The New York Uke Fest, which starts today and runs through the weekend, might just boast the largest number of ukuleles out of captivity congregating in one place. Highlights we're looking forward to:
1. Nellie McKay. Sure, she's developed a bit of a reputation for rambling onstage and chafing against her record label's constraints, but this pianist/actress/singer still has legions of followers for her witty lyrics and throwbacky style. This weekend, she ditches the piano for her uke.
2. Les Chauds Lapins. A motley crew of New Yor musicians play old French songs by the likes of Charles Trenet. Bonus: banjo-ukes!
3. At 101, ukulele master Bill Tapia is the oldest working musician in the United States. He remembers playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" for American soliders heading off to World War I in 1918, for crying out loud. And he's still releasing records.
5. The Pre-War Ponies. This group mines 1920s and 1930s obscurities for shows all over town. Expect tunes like "The Gentleman Just Wouldn't Say Goodnight" featuring the plummy-voiced Daria Grace singing along with her baritone uke. (There's trumpet, fiddle and bass, too.)
New York Uke Fest
Baruch College (55 Lexington Avenue) and The Gershwin Hotel (7 East 27th Street)
Cost varies by day
More Info & Tickets: Website