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A ukulele boom, a tsunami of uke popularity, a Hawaiian-style kanikapila on an international scale – whatever you call it, there’s a whole lot of ukeing going on in the world right now. Sales are surging, children are more likely to pick up a ukulele at school than a recorder, and your average Joe is becoming a musical master. Why? Perhaps because of how easy it is to play, or how light it is to carry around, or maybe it’s even because of its serious versatility. Whatever it is that’s drawing people to the uke, the mighty little instrument is taking over America, and Houston, Texas is welcoming it with open arms.
The town synonymous with space and science (the first spoken word from the moon was “Houston”) is also home to plenty of ukulele enthusiasts. Houkulele, a growing, active group of players in Houston meet regularly to sing, strum and learn new songs. The club welcomes new members of any age of experience level and encourages those who have yet to learn a single chord to join. According to their website, the group strives to be welcoming, friendly and fun while helping members grow as both players and enthusiasts. Houkulele’s primary web presence and communication hub can be found on Facebook, where current and potential members can find all necessary info on meet-ups, song lists and locations.
The club often takes part in charitable events, so if you’re looking to make a difference while delving into your uke obsession, Houkulele is where you want to be. In May 2018, the group took part in a month-long fundraiser campaign in support of Red Nose Day, an annual drive to fight childhood poverty. Visitors joined members for music and a silent auction to fundraise – no cover, plenty of ukuleles!
And if you’re not one to miss an event, Houkulele has your back there too. The group often posts news of upcoming events and festivals on their website (like Peter Moss, the UK’s famous ukulele and banjolele player).
Looking to meet more like-minded uke enthusiasts? Or maybe you want to indulge in your UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome). While Houston doesn’t have an annual ukulele festival, its sister city Kerrville does.
You can’t get much deeper into the heart of Texas than Kerrville. This Hill Country city is an hour drive northwest of San Antonio, and its claim to fame is the Kerrville Folk Festival. For the last 45 years, the festival has been an annual 17-day-long event for both beginner and professional musicians. But for the last six years, the Kerrville Folk Festival has accepted a new instrument into its family: The Ukulele.
The ukulele truly is taking over America, and Texas loves it.
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