‘The Mighty Uke’ plays in Grass Valley tonight
“The Mighty Uke” – a documentary on the worldwide ukulele rage that was filmed partly in Nevada County – premiers in Grass Valley at 7 p.m. today.
Local bands The Strum Bums and Cool Hand Uke and the Enablers will perform before and after the showing of the film, which is on a nationwide tour.
Two years ago, Canadian documentary filmmakers Tony and Margie Coleman set out to capture the renewed interest in the tiny ukulele. In the course of their journey, they discovered Dan Scanlan, known in the ukulele world as “Cool Hand Uke,” and he introduced them to the Strum Bums ukulele band of Grass Valley.
The Strum Bums began 10 years ago as a class for seniors at the Nevada County Community Center. It evolved into a hard-working band that performs at least once a week at retirement homes, schools and other community events.
“What Dan Scanlan has done in Grass Valley is testament to the amazing power of the tiny uke to bring together and rejuvenate communities,” said Tony Coleman. “More and more people all over the world are discovering that what they considered a goofy, silly little toy is actually a very powerful tool for bringing people of all ages and ethnicities together through the power of playing music.”
Also showing tonight is a short documentary, “The Strum Bums of Grass Valley, California,” including Scanlan’s workshops and performances at the International Ukulele Ceilidh in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, where he met the Colemans.
The event starts at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 410 S. Church St., Grass Valley. Admission is $10. (For a preview of “The Mighty Uke” visit http://www.mightyukemovie.com.) For more information, call (530) 477-7393.
The Strum Bums and Cool Hand Uke and the Enablers is a four-piece combo that includes Scanlan on ukulele and vocals, Carol Meals on percussion and vocals, Adam Heilbrun on clarinet, sax, harmonica and whistle, and Richard Tewes on bass.
The Strum Bums meet for rehearsal and class from 3 to 5 p.m. every Thursday at the Masonic Lodge in Grass Valley. All ages are welcome to join the class and perform with them at their gigs. Scanlan can be reached at (530) 477-7393.
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