Me and uke and everyone we know

An Unusual Evening of Alternative Ukulele



Since the first ukulele string made its inaugural “plunk” in the late 1800s, the instrument’s popularity has seen booms and busts. It burst forth from its native Hawaii and became a light, portable stable accessory for many American Tin Pan Alley performers. It had another renaissance in the ‘50s, but the ‘60s washed it from the American radar with a glass of electric Kool-Aid. Still, the little instrument was patient, hiding out through the eras of Hendrix, buttrock and grunge until it saw emo-indie-ambient come along, and boom: The uke was back, elevating songwriters like Sacramento’s very own ukulele darling Ricky Berger above the “experimental” music din.

To celebrate the ukulele’s third renaissance, Cozmic Café is hosting An Unusual Evening of Alternative Ukulele. Guests will enjoy Rock That Uke, a film produced and co-directed by Sacramento’s own William Preston Robertson. Rock explores the modern, experimental ukulele subculture with questions like: “Is there a ukulele personality?” and “What compels someone to amplify and distort this little instrument to play loud, aggressive music?” If these questions don’t already hint at it, Rock considers its namesake instrument to be oh-so-much more than four strings of sound. “It’s a state of mind.”

Following the film, Australian ukulele player Rose Turtle Ertler, a.k.a. the Electric Ukulele Lady, will perform her modern reinterpretation of the instrument, playing both acoustic and electric songs.