for more news!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love/Anti-Love Song jam

How are you feeling about Love? Love it? Hate it? Well, in honor of Valentine's Day, tomorrow's jam will feature love songs and anti-love songs. Come on out and play with us, and bring any songs, love or otherwise, that you want to play.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Eve Jam!

Yes, there is UkeJam tonight. If anyone is inspired to bring tunes inspired by tomorrow's presidential inauguration, please do.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Who got a uke for Christmas?

Looks like lots of people did. Others resolved to play more in 2009. Whatever the reasons, a dozen people came to the uke jam last night, and we had a great time. It's always fun when there are more players. Sounds like many are planning to return, and are already thinking about what songs to bring. Yay!

For anyone who just got a new uke, check out So You've Just Got Your First Ukulele over at ukulele hunt. It's free!

Hope to see you next time: Monday, January 19th, on Martin Luther King day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Join us for our first 2009 uke jam tonight!