Let’s do it again!

We had so much fun at the first New Uke-Culinary Fiesta when we did it two years ago, we’re thinking of bringing it back in 2018!  

Here’s the teaser for the first one.  (The next one will be just as good…..if not better!)

saint-francis-cathedralIt’s a winning combination: ukuleles, food, photography, and overall merriment!  Add to that a stunning location, and it really can’t get much better!  So we’ve decided to take the Uke-Culinary Fiesta on the road and our next first stop is beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico, in November, when the crowds have dissipated, the winter chill still has not yet settled in, and the sky and surrounding countryside may still be  awash with color.

mainhouselivroom_003And we have found the perfect place to host us, the Don Gaspar Inn, intimate, somewhat secluded, and yet within walking distance of the world famous Plaza and Canyon Road. It’s a perfect venue, where even those travelling alone will soon make long-lasting friends and everyone who attends will be connected by the simple bond of wanting to learn and make music (and fabulous meals) together.

10653609_10203445335831002_8538508260021329759_nAnd the staff!  Heidi Swedberg and Daniel Ward are an ukulele match made in heaven. Talent, experience, diligence, generosity, creativity, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys. And they cover all the bases–fabulous teachers with years and years of experience in a broad range of skills and genres. In a field full of rising “stars,” these two really shine!  They love to cook and are every bit as much fun in the kitchen as in the classroom.  And, Craig McClelland has just joined the staff, as well, and is bringing a pocket full of fun and informative workshops, including, “Uke Can Be As Cool As Craig.”  Rounding out Smoking Jackets quartet for our evening at Tiny’s,  is John Bartlitt. I can’t tell you how much fun he is……you’ll just have to come see for yourself.

We’ll also spend an evening with Rolling Stone Magazine’s first chief photographer, Baron Wolman.  Boy, does he ever have some great stories to tell.  Jimi Hendrix. Frank Zappa. Janice Joplin. And yes, Tiny Tim! Baron took pictures of them all!

And how are you going to get there?  Fly into Albuquerque on Day 1 and join Heidi and Daniel on the Rail Runner Express for a beautiful and musical ride through the stunning countryside of southern New Mexico.  We’ll pick you up at the train station in Santa Fe and a traditional Chimayo cocktail will be waiting for you at the Don Gaspar Inn.

10400802_10203255627168404_4420817113877618347_nUkulele workshops will be available for those on beginning, intermediate, and advanced tracks. Those wanting to cook will learn all about Southwestern cuisine, barbecuing techniques, and a few tricks from behind the bar. In addition to cooking workshops, for those who don’t play the ukulele, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore beautiful Santa Fe and its environs.

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Our Kids in Ajijic!

10997514_10203554550601303_1007189091242818830_nAs many of you know, one of the missions of La Semana de Uke-Culinary Fiesta in Ajijic  was to establish an ‘ukulele program for the local kids in Ajijc.  And did we ever!

Kids 2Our role was actually quite small: Heidi Swedberg and Daniel Ward did a concert at a local school and each of the retreat attendees brought an Ohana ‘ukulele from the U.S. and presented it to the kids after the concert.  The looks on their faces were precious. And that was it…..but it was just the little spark that was needed.

Lalo and HeidiFrom there the budding (at the time) local ‘ukulele community, Club Ukulele Laguna (CUL), under the direction of Sheila Ruof, Judy King, and Kay Epps Headley, took over.  They interviewed and hired a director for the program, a young man whom we call “Lalo,”  a young man who, in addition to being a fabulous musician, has turned out to be a wonderful force in the lives of these young people–a stern, but loving task master.  And the members of CUL  continue to raise money so that Lalo remains gainfully employed by the program, while the directors keep a watchful eye on everything that goes on.

And this is the wonderful result:  the first-ever concert by the Academia de Ukuleles de la Ribera.  (By the way, tickets are 100 pesos, not US dollars–the kids are good…..but not that good!)

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We could not be any prouder!