Ver­sa­tile lit­tle in­stru­ment is at­tract­ing the num­bers

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

‘‘Any­one of any age can play the ukulele,’’ says gui­tarist-turned-ukulele-player-cumteacher, Shane McAlis­ter.

‘‘Put a ukulele in their hands and I’ll teach them three or four chords and a cou­ple of songs in 45 min­utes.’’

He is proof of his word. His youngest pupil is three years of age and his old­est is 91.

Mr McAlis­ter will be ukulele-teacher-in­res­i­dence at the Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments to­mor­row with two sched­uled af­ter­noon work­shops. He would like peo­ple to reg­is­ter by email to give him an idea of num­bers, but also won’t mind if folks just turn up on the day.

‘‘That will be fine as long as they bring a uke with them. I’ve got about 30 of my own but I’ll be grate­ful for any loans. Some­one told me I could get more than 100 peo­ple along at the work­shops – but you just don’t know.’’

He says there has been a big resur­gence with the ukulele, boosted by its ver­sa­til­ity.

‘‘The beauty of a ukulele is that you can take it any­where – put it in your back pocket just about – and you can pick up a really good one for $50, or even less.’’

Athough easy to learn at the ba­sic level, he says the ukulele can be used to per­form in­tri­cate and com­pli­cated com­po­si­tions.

‘‘Peo­ple can be com­plete begin­ners but we’ll have them play­ing and singing to a good rhythm by the end of the ses­sion – and it doesn’t cost any­thing. It’s all part of the fes­ti­val.

‘‘And if they can go away with a song on their lips, a melody in their hearts and able to strum a tune on a ukulele – we’ll be more than happy.’’

McAlis­ter has 700 learn­ers from schools through­out the re­gion and reg­u­larly of­fers ukulele work­shops.

‘‘I re­cently had 130 char­tered ac­coun­tants in one group and then 120 bankers in an­other. Great for team build­ing . . . and they all had a won­der­ful time.’’

World on a string: Ukulele ex­po­nent Shane McAlis­ter lead­ing 100 young­sters in a per­for­mance at Porirua Christ­mas in the Park. He’s ex­pect­ing a sim­i­lar-sized con­tin­gent for a work­shop at to­mor­row’s Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments.

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