Entertainment Highlights: Ukulele Great Coming to Randolph

Flamenco artist Israel Galvan comes to the Hopkins Center in Hanover next week.

Flamenco artist Israel Galvan comes to the Hopkins Center in Hanover next week.

For the recording of Grand Ukulele, his 2012 album, Jake Shimabukuro did something different: He went big.

With the help of famed engineer Alan Parsons, who has worked with The Beatles and Pink Floyd, Shimabukuro outfitted his ukulele jams with a rhythm section and a 29-piece orchestra. It lends another dimension to ballads like Akaka Falls and his version of Over The Rainbow.

“I never did anything like that before,” Shimabukuro said of using the orchestra. “I was in heaven.”

Shimabukuro, who rocketed to fame in 2006 when a YouTube video of him playing a virtuosic version of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps went viral, will play at the Tupelo Music Hall on Saturday.

That video, by the way? It currently has more than 12 million views, and may have been part of the sudden surge of artists picking up the four-stringed Hawaiian instrument. Take Ukulele Songs, the 2011 solo album by Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder, for instance.

“It’s just growing so rapidly,” Shimabukuro said. “It’s beyond Hawaii. I think the local people here really embrace that. And we’re proud to be able to say, like, ‘Wow, that’s our instrument.’ ”

He’s been playing it since he was he was 4, similar to many in Shimabukuro’s native Hawaii. The instrument had a particular impact on him, though. Now 37, he said he picks it up whenever he has a chance.

“I just fell in love with it,” Shimabukuro said. “(My mom) taught me a few chords and that was it. I was completely hooked on it.”

The grand orchestration on Grand Ukulele was an opportunity for Shimabukuro to expand his musical palette, he said, even though Parsons urged him to make sure all the songs could be stripped to just a ukulele and still sound good.

He’ll take the stripped-down approach to the songs at Tupelo, where he’ll be performing with just a small backing band. But he’s still been experimenting, incorporating electronics into his show and using pedals to loop his music.

“I’m just a student of the ukulele, just a student of music, and every time I have a new opportunity, or I can try something different, I always welcome those opportunities,” he said. “I know I’m going to learn from them.”

Jake Shimabukuro will perform at White River Junction’s Tupelo Music Hall at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $45 or $50, and can be purchased from tupelohallvermont.co m.

Best Bets

Scottish folk group The Paul McKenna Band, which has toured internationally, will visit Haverhill’s Alumni Hall on Saturday. The group is known for combining the traditional and contemporary. Their show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased from alumnihall.org.

∎ Contemporary flamenco artist and dancer Israel Galvan will perform his show, La Edad De Oro (The Golden Age), at the Hopkins Center in Hanover on Wednesday and Thursday next week. For this show, he’ll have a singer and guitarist in tow. Both shows begin at 7 p.m., and tickets range from $17 to $40. They can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

Looking Ahead

Enfield’s Shaker Bridge Theatre will perform Sharr White’s The Other Place, a psychological thriller about a neurologist whose life begins to go off the rails, starting on Friday, March 28. Friday and Saturday shows are 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee is at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling 603-448-3750 or emailing reservations@shakerbridgetheatre.org.


Northern Stage’s production of Good People, the David Lindsay-Abaire play about a South Boston woman who pursues her well-off high school boyfriend, continues through March 23. For information and show times, go to northernstage.org.

∎ ArtsPower will present A re You My Mother?, a one-hour musical for children, at the Chandler in Randolph 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The story follows Baby Bird on a search for her mother. Tickets are $6, and the show is recommended for preschoolers through second-graders. They can be purchased by calling 802-728-6464.

∎ Nova Scotia’s Mermaid Theater will perform Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, Frederick & Inch by Inch at the Lebanon Opera House at 10 a.m. on Friday as part of the theater’s Youth Education Series. The story follows the lives of a fish, a mouse and an inchworm. The show is appropriate for those in kindergarten through third grade. Adult tickets are $10 and children’s tickets are $6. They can be purchased by calling 603-448-0400.

∎ The Newport Opera House will put on a performance of The Little Mermaid through the weekend. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7 p.m. and the Sunday show is at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students and can be purchased from newportoperahouse.com.


