James Hill (BC/NS)
May we introduce you to James Hill and his ukulele.
While this venerable instrument is sometimes looked at with affectionate amusement, in the hands of a true master its music is a thing of plucking beauty, capable of covering repertoire from Hawaii to Appalachia to the old courts of Vienna, and beyond. James is one such ukulele master.
From bluegrass inspired pieces to his technical prowess playing chopsticks on the instrument; from an awe-inspiring take on Flight of the Bumble Bee to hip-hop influenced forays into heavily percussive, beat-driven prepared- ukulele sound sculptures, James Hill has taken the ukulele to soaring new heights. In gaining his reputation as Canada’s foremost ukulele virtuoso, he has broken down tired stereotypes to amply demonstrate the diminutive instrument’s diversity, depth and virtuosity.
And where did all this begin? Flash to Langley, where ukulele instruction has been mandatory in many schools since the late 1970s. From the fourth grade, Hill was hooked on the uke, honing his skills as a key member of the renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble in his teenage years. He went on to earn a music degree at UBC and, in a coming-full-circle deal, co-authored “Ukulele in the Classroom”, a method book series with J. Chalmers Doane, the trail-blazing teacher who pioneered the use of ukuleles in Canadian schools.
As if that wasn’t enough to impress, Hill now stands poised to take his place among the ranks of today’s best young songwriters. His Man with a Love Song is full of wit and poetry, leaping from soulful big-band jazz to barrelhouse-bluegrass, lyrical barbershop, spoken word and junkyard percussion. Accompanied by his talented wife Anne Jenelle on cello – he will turn everything you think you know about the ukulele upside down.