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Get Plucky at UkeFest

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
Sat., Feb. 6, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m., 2010


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