While touring historical sites in Bali in 2016, I found a surprisingly playable uke for just $6 dollars!

How it all began

While going to university in Bellingham I became attracted to the wispy, mellow tone of the ukulele. Unlike the guitar, the uke was not intimidating and is extremely portable, and it was different! I found one at a great value and next thing I know, I was hooked. Without purposely trying to so... I somehow managed to accumulate 10 ukuleles since then, from luthier handmade-to-order to a $6 dollar souvenir shop purchase in Bali.

Sam Kamaka Jr. giving a daily tour at the Kamaka factory in 2013

Even though I've strummed the uke among friends and families over the years, I've mostly practiced and played at home, learning from the many YouTube videos out there. It wasn't until while I was strumming my newest ukulele in the beginning of 2017 did I realized that I have never once played with another uke player in the last 10 years of playing the instrument.

Alvin "Pops" and Pat "Moms" Okami showing me around at the KoAloha factory in 2013. I even got to play the smallest playable ukulele in the world!

I became curious with what the uke community is like here in Seattle, so I began connecting with people and getting together at jam sessions. Not only have I been so very warmly received by the people I've met, I've also discovered a whole range of songs that I never knew were so playable on the uke! At the same time, I recognized, along with some folks, that there are still some limitations with the existing format and traditions at our get-togethers, as well as overall accessibility of these sessions to everyone in the community.

Weekly song circle at the Edmonds Senior Center. Alma and Uncle Danny are among the fierce leaders at this get-together

Don and Laurel are my usual table-mates. Don didn't start playing the uke til he was in his seventies. I sometimes look over at his finger positions when I don't know how to play a chord, no joke.

Uke Society has a strong focus on absolute beginners as well as putting new refreshing twists on traditional song circles so there's something for everyone

 

1. Small group size

A smaller group size of around 10 people is more conducive for learning and interacting. Join and play as your schedule allows; meet as often or as little as you'd like. We'll play The Beatles, Jack Johnson, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Lumineers, Sam Smith, and pretty much anything else you enjoy, and definitely, some Hawaiian. Teach or recommend a song you've been working on with your friends you meet at the session!

2. Modern venues

Rotating lineup of cozy and fun locations all around town specially arranged for Uke Society sessions means you can attend without traveling far.

3. Perform & teach

Uke Society is founded on the idea of community support - There's opportunities for anyone who wishes to take the spotlight and perform in front of a supporting audience; kind of like an ukulele open mic for a group of 10 or so fellow ukulele enthusiasts. It's a great way to share your inspiration and techniques as well as learning new ones yourself!

4. Community service

Regular service opportunities to give back in our community such as visiting hospital and cancer clinics

How it all began

While going to university in Bellingham I became attracted to the wispy, mellow tone of the ukulele. Unlike the guitar, the uke was not intimidating and is extremely portable, and it was different! I found one at a great value and next thing I know, I was hooked. Without purposely trying to so... I somehow managed to accumulate 10 ukuleles since then, from luthier handmade-to-order to a $6 dollar souvenir shop purchase in Bali.

Sam Kamaka Jr. giving a daily tour at the Kamaka factory in 2013

Even though I've strummed the uke among friends and families over the years, I've mostly practiced and played at home, learning from the many YouTube videos out there. It wasn't until while I was strumming my newest ukulele in the beginning of 2017 did I realized that I have never once played with another uke player in the last 10 years of playing the instrument.

Alvin "Pops" and Pat "Moms" Okami showing me around at the KoAloha factory in 2013. I even got to play the smallest playable ukulele in the world!

I became curious with what the uke community is like here in Seattle, so I began connecting with people and getting together at jam sessions. Not only have I been so very warmly received by the people I've met, I've also discovered a whole range of songs that I never knew were so playable on the uke! At the same time, I recognized, along with some folks, that there are still some limitations with the existing format and traditions at our get-togethers, as well as overall accessibility of these sessions to everyone in the community.

Weekly song circle at the Edmonds Senior Center. Alma and Uncle Danny are among the fierce leaders at this get-together

Don and Laurel are my usual table-mates. Don didn't start playing the uke til he was in his seventies. I sometimes look over at his finger positions when I don't know how to play a chord, no joke.

Uke Society has a strong focus on absolute beginners as well as putting new refreshing twists on traditional song circles so there's something for everyone

 

1. Small group size

A smaller group size of around 10 people is more conducive for learning and interacting. Join and play as your schedule allows; meet as often or as little as you'd like. We'll play The Beatles, Jack Johnson, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Lumineers, Sam Smith, and pretty much anything else you enjoy, and definitely, some Hawaiian. Teach or recommend a song you've been working on with your friends you meet at the session!

2. Modern venues

Rotating lineup of cozy and fun locations all around town specially arranged for Uke Society sessions means you can attend without traveling far.

3. Perform & teach

Uke Society is founded on the idea of community support - There's opportunities for anyone who wishes to take the spotlight and perform in front of a supporting audience; kind of like an ukulele open mic for a group of 10 or so fellow ukulele enthusiasts. It's a great way to share your inspiration and techniques as well as learning new ones yourself!

4. Community service

Regular service opportunities to give back in our community such as visiting hospital and cancer clinics