ABE LAGRIMAS, JR TRIO

2020 FEATURED ARTISTS

NEAL CHIN

VICTORIA VOX

JAMES HILL

BRITTNI PAIVA

BAKITHI KUMALO

James Hill has made a career as an award-winning ukulele player and songwriter, an artist who "gives the ukulele its dignity back without ever taking himself too seriously" (Songlines).  How does a kid from Canada become what the Honolulu Star-Bulletin calls a “rare peer” of Hawaii’s premier ukulele players? James grew up nearly three thousand miles east of Honolulu in the town of Langley, British Columbia, where ukulele instruction has been mandatory in many schools since the late 1970s. To his fourth grade classmates, the ukulele was a means to an end, a way for them to dip their toes into the vast ocean of music. For James, the uke was a sea of possibilities unto itself and inside its tiny wooden shell he saw his life in music. He was hooked. A singer, songwriter, educator and virtuoso instrumentalist, James Hill is a man on a musical mission.  It's a mission that reaches beyond the concert stage and into communities, homes and classrooms around the world.  After all, when the applause fades and the stage goes dark you can still hear the sound of ukuleles strumming happily into the night...


Victoria Vox is an 'ukulele-toting award-winning songwriter and performer. With a passion for songwriting since she was 10, (first on keyboard, then on guitar), she studied at the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) and in 2003, she took up the ukulele as her main accompaniment. Her acoustic music style shifted to chanson tinged with jazz, which, over the years, has settled in nicely with her pop songwriting flair.  She loves to make an audience laugh...and cry. Her songs are genuine, sometimes quirky, spanning a wide array of emotions. Since the release of her first ukulele album in 2006 (... and her Jumping Flea), Vox has been one of the leading songwriters on the ukulele scene, featured on the covers of Ukulele Magazine (U.S.) and Uke Mag (U.K.). She has been on festival line ups with other top-notch ukers: James Hill, Daniel Ho, Jake Shimabukuro, Brittni Paiva, and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. However, she straddles into the folk scene as well, where she has opened for Jackson Browne, Tom Chapin, Leo Kottke, and Cheryl Wheeler.


Brittni Paiva, a multi award-winning instrumentalist, is known for her stunning articulation of what she can do on the ukulele. Brittni and her ukulele are a brilliant match: Both are humble in nature, small in size, and very powerful with proper delivery. Brittni and the ukulele in general have gained notoriety, no longer confined by stereotypes about the instrument. There’s a global resurgence in the instrument’s popularity and she is part of the trend. Brittni is well-known in world music circles with millions of hits on YouTube. She has performed on stage with Carlos Santana when he appeared in Hawaii and has also joined famed guitarist Tommy Emmanuel on stage at the California Worldfest; she has become a 3-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner with numerous other awards and nominations throughout the years, including Most Promising Artist of the Year in 2005 for her debut release, Brittni x 3.


As a solo ukulele artist, Abe Lagrimas is a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award recipient and has released multiple albums in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Abe has been featured at ukulele festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs, Reno, Chicago, New York, and Hawaii. His international performances include Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Great Britain, and toured extensively throughout China having performed in twelve cities. Abe is also an educator and has authored the first ever ukulele curriculum for instrumental music programs in schools titled “Ukulele Ensemble, Beginning Ukulele - Level 1”published by Consonus Music Institute. His latest book "Jazz Ukulele: Comping, Soloing, Chord Melodies" (Berklee Press & Hal Leonard) is available in stores worldwide and on Amazon.


Bakithi Kumalo's musical career has been characterized by a series of serendipitous events, ranging from his debut gig as a precocious seven-year-old filling in for the bassist in his uncle's band to his enlistment into Paul Simon's group during the recording sessions of the pop star's landmark Graceland album in 1985. Bakithi creates a singular electric fretless bass sound teeming with double stops that sound like human voices and the African grooves of his homeland, which has garnered him a stellar reputation as a sideman. In addition to touring with Simon, he's also recorded and/or toured with Gloria Estefan, Derrick Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Chico Ceasar, Laurie Anderson, Gerald Albright, Miriam Makeba, Randy Brecker, Grover Washington Jr., Bob James, Angelique Kidjo, Jon Secada, Josh Groban and Chris Botti.


Ukulollo is Lorenzo Vignando, an Italian Ukulele player from Lucca, Tuscany. He is an ambassador of Ukulele’s for Peace, the wonderful project run by Paul Moore which gathers together Jewish and Arab Children into a Ukulele orchestra in the state of Israel. He Plays Ohana Ukuleles with aquila strings.


