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Playing ukuleles together is magic

“George Harrison used to carry two ukuleles everywhere, because people always wanted to play with him.”

The pros onstage help make the rest sound good
The pros onstage help make the rest sound good

This is my friend Ronda’s idea.

“Come on down! Sneaky Tiki Ukulele night! Fast Times! Clairemont Drive. Bring your uke!”

Except in the end, flu hits her and she isn’t going to be plucking no strings this night.

Past Event

Sneaky Tiki Ukulele Jam & Social Club

  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 7 p.m.
  • Fast Times, 3065 Clairemont Drive, San Diego

I go anyway. Fact is, the uke was my first instrument as a kid, and I was really bummed when my parents came home with a guitar one Christmas. Tonight, I’m figuring redemption. Besides, I hear the ukulele is making a comeback. See how IZ, the Duke of Uke, Ka’anoí Kamakawiwo’ole, turned “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” plus “Wonderful World” into that sexy ukulele hit!

Mindy and her pet uke Aquamarine

But it’s a bit of a shock when you actually walk in. The en-tire room’s filled with people of all ages humped over their ukuleles, reading propped up lyrics, books, or iPads, and singing away with a mix of boldness and shyness.

A group of players stands on the stage with big ukes, small ukes, even electric ukes, leading the parade. As I come in, they’re launching into “Can’t Buy Me Love.” I see lots of plunking enthusiasts next to spouses sitting patiently with drinks in their hands. But you can see: this playing together, with an instrument that doesn’t place you naked in the spotlight, is magic.

“I’ve been coming for two months,” says Mindy, a blonde with an aquamarine ukulele. “I always leave happy.”

“It’s like the ocean here,” says Judith, who’s a scuba diver. “You enter with problems and gradually, everything gets better. You’re in another world.”

By day, she’s a marine biologist. Right now, she’s a Beatle.

“Buy you a diamond ring, my friend, if it makes you feel alright.”

The whole room’s belting it out. “I like that ukes are small and only have four strings,” says Dan at the table next door. “Only four notes at a time. That leaves space for voices. San Diego has so many uke groups, you can go to one every night of the week.”

“Say you don’t need no diamond ring and I’ll be satisfied!” A snowy-bearded gent in shorts and bare feet has a good voice. He’s singing to an iPad leaning against his table lamp. This is Dan Pearson, electronic engineer just retired from Qualcomm. “What I love is no-one hears your mistakes. With all these ukuleles, you can hide in the crowd.”

He says he’s not the fanatic some of his pals are. “I have soccer on Thursdays and Saturdays. Down there they say, I’m not as fit as a fiddle, more fit as a ukulele.”

Judith Garfield, plays uke when she’s not underwater

Right now, everyone’s moved on to “Sweet Leilani,” old line Hawaiian. Of course, ukulele’s the ultimate Hawaiian instrument. Uku-lele means “jumping flea” in Hawaiian. Except it’s actually an adaptation of the machete, the mini-guitar Portuguese immigrants brought with them to the sugar fields back in the day.

And if you don’t have one? “Come anyway,” says Dan, “Someone will have a spare. George Harrison used to carry two ukuleles everywhere, because people always wanted to play with him. That’s what ukes are about.”

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The pros onstage help make the rest sound good
The pros onstage help make the rest sound good

This is my friend Ronda’s idea.

“Come on down! Sneaky Tiki Ukulele night! Fast Times! Clairemont Drive. Bring your uke!”

Except in the end, flu hits her and she isn’t going to be plucking no strings this night.

Past Event

Sneaky Tiki Ukulele Jam & Social Club

  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 7 p.m.
  • Fast Times, 3065 Clairemont Drive, San Diego

I go anyway. Fact is, the uke was my first instrument as a kid, and I was really bummed when my parents came home with a guitar one Christmas. Tonight, I’m figuring redemption. Besides, I hear the ukulele is making a comeback. See how IZ, the Duke of Uke, Ka’anoí Kamakawiwo’ole, turned “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” plus “Wonderful World” into that sexy ukulele hit!

Mindy and her pet uke Aquamarine

But it’s a bit of a shock when you actually walk in. The en-tire room’s filled with people of all ages humped over their ukuleles, reading propped up lyrics, books, or iPads, and singing away with a mix of boldness and shyness.

A group of players stands on the stage with big ukes, small ukes, even electric ukes, leading the parade. As I come in, they’re launching into “Can’t Buy Me Love.” I see lots of plunking enthusiasts next to spouses sitting patiently with drinks in their hands. But you can see: this playing together, with an instrument that doesn’t place you naked in the spotlight, is magic.

“I’ve been coming for two months,” says Mindy, a blonde with an aquamarine ukulele. “I always leave happy.”

“It’s like the ocean here,” says Judith, who’s a scuba diver. “You enter with problems and gradually, everything gets better. You’re in another world.”

By day, she’s a marine biologist. Right now, she’s a Beatle.

“Buy you a diamond ring, my friend, if it makes you feel alright.”

The whole room’s belting it out. “I like that ukes are small and only have four strings,” says Dan at the table next door. “Only four notes at a time. That leaves space for voices. San Diego has so many uke groups, you can go to one every night of the week.”

“Say you don’t need no diamond ring and I’ll be satisfied!” A snowy-bearded gent in shorts and bare feet has a good voice. He’s singing to an iPad leaning against his table lamp. This is Dan Pearson, electronic engineer just retired from Qualcomm. “What I love is no-one hears your mistakes. With all these ukuleles, you can hide in the crowd.”

He says he’s not the fanatic some of his pals are. “I have soccer on Thursdays and Saturdays. Down there they say, I’m not as fit as a fiddle, more fit as a ukulele.”

Judith Garfield, plays uke when she’s not underwater

Right now, everyone’s moved on to “Sweet Leilani,” old line Hawaiian. Of course, ukulele’s the ultimate Hawaiian instrument. Uku-lele means “jumping flea” in Hawaiian. Except it’s actually an adaptation of the machete, the mini-guitar Portuguese immigrants brought with them to the sugar fields back in the day.

And if you don’t have one? “Come anyway,” says Dan, “Someone will have a spare. George Harrison used to carry two ukuleles everywhere, because people always wanted to play with him. That’s what ukes are about.”

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Dee-Lish. I mean, an exceptional combo of tastes.
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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