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THE BROOKLYN UKULELE SCENE
Brooklyn Brings Ukulele Passion To New York
If there’s one city that every ukulele enthusiast would expect to shine during this current uke popularity boom, it’s New York. From singers and songwriters to drummers and violinists, the Land of Opportunity is brimming with musical talent – and now it can add ukulele virtuosos to its list.
The borough of Brooklyn, in particular, is full of clubs, meetups and events dedicated to the mighty little string instrument. Brooklyn Uke Night is for everyone and anyone who wants to play the ukulele. The group strums, shares songs and encourages members to make friends with Uke Night’s other uke enthusiasts. The monthly gathering takes place on the fourth Thursday of every month at The Douglass and costs $5 per person. The venue is a quaint local bar with excellent pub grub and a lovely back room where the group meets.
Uke Night promises an evening of fun and open atmosphere, good cheer, good tunes and good beer. The first hour and a half of each meeting is reserved for a sing and strum along, while everything after that is open mic and more singing. Those who come without a ukulele will usually find one or two extras hanging around.
Another group, the Clinton Hill Ukulele Social Club also welcomes members of every skill level. While the group hasn’t posted about meetings recently, they used to meet on the first and third Saturday of every month and would often hold jams in different locations, like Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park and local bar Baby Jane.
If you’re looking to expand your uke community beyond Brooklyn (but still nearby), The New York City Ukulele Meetup Group meets in different locations regularly, never more than a 30 minute drive from Brooklyn. The group meets to play, teach, learn and talk ukulele and is welcome to suggestions on where and when to meet. Members are also encouraged to suggest “field trips” to uke events and festivals. Don’t have experience? Come anyway. The New York City Ukulele Meetup Group welcomes players of all skill – after all, the best way to learn is by playing with others!
The group often meets at Pearl Studios at 500 8th Avenue (a 30-minute drive from central Brooklyn) for jams and open mics. Ukulele Cabarets take place at the KGB Bar’s Red Room on 85 East 4th Street from 9:30 until 11:00pm on the third Thursday of every month. Performers have included Sonic Uke, J Walter Hawkes, War Ponies, Nick Balaban, Andru Cann, Chris Combs, Carlo Maria and Jason, and Jamie Scandal.
If there’s one New York borough that has done the ukulele boom right, it’s Brooklyn.
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