Learn how to play the ‘uke’ and be in a band

Learn how to play the ‘uke’ and be in a band

Ukulele nights at Parrot and Grateful Guitar are for all level musicians

The ukulele is captivating the country and creating new musicians of all walks of life, ready to take on a basic, fun instrument.

“Everybody can leave the class with the ability to play something,” said musician and teacher Topher James of the Grateful Guitar.

Every Wednesday night the Grateful Guitar hosts Ukulele Night where people from about town come with the “U’s” and play together. (There are actually several types ukuleles including the U-Bass, soprano, tenor, baritone and concert ukulele.) They strum basic notes and cords and harmonize together, playing songs by popular groups such as The Beatles.

Topher said the ‘uke” is the same as a guitar except it’s missing two strings. And fewer strings make it easier to finger chords. It’s easy to create a rhythm because the nylon strings are user friendly and easy to press down.

The music class at Grateful Guitar is perfect preparation for The Green Parrot’s once-a-month ukulele night, or as it’s more popularly known, the “Key West Ukulele Orchestra.” On stage leading the session are local pro musicians such as Jeff Clark, playing the uke and singing the songs. The audience consists of almost 100 locals and visitors singing and playing along with the band with their own ukuleles, some standing on stage and some in the crowd.

The Parrot’s website says the night was spawned on a whim, or some might say, a dare, after they found a ukulele on the sidewalk outside the Parrot. Now the monthly Wednesday meetings have become one of the Parrot’s cultural crown jewel, giving locals and tourists the chance to ascend to the Parrot stage and be part of “One Ukin’ Family.”

Even mainstream musicians have been pickin’ the instrument including lead singer of Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder. Legend says he saw one in a shop window while in Hawaii, started playing it and random people started throwing money in his case. His ukulele-inspired album is called “Ukulele Songs.”

As well as learning how to play the trendy instrument, going to the Ukulele nights is a social experience where friends are made and nobody is judged on their ability.

Start with a class at the Grateful Guitar on any given Wednesday from 7:30 to 9 p.m., except for those nights Green Parrot hosts the “Key West Ukulele Orchestra.” (The next Green Parrot ukulele night is Wednesday, March 4.) The For specific ukulele nights scheduled at The Green Parrot, visit greenparrot.com.

 

 

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