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  • Writer's pictureEd Ellis

Ukulele Revival and Lil Rev

Did you know there is a ukulele revival underway? And did you know that one of the leaders of that revival, Marc "Lil Rev" Revenson, is playing at Wesley's Place on Friday May 12? Let's unpack the ukulele (and make some music).

The ukulele is an instrument that has been around for over a century, but it's only in recent years that it has experienced a resurgence in popularity. This trend, known as the ukulele revival, has led to a growing community of enthusiasts and a renewed interest in the instrument's history, culture, and music.

At the heart of the ukulele revival is a sense of joy and inclusivity that has attracted people from all walks of life. Whether you're a seasoned musician or a complete beginner, the ukulele offers a simple and accessible way to make music and connect with others. Its small size and portable nature make it a perfect instrument for taking to parks, beaches, or anywhere else you want to spread some musical cheer.

One of the driving forces behind the ukulele revival is the emergence of a new generation of ukulele artists who are pushing the boundaries of what the instrument can do. These artists, such as Jake Shimabukuro, Taimane Gardner, and Victoria Vox, are using the ukulele to create innovative and eclectic music that defies easy categorization.

At the same time, there's a growing appreciation for the ukulele's traditional roots and the role it has played in the music of Hawaii and other Pacific Island cultures. Many ukulele enthusiasts are seeking out the instrument's history and culture, learning about its evolution from a Portuguese import to a symbol of Hawaiian identity and culture.

In addition to the music itself, the ukulele revival has spawned a vibrant community of players, teachers, and enthusiasts. Online forums, social media groups, and local ukulele clubs provide a space for people to connect with others who share their passion for the instrument. Many of these groups organize workshops, jam sessions, and festivals, bringing together players of all levels and backgrounds for a fun and inclusive musical experience.

One of the most well-known figures in the ukulele revival is Marc "Lil Rev" Revenson, a musician, author, and educator who has been playing and teaching the ukulele for over 20 years. Lil Rev has been at the forefront of the ukulele revival, spreading the joy and knowledge of the instrument through his music, workshops, and instructional books.

In addition to his own music, Lil Rev has written several instructional books and DVDs on the ukulele, including "Hal Leonard Ukulele Method" and "The Complete Ukulele Method: Beginning Ukulele." He has also led workshops and taught at ukulele festivals around the world, sharing his expertise and passion with other players.

Lil Rev's approach to the ukulele is rooted in a deep appreciation for the instrument's history and culture, as well as a love for its versatility and playfulness. His music combines traditional and contemporary styles, incorporating elements of blues, folk, jazz, and pop. He also writes his own songs, often with a humorous or nostalgic touch that captures the spirit of the ukulele revival.

Through his music and teaching, Lil Rev embodies the values of the ukulele revival: inclusivity, joy, and a deep respect for the instrument's history and culture. He is just one of many ukulele artists and educators who are leading the way in this exciting and growing movement.

The ukulele revival is a testament to the enduring power of music to bring people together, inspire creativity, and connect us to our shared humanity. And Lil Rev is a national treasure in bringing the ukulele alive for new audiences. Come enjoy his performance on May 12. And please share this blog post!

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