For years, we have serviced Albuquerque and all regional areas of New Mexico State with our quality instruments and accessories.
Think of Albuquerque, New Mexico and one might imagine Wile E. Coyote, gorgeous vistas, and a whole lot of desert. If you recall from your cartoon-watching days, it’s also the place where Bugs Bunny really should have taken that left.
But the high-elevation city has more to it than just sand and animated animals: It boasts a rich history and an established arts scene, too.
While the ukulele community in Albuquerque is quite new, it’s fast becoming one of the most established in the U.S. Just four years ago, the city had its first ukulele festival. Christened the Albuquerque Ukekopelli Festival by its creator, Gary Wells, the event energized the ukulele community in New Mexico.
If you play the ukulele, want to learn how to play the four-stringed instrument, or know someone who does, mark your calendar for September of every year and head over to Albuquerque’s Ukekopelli Festival. The three-day event kicks off with a Friday evening concert that changes theme each year. 2016’s theme was - quite fittingly - an “island music” theme. In 2018, the theme will be “comic books and super heros”.
All-day workshops feature nationally touring instructors like Lil Rev, Hiedi Swedberg, Daniel Ward, Sid Hauseman and Washtub Jerry. During each workshop time slot, several classes will be presented tailored to the level player for which they are most appropriate. Learners have the ability to take seven classes in each skill level, allowing participants to customize their ukulele learning experience.
Don’t have a ukulele? You can buy one there. Have a ukulele? Then you probably know that it’s impossible to have just one. To help with UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome), local music stores will be on hand to help you choose your next uke. And if you’re lucky, you may even get yours for free. The festival will be drawing for a number of ukuleles and other goodies.
In addition to the myriad of vendors and workshops, the Albuquerque Ukekopelli Festival also boasts a variety of concerts, food stalls, and performances – like a dance from the students of the Desert Stars Polynesia Hula dance studio. Aloha!
Still have ukulele fever even after the three-day celebration? Don’t worry; Albuquerque is also home to several uke clubs. The city’s Intro To Uke class gets together once a week at the North Valley Senior Center to teach holding, the basics of strumming, chords, songs, and plenty of fun. Ukuleles are required, but if you don’t have one, the club can provide one for you.
Albuquerque’s public libraries also hold a number of club meetings and classes. Beginners can find where to start at Erna Fergusson Library while uke devotees can get together for jam sessions at Juan Tabo Library. More information about when and where the events take place can be found on the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Public Library website.
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