That little four-stringed instrument associated with whimsical island music seems to be in its renaissance. It could be its non-intimidating size or perhaps its pleasing ease to pick up and pick out a tune. The Chicago Ukulele Cabaret is taking its bi-monthly cabaret to new levels this weekend with the first Great Midwest Ukefest, promising “traditional to extreme and everything in-between.”
“My co-founder, Mike Simons, was inspired by a show he saw in New York called the Ukulele Cabaret, a very free-wheeling open mic that went for hours and hours,” Tony Bianchi, co-founder of the Chicago Ukulele Cabaret says.
The Ukefest is expanding this cabaret, honoring the regular acts at the open mics with a full set. Each curated act will play about ten songs, a 35-40 minute set.
“For some people that will be no problem, but for some that’s the longest they’ve ever played,” Bianchi says. “We want to encourage people to go as far as they want to go.”
There will be eight hours of live music which begins with a two-hour open-mic slot, barbecue and raffles, with proceeds going to the Intonation Music Workshop, a nonprofit that empowers children through innovative music education.
“It’s a very easy instrument to pick up, as a gateway string instrument,” Bianchi says. “It’s great for people who want to play and want to perform but are intimidated by the guitar.” (Lindsey Kratochwill)
August 22, 2pm-10pm, Chief O’Neill’s Pub and Restaurant, 3471 North Elston. $10.