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Ukuleles popular on the Coast

Ukuleles popular on the Coast

P 9 ukelele groups pic 2

Graham Walker, in the red checked shirt, leads a sing-a-long at the Gumboot Cafe in Roberts Creek. Playing along on their ukuleles are, from left, Anne Burns, Errol Lipschitz and Mark Trevis. Donna McMahon photo

With their high pitched twang and diminutive size, ukuleles may seem like the pekingese of musical instruments. But in recent years they’ve enjoyed a revival in popularity right across North America. And Roberts Creek musician Graham Walker has discovered that they are the gateway drug to stringed instruments.

Walker has been a professional musician for 30 years, playing guitar and giving lessons. One day he brought home a ukulele and discovered that the small size made it much more manageable for children. It’s also easier to learn, as it has a similar chord pattern to a guitar, with two fewer strings.

“It’s a very friendly instrument,” said Walker. “And I found it was way better for adults, too.”

Ukuleles are easy to schlep (“you can play them in the front seat of a car,” said Walker) and affordable. Student models start around $100. On the Sunshine Coast they are sold at WOW Art Gallery in Gibsons, Melomania in Roberts Creek and Strait Music in Sechelt.

Walker is now running ukulele groups in Gibsons and Roberts Creek, and also holds ukulele singalongs at Christensen Village once a week.

Intermediate ukulele classes run on Monday nights, beginner classes are on Tuesday nights, and everyone’s invited to a monthly meet-up at the Gumboot Cafe on second Thursday evenings of the month, whether they have an instrument or not.

“The songs we pick are the kind you just can’t resist joining in on,” said Walker.

The ukulele curious are invited to contact grahamwalker@dccnet.com.

Donna McMahon

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