Danilo Vignola has performed over 500 concerts for ukulele in the last six years across Europe, America and China. His ethno-anthropological style has won him various academic awards from conservatories and music academies including Best Electric Ukulele Technique for his “Fingers of Fury” and Best Innovative Artist in Italy for "Ukulele Revolver", an instrumental record for classic and electric ukulele.


Award winning artist and Maui, HI native Neal Chin, has been both an ‘ukulele educator and performer over the course of his musical career of 19 years. His clear and direct enthusiasm for music has come to life in countless workshops, concerts, and private instruction. While his heart is in jazz, Neal has played with many musicians of different genres including Hawaiian, folk, rock, and hip-hop. His contribution to the collective The Akira Project, won his first Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award in 2014 before moving up to the Pacific Northwest. Since then he has been nominated for the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for ‘Ukulele Album of the Year two years consecutively for ‘Ukulele Paintings and The Spotless Mind in 2017 & 2018, started his own ‘ukulele practice in the Pacific Northwest, and has toured from Vancouver Island BC to Milwaukee to his home state, Hawai’i. Neal currently lives, teaches, and performs in Seattle, WA.


Cynthia Lin is the creator of the #100DaysofUkuleleSongs project whose YouTube channel has helped hundreds of thousands of people across the world to discover the joy of ukulele. As a singer-songwriter, Cynthia has released 7 album recordings independently, with her recent albums Ukulele Days and Cozy Christmas hitting the Billboard charts in their first week of release. She performs regularly solo, with a jazz and uke combo, and with her acclaimed Bay Area band, Cynthia Lin and the Blue Moon All Stars.


Marlowe Teichman, better known as MARLOWE, is originally from Haslett, MI, currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. Influenced by artists such as Jake Shimabukuro, Kalei Gamiao, and Kris Fuchigami, MARLOWE has been performing and recording as an ukulele artist for 8 years, performing a collection of covers and originals spanning from light orchestral arrangements, to exciting and obscure compositions. MARLOWE has been a headliner at the Mighty Uke Day festival held in Old Town Lansing, MI, the Los Angeles International Ukulele Festival in Torrance, CA, and the Newkulele Festival in Newcastle, Australia. her recent release "Moments" was recently nominated for Hawaiian EP of the Year at the 2019 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards as well as recognized on the preliminary ballots for Contemporary Instrumental Album and Composition for the 2020 GRAMMYs.


Bernadette Plazola is a YouTuber from Imperial Valley, California who started her ukulele YouTube channel, Bernadette Teaches Music, while she was teaching elementary music in Okinawa, Japan, creating instructional music videos for teachers and students. Bernadette has a Master of Arts degree in Education, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a teaching credential. Bernadette graduated from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. Now approaching 200,000 subscribers, her channel has inspired many people around the world to start playing ukulele.


Mitch Chang was born and raised in Honolulu and is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i music program where he studied classical guitar under the direction of Lisa Smith. A former student of the legendary Pepe Romero, Smith introduced Mitchell to flamenco guitar and he has provided accompaniment for various flamenco dance classes, workshops and performances throughout Hawai’i and Los Angeles. A former student of legendary jazz ukulele musician Bill Tapia, Mitch is well known as an ‘ukulele teacher and performer throughout Los Angeles. Mitch is the Creator and Producer of the L.A. International Ukulele Festival, Los Angeles Guitar Festival, Southern California Slack Key Festival, and Los Angeles Flamenco Festival.


Additional Performances


Kolohe Ukulele Club was formed in 2000 in Huntington Beach and has performed at the Southern California Ukulele Festival, the Tiki Beach Fest in Belmont Shore, the Asian & Pacific Islander Council Banquets, the San Dimas Ho'Olaule'a, Aloha-Cruz Island Beach Shows, Bob's Ohana Hawaiian Style Restaurant, Roy Sakuma Ukulele Festival in Hawaii and for many'a Lu'au, Halau performances, festivals, & other functions.


Waikiki Escuela de Ukuelele Joining us all the way from Peru, members of the school perform songs featuring Peruvian rhythms and sounds


UKULOLLO

MARLOWE

MITCH CHANG

BERNADETTE PLAZOLA

DANILO VIGNOLA

UKULENNY

CYNTHIA LIN