The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center and its resident ‘ukulele space U-Space present the L.A. ‘Ukulele Expo – a free, all-day musical and cultural celebration of all things ‘ukulele.
‘Ukulele enthusiasts of all levels and playing experience are invited to explore the fun and accessibility of the four-stringed instrument on the historic, one-acre, JACCC Plaza, 244 S. San Pedro St. in the heart of Little Tokyo, on Saturday, July 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Performances in the plaza will feature Hawaiian music legend Jerome Koko of the Makaha Sons, Brit Rodriguez, Josh Chang, Kalyn Aolani, and Lise and Emi Lee, plus the first-ever “Bongolele” Jam-Along hosted by world-class percussionist Randy Drake with bongoleles courtesy of Ohana Ukuleles. Kamaka Brown and Cold Tofu will serve as emcees.
Take your first musical steps along U-Space’s Ukulele Discovery Walk, an interactive learning experience for complete beginners along the scenic path of JACCC’s James Irvine Japanese Garden, one of Little Tokyos hidden treasures. Discover the ‘ukulele with instruments courtesy of Ohana Ukuleles and nTyme, and join in a welcoming community jam session led by Heidi Swedberg and special guest artists.
Browse a curated marketplace of specialty ’ukuleles and accessories, featuring product demonstrations from premier builders and manufacturers.
Purchase special tickets for admission to an exclusive cross-cultural series of ‘ukulele workshops and panel discussions presented in JACCC’s Doizaki Gallery:
‘Ukulele workshops, featuring Son Jarocho, Veracruz-inspired strumming for ‘ukulele with Alexandro Hernandez, Ph.D. and Jason Arimoto, Ph.D. bridging the similarity in tuning between the four-stringed ‘ukulele (G C E A) and eight-stringed jarana (GG CC EE AA).
‘UKE Talks panel discussions, featuring ‘Ukulele in Schools with Grammy winner Daniel Ho; the history of ‘ukulele with Koko and award-winning author Jim Tranquada; and a demonstration of live sound techniques presented by Bose.
Also happening at L.A. Uke Expo: The Azusa Street Pathway Project, produced by Sustainable Little Tokyo, Little Tokyo Service Center and Global Green, is a temporary physical improvement project full of local art, engaging activities, greenery and much more. Funded in part by ArtPlace America, Citi Foundation, and the Gas Company.
The day’s four-string festivities will culminate in a plaza-wide Interactive Community Play-Along of the official event song, “La Bamba,” and a special evening concert featuring Romero Creations artist and 16-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner Koko on the JACCC Plaza.
Since 2014, the JACCC and U-Space have presented the annual L.A. ‘Ukulele Expo and Interactive Community Play-Along, a public music and cultural arts gathering bringing together over 1,500 ‘ukulele players in Los Angeles.
For more information, visit www.jaccc.org/laukuleleexpo.