1st Philippine Ukelele Festival
About the Event
While stringed instruments are famous amongst Filipino music lovers, the ukulele is seldom played in the country due to its scarcity. Music stores in the Philippines offer limited options for ukulele enthusiasts; most of the time, only the basic types of ukulele are sold and only one or two brands are carried by selected stores, leaving customers frustrated.
Thus, the country’s first all-ukulele shop was born. Having opened last November 2012 at The Collective in Makati City, Ukulele Philippines not only offers high-quality instruments, but it also gives every Filipino the opportunity to appreciate and create wonderful music using this beautiful 19th century piece of art.
The shop boasts of ukuleles in various shapes, sizes and designs from different authentic ukulele-makers throughout Europe, US, and Asia. Well-known international brands available at Ukulele Philippines include Anuenue, Hulala, Lanikai, Magic Fluke and Flea Ukulele, Kamoa, Eleuke, Bugs Gear, Mahalo, Kala, Makala, Diamond Head, Deviser, and Luna. It also offers models from local brands, such as Harana Ukulele, Susing’s, Chestone, and Ferangeli.
In line with its mission-vision of spreading the “HUV” (Happy Ukulele Virus) and increasing awareness on the instrument, Ukulele Philippines will be holding the country’s first Ukulele Festival this October. The idea came about after several jams and talks between Ukulele Philippines and the Ukulele Underground Philippines (UUP), who have deemed it high time to bring the love for the ukulele to the next level. The 3-day event kicks off with the Festival proper on October 25 at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall, followed by an intimate dinner concert on October 26 at Buddha Bar in Kalayaan Avenue, Makati, and ends with a Ukulele Workshop on October 27.
The Festival will feature performances by several of the world’s best ukulele players as well as our very own virtuosos. Five international artists will be headlining the event: Aldrine Guerrero,Kalei Gamiao and Derick Sebastian from Hawaii, USA; Kyas Ryo from Japan; and Apirak Sirinanthakul from Thailand.
Aldrine Guerrero (Hawaii, USA)
Originally from the Philippines, Aldrine started out by playing in local gigs at Kauai coffee shops and churches, and eventually graduated to holding onstage performances across the US and beyond. To date, Aldrine's style of ukulele has achieved global recognition through live performances and online streaming, with his YouTube channel gaining 28,000 subscribers and over 7million views. His work has been featured in various local radio and television programs, as well as in a major animated film, “Hotel Transylvania.” The Kauai native is also one of the founding fathers of Ukulele Underground alongside
Aaron Nakamura and Ryan Esaki.
Kalei Gamiao (Hawaii, USA)
Award-winning ukulele master, Herb Ohta, Jr., summed it up best when he declared, “Kalei’s music and ukulele prowess will take the ukulele to new heights!” Hailing from Hawaii’s sleepy North Shore town of Haleiwa, Kalei has captivated the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide with his ability to create incredibly rich and diverse sounds.
He has been at the forefront of today’s ukulele revolution since 2008 when his debut album, “Contemporary Ukulele,” kicked up the demand for performances in the US, Japan and Thailand. He has since founded the largest ukulele community dedicated to learning new techniques, www.uketheory.com.
Derick Sebastian (Hawaii, USA)
Through faith and hard work, Maui-born Derick Sebastian continues to live his dream as an accomplished ukulele virtuoso. Derick's critically acclaimed instrumental album, “From His Heard,” earned him a Na Hoku Hanohano 2010 nomination. He has shared the stage with fellow ukulele ace Jake Simabukuro and opened for R&B sensation Brian McKnight, with notable performances for PIXAR Animation Studios, ABC's “Grey's Anatomy,” Major League Baseball team Arizona Diamondbacks, and various PGA, ESPN and EA SPORTS events. Just recently, Derick broke into the Hollywood scene, having composed the theme song of the movie “Life's An Itch.”
Despite his many accomplishments, Derick is humble and stays true to himself; he continues to dedicate his life to inspiring people through his music, and make a global impact with the pure sounds he evokes through the ukulele.
Kyas Ryo (Japan)
A natural multi-instrumentalist, Kyas began playing piano at the age of three and guitar at the age of 14 with The Beatles as his musical influence. At 23, he acquired a Yamaha teacher's license and started to teach electric and acoustic guitar. Shortly after, he picked up a ukulele at music store Opus and practiced six hours a day, which eventually led him to win an award for the best technical skill in the Kiwaya Ukulele Contest 2007 in Japan.
Kyas has performed at the 40th Ukulele Festival Hawaii in 2010 and at the Thailand Ukulele Festival in March 2011. Last year, he released his first solo album, “Natural Flow.”
Apirak Sirinanthakul (Thailand)
Apirak is one of the fast-rising ukulele talents in Thailand. Backed by Ribbee Ukulele Company, he is well-known for his instrumental compositions and some covers.
The Bangkok native has participated in several ukulele festivals, both locally and abroad. He recently performed at the Super Ukulele Jam 2013 in Japan with Aldrine Guerrero, Kalei Gamiao and other international ukulele artists.
Rounding up the stellar roster of featured ukulele artists are Filipino-American stage and film actress Jennifer Blair-Bianco, indie singer/songwriter Manskee Nascimiento, and young up-and-comer Kai Honasan.
More than just a music shop, Ukulele Philippines is a rapidly growing community that aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the ukulele among Filipinos, and to foster camaraderie among ukulele enthusiasts, artists, hobbyists, and music lovers of all ages. For a taste of things to come, the group has several fun pre-festival activities lined up for the coming weeks. Ukulele Philippines and UUP will also stage a Grandparents’ Day tribute concert, entitled “Grow Old With Uke,” on September 8, 2013, from 2pm to 9pm at the SM Mall of Asia Veranda. One can also check out the Friday Uke Jam music sessions at the Ukulele Philippines Shop from 7pm onwards.
A pre-festival Promo Tour, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Ukulele Sessions will run for the whole month of October, with the support of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, to be held at the following branches:
Greenbelt 3 05-Oct Saturday 7pm-10pm
Adriatico 11-Oct Friday 7pm-10pm
ATC 12-Oct Saturday 7pm-10pm
University Mall 17-Oct Thursday 7pm-10pm
Greenhills Promenade 18-Oct Friday 8pm-11pm
Net Lima 19-Oct Saturday 10am-11am
Apart from these, Ukulele Philippines and Ukulele Underground Philippines present The Ukulele Philippines Masters Workshop. A four-session workshop conducted by Aldrine Guerrero and Derick Sebastian; and Kalei Gamiao and Kyas Ryo at the Opera Haus in Palanan, Makati City on October 27, 2013.
Lastly, Ukulele Philippines will be launching “The Ukulele Project” in cooperation with Bratpack and UUP, which will raise funds for the Philippine Ukulele Festival.
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