Head to our new website!

Thanks for visiting our blogspot site. However, this is yesterday's news! We have a new site with updated information that is easier to navigate. Please head straight to www.lascrucesukes.com. We'll be waiting for you there!

New practice location

The Las Cruces Ukes have a new home! We now practice at Good Samaritan - Las Cruces Village, 3011 Buena Vida Circle in the Creative Arts Room (upstairs in the Social Center). Buena Vida Circle is just off Telshor. There is a convenient parking lot just past the social center.

On a few dates throughout the year, we'll be downstairs in the conference room. So, if you don't find us in the Creative Arts room, head downstairs next to the auditorium.

Thanks to Good Samaritan for being our new hosts!

Register for Las Cruces UkeFest 2018!

Join the Las Cruces Ukes!

Join the Las Cruces Ukes!

Las Cruces Ukes Kids Club

Kids Club schedule:

2nd & 4th Saturday monthly @ 10:30 a.m.

El Calvario Church, 300 Campo Street

Playing the ukulele is so much fun, we have formed the Las Cruces Ukes Kids Club! The club meets the second and fourth Saturdays from 10:30 – 11:15 a.m. each month at El Calvario United Methodist Church at 300 Campo Street in downtown Las Cruces.

If you have your own ukulele, bring it with you. We will have a few loaner ukes, but you will not be able to take them home, and you need to practice. Check with Hubbard’s Music 'n' More, 108 Wyatt Drive; they have a really good selection of ukuleles and will help you find the right size just for you. Tell them you are with the Las Cruces Ukes.

All of us are excited to see more folks, especially younger ones, learn to love the ukulele like we do.

Las Cruces Ukes Teen Club

Teen club meetings:
Wednesdays, 3:15 – 4 p.m.
Arrowhead Park Early College High School, Building 4

Teens and ukuleles are a great combination! In March 2016 we kicked off the Las Cruces Ukes Teen Club, hosted at Arrowhead Park Early College High School on Arrowhead Drive south of the NMSU campus and football field (its the building with lots of colored rectangles!). While the club is hosted at APECHS, we invite other teens (or near teens) who have a flexible schedule to join us. If you are home-schooled or don't have a class that precludes you from attending, come on out!

We have LOTS of loaner Kala Waterman ukuleles, thanks to our friends at Kala! And thanks to our friends at Ohana, we have ukuleles that Teen Club members can earn to take home as their very own! One ukulele has been awarded to Josh the first semester and five more ukuleles await their new home in the future.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Little Ukulele History - Part 1

Those of us who first picked up a ukulele in this century owe a lot to those who blazed the trail before us. Most know that the ukulele has its roots in Hawaii, but did you know that it was actually the Portuguese who developed the forerunner to the ukulele we know and love today? It was an instrument called the "machete" that was brought to the islands by men who came to work on the islands in the sugar plantations in 1879. They began playing the little instrument to the delight of the islanders and their royalty. The instrument was soon being made in Hawaii by men who came to Hawaii on the same ship and it developed into the iconic instrument associated with the islands.

While the ukulele made incursions to the mainland before this date, it really caught on at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. Hawaii hosted a pavilion and had hula dancers, ukulele, and lap guitar performers that became the talk of the town. Hawaii's top performers came and delighted the crowds who visited the expo, spreading the love of the ukulele far and wide.

Martin Guitar Company, reports Ian Whitcomb in his book "Ukulele Heroes: The Golden Age," rolled out a ukulele in 1915, making a dozen. Two years later, they were selling 2,000. That same year, Hawaiian music and Tin Pan Alley songs with Hawaiian or ukulele themes gained popularity. 

In "Ukulele Heroes," Whitcomb (one of the heroes himself) tells the tales of pioneers of the ukulele who helped make it popular - or played it despite periods of unpopularity. You can find music by these ukulele pioneers on YouTube and get a feel for where ukulele music has been.

Whitcomb's list of heroes, in alphabetical order:

• Frank Crumit
• Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike)
• George Formby Jr.
• Arthur Godfrey
• Wendell Hall
• The Hawaiians
• Johnny Marvin
• Tessie O'Shea
• Lyle Ritz
• Roy Smeck
• Tiny Tim
• Ian Whitcomb

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