In a parallel universe, the ukulele not the electric guitar is the preeminent instrument of popular culture. It's not a stretch to say that Swallow Hill Music Association's Michael Schenkelberg yearns for such a world. As co-creator of the Denver UkeFest, he's long been celebrating and raising awareness of the tiny, four-stringed, Hawaiian-born guitar. The ukulele is just as versatile as the guitar, and that's how we present it not as a toy or a novelty, but as an instrument that you can just as easily play a classical Bach fugue, a Hendrix solo or a simple song that everyone can sing along to, he says.
The third annual UkeFest starts tonight at 7 p.m. at Starz FilmCenter, in the Tivoli building on the Auraria campus, with a screening of the documentary Mighty Uke, which will be presented by director Tony Coleman and ukulele virtuoso James Hill. The festivities which include performances by Hill, the Boulder Acoustic Society and Ukulele Loki, among many others, plus workshops, jams and raffles will continue through Saturday at Swallow Hill, 71 East Yale Avenue. Ukuleles starting at $30 will be available Saturday. Admission to tonight's film is $10 to $12; festival passes are available from Swallow Hill for $75 in advance; tickets to Saturday's concert are $25 in advance. For tickets and a complete schedule, call 303-777-1003 or visit www.swallowhillmusic.org.
Sat., Feb. 6, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m., 2010