News — Craig Chee
Want to learn the ukulele and become the next Craig Chee? 0
It is incredibly portable, easy to get started (especially compared to a guitar) and incredibly social! Playing the uke has introduced me to so many people in my journey (including my now wife!), there are ‘ukulele clubs that have sprouted up all over the world, many online courses (like Ukulele Underground, ArtistWorks with myself and Sarah, the James Hill’s The Ukulele Way), and of course festivals all across the USA, to Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Germany, and other countries, celebrating this little instrument! For many people, this has turned into their big social event. I’ve seen many groups start off at a jam gathering then go to open mics, or perform at hospitals or schools or even carving out some time to play with their grandchildren. I strongly feel that the ‘ukulele has started to bring music back into the living room and is now taken seriously as a musical instrument.
Artist Spotlight: Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee - A match made in Ukulele Heaven 0
There is indeed, a huge army of ‘uke’ players out there thrumming away, but very few have managed to actually earn a living as professional players, the exception being Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee based in San Diego, California USA.
Fusion caught up with Sarah and Craig via Skype, whilst they were visiting family in the exotic Hawaii Islands.
Craig Chee grew up in Hawaii, and as a youngster he loved everything musical. This included going to the theatre, singing in choirs and even watching films. It was a huge part of his upbringing.
“I can relate to your story Craig,” says Sarah, “I didn’t have a ukulele as a child. I actually started playing classical violin when I was six years old, I took all the lessons and played in orchestras up until I was about 17. Then I realised that I didn’t have the drive to be a professional violinist, so I dropped all musical ties whilst I pursued a career in costume making in the theatre for six years. I actually have a degree in pattern making.
By chance I went to a pizza place where there were about 40 ukulele players performing along with hula hula dancers, it was the coolest, most awesome thing I’d ever witnessed, a real life changing moment. Until then, I knew very little about a ukulele, I actually contacted the band leader called Frank Leong for lessons in 2006, and haven’t looked back, it’s such a beautiful and happy sounding instrument, like the people who surround it.