Now in it’s 11th year, Denver Ukefest is a three-day festival showcasing all-things ukulele. Workshops for all levels of uke players, master classes with performing artists, and concerts make up what could possibly be the happiest music festival in Denver. We hope to see you there!
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Thur, May 10
Join us Thursday night for the Ukefest Kick-off Party & Open Stage at The Brew on Broadway from 7-9. Free and open to all!
Fri, May 11
Friday night includes a workshop at 5:15pm featuring Christopher Davis-Shannon.
The 7:30pm concert will include Taimane, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, and Christopher Davis-Shannon.
Sat, May 12
Saturday is full of fun workshops and sing-alongs, followed by a concert at 7:30pm.
The concert includes Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel, Gerald Ross, and the Swallow Hill Uke Ensemble.
Full Saturday workshop schedule is now available!view schedule
Ukefest Ticket Levels
2018 Ukefest Artists
Taimane has been strumming away since the tender age of five years old. It was in and around her native Waikiki that she used to play the ukulele, walking up and down the beach and eventually being talent-spotted by acclaimed singer Don Ho. Don immediately snapped up Taimane and had her playing his show, and since then her stardom has only continued to grow. Nowadays she is no stranger to performing around the world.
She is as able to gentle strum away to the sounds of classical music from Bach but is also adept at causing something of a more riotous and rocky atmosphere when working through Led Zeppelin’s back catalog. In essence Taimane has the ability to morph genres form classical to rock to flamenco. She can take her instrument where not many others can, as well as being an expert on the musical sounds and melodies of her native Hawaii, where she grew up. Anyone who sees her show gapes with amazement and listeners are riveted by the artistry of her technique and the tapestry of her styling. As such, they will soon come to understand why Taimane is lighting up the industry.
Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel
Even though Craig Chee was born and raised on Oahu, he matured as an ‘ukulele player and musician on the mainland. Craig has had the honor of working under Jake Shimabukuro and Troy Fernandez, and has become a renown instructor and performer around the world. Craig infuses his energetic and just plain "fun" style into many genres of music and is known for his collaborations at different music events.
On walking into a local ‘ukulele jam, Sarah Maisel was both fascinated by the instrument and the joy that surrounded it. Studying under Frank Leong, Sarah dove into the jazz stylings of golden age Hawai'i songs and arrangements inspired by ‘ukulele legends like Lyle Ritz, Benny Chong and Byron Yasui. Sarah found a passion of teaching and performing with the ‘ukulele and was quickly featured at many ‘ukulele festivals around the world.
Craig and Sarah discovered a similar passion and work ethic and as of September, 2015 are now married! They have made an incredible splash in the ‘ukulele scene with their complementing styles and vocal harmonies.
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
TWO-TIME GRAMMY® Award Winners, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are master musicians with a career spanning over 35 years. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the guitar, five-string banjo, ukulele, mandolin, cello-banjo, and many other instruments. An eclectic folk festival on their own terms, their repertoire ranges from classic country to western swing, gypsy jazz to bluegrass, and old-time string band to contemporary folk including some original gems. Their versatility defies a brief description. Perhaps “well-rounded Americana” does it best.
Christopher Davis-Shannon's music is the essence of honest simplicity. Bringing together influence ranging from Fats Waller to Chet Baker, he creates an atmosphere that will instantly transport you back to jazz clubs, and speakeasies of the early 20th century. Not content being labelled a traditionalist, he forges ahead breathing new life into old classics, weaving together a sound that is enjoyed by both young and old.
He brings to the stage not just the pure joy of music, but a vast knowledge of the history behind the songs that he holds close to his heart. His intricate instrumental work and plaintive vocals are infused with soulfulness which cannot be faked, and a respect for his predecessors which is rarely equaled.
Gerald Ross is comfortable with just about every type of “roots” music there is, from western swing, bluegrass, Hawaiian, blues, jug band music, jazz standards, Tin Pan Alley, New Orleans rhythms to boogie-woogie, and he plays it all on guitar, lap steel, Dobro and ukulele. He appears in the award winning film documentaries “The Mighty Uke” and the PBS syndicated “Wheatland – The First 40 Years.” Gerald won the Solo Artist Category of the 1993 WEMU Jazz Competition and has appeared many times on “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Today Gerald is one of America’s best-known performers, entertainers and advocates for the ukulele. He’s released seven solo CDs, published instructional materials, and is very much in demand as a music festival instructor in the United States and abroad.
2018 Ukefest Workshops
Play by Ear - PaperFree! with Cathy Fink
You CAN do it. You were BORN with ear training, and Cathy can show you how to make it work for you! What key do I sing in? How do I know what chord to play? Where are the notes to this song? You will be amazed at how easy it is to take your eyes off the page and start training your ear to play what you want.
Ragtime and Swing Ukulele with Christopher Davis Shannon
In this workshop we go over five right hand techniques, common rhythmic figures, left hand muting, as well as moveable chord patterns. Workshop content is mostly based around the style of Roy Smeck and Johnny Marvin.
Find Your Sound with Craig Chee
Every Musician has their own voice, and this class will help you create yours. Craig will take you through expanding the basics of Hammer ons/Pulls offs, Percussive elements, as well as some right hand techniques to get you on your way. All the techniques taught in this class can be used on any form of music- whether it be Island Pop, Jazz, or Rock and Roll. This is the perfect class for the strummer who is looking to do more than strum. You must be comfortable with your basic chord shapes and be prepared to play a few barre chords.
Take it! Single-note soloing the easy way with Gerald Ross
Have you ever been to a jam session and when it's time to take an instrumental solo everyone looks at you says "take it!"? We will learn what to do when that situation arises. It's not as difficult or scary as you may think. You can do it! You will be soloing by the end of this workshop – guaranteed!
Bye Bye Blues with Marcy Marxer
Learn one of Roy Smeck’s biggest hits just the way he taught it to Marcy – by ear! We’ll learn!
The focus will be on playing a show-stopping tune learned the old fashioned way, by ear.
Doo-Wop 'Til You Drop with Sarah Maisel
This class focuses on popular progressions, including Doo-Wop, Blues, and Pop. With those we will also discuss holding the instrument, barre chords, and creating efficiency while playing. It’s a perfect class for the beginner ‘ukulele player, but even advanced players will learn some cool tricks.