Hundreds of musicians participate in Albuquerque Ukulele festival

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The sounds of the islands have made their way to the Land of Enchantment.

Hundreds of ukulele players are gathering in Albuquerque for a weekend of strumming and singing. 

Every ukulele player starts with the same note. 

“The first chord that everyone learns is a C,” said instructor Jim Beloff 

From there, seasoned uke players say it’s easy to add on.

“By the time you have two chords you can play a lot of songs on the ukulele honestly,” said Craig McClelland.

After that strumming comes naturally.

Friday, about 100 ukulele players gathered to hone their craft at Albuquerque’s Fifth Annual Ukulele Festival.

They’ll spend the entire weekend taking classes ranging from basic strumming, to uke power chords and songwriting. Uke players say the Hawaiian instrument is enjoying a revival. 

“This instrument is riding a crest right now and the sky’s the limit for what it can accomplish,” Beloff said.

The guitar-like instrument has four strings instead of six.

“It’s exactly 1/3 easier to play than a guitar,” Beloff said.

Uke player and instructor Jim Beloff says the ukulele helps people disconnect from a wired world, and reconnect to a simpler time.

“Everyone is buried in our iPhones and their television and their computer, plugging in everywhere,” Beloff said.

“It harkens on an era in the country where people use to gather around the weekends with their families and make music,” Beloff said.

Friday night there will be a ukulele concert at the African-American Performing Arts Center. That event is open to the public.

The Ukulele Fest wraps up Sunday afternoon.
 

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