Ed Kowalczyk, who for years fronted the massively popular ’90s group LIVE, will perform a solo set at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction at 8 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $40, and can be purchased at tupelohallvermont.com.

∎ Acoustic duo Black Isle Music, Becky Tracy and Keith Murphy, will bring in the first-ever Concerts at Four Corners, a new series in Hartland’s First Universalist Society, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The series aims to provide traditional acoustic music; admission for the first show is $15 for adults. For more information, call 802-436-2151 or email barthoj@vermontel.net.

∎ North Carolina bluegrass gospel group Nick Chandler and Delivered will play at the Lebanon Opera House at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Also featured in the group is Nick Dauphinais, who grew up in Enfield and did his student teaching at Hanover High School. Tickets are $10 each, and can be purchased by emailing marchtickets@yahoo.com or calling 603-727-8446.

∎ The Voices of CSC, Colby-Sawyer College’s gospel choir, will perform at the college on Sunday evening. “Celebration of Gospel: Remembering the Past, Embracing the Present” will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ware Student Center. The show is free.

∎ Tenor saxophonist Benny Sharoni will perform Sunday at Grantham’s Center at Eastman as part of the Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon series. Tickets to the 4 p.m. show are $18, and can be purchased in advance by calling 603-763-8732 or emailing bill.wightman@comcast.net.


Muskeg Music will present a night of English country dancing from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday at Tracy Hall in Norwich. All dances will be taught, and refreshments will be provided. Admission is $8 for adults.

∎ Muskeg Music will also host a Fourth Saturday family dance and contradance this Saturday. Music will be proved by Cuckoo’s Nest and called by Ruth Sylvester. The 8 p.m. contradance follows a family dance from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., which follows a potluck supper from 5:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. All dances will be taught and called. Admission is $8 for adults.

∎ The Old Sam Peabody Band and caller Delia Clark will soundtrack the latest Third Friday Contra Dance in Woodstock. All dances are taught, and no partner is needed. The dance workshop on Friday begins at 6:45 p.m., and dancing follows 15 minutes later. There’s a suggested admission price of $8 for adults.


The Billings Farm & Museum will present a showing of Footnote on Saturday as part of its 4th Annual Woodstock Vermont Film Series. The 2011 movie, which follows the rivalry of a father and son who are both professors at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, will be shown at 3 p.m. Tickets are $11 for non-member adults, and can be purchased from billingsfarm.org/filmfest or 802-457-2355.

∎ Sustainable Woodstock will screen GROW!, a documentary about the next generation of farmers, at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre. On Saturday, Ben & Jerry’s and New Chapter will present a 7 p.m. screening of GMO OMG, which asks how genetically modified organisms affect our health and that of our planet, also at the theater. Tonight’s screening is free, while Saturday’s is on a $5 to $20 sliding scale at the door. For more information, go to pentanglearts.org.

Bar and Club Circuit

Acoustic musician and guitar-looper Brady will play at Hanover’s Salt hill Pub on Friday, starting at 9 p.m. The Wheelers, a party rock group, will play the pub at 9 p.m. on Saturday.

∎ Blues rock duo Whiskey Geese, which is based in Boston but boasts Lebanon native Tyler Wayne Drabick , will play at Salt hill Lebanon at 9 p.m. on Friday. The Northern Ridge Bluegrass Band will play at the same time the next night.

∎ The Conniption Fits will return to the Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday at 9 p.m., followed by another Upper Valley stalwart, acoustic musician Brooks Hubbard, at 9 p.m. the next night.

∎ Singer-songwriter David Mallett will perform at the Flying Goose Brew Pub in New London tonight, starting at 8 p.m.

∎ Gutiarist and vocalist David Greenfield will play at Hanover’s Salt hill Pub this evening, followed by pianist Gillian Joy and guitarist Rowley Hazard on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Multi-instrumentalist (and lead vocalist for the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble) Tyne Freedman will play the venue on Sunday, and Dartmouth masters students John Wheelock and Matt Prescotanno will perform on Monday. Jonathan Kaplan will play piano on Tuesday, followed by Billy Rosen’s guitar music on Wednesday. All shows begin at 7 p.m. except Monday’s, which starts at 8 p.m.

∎ Rock group the Chris Fitz Band will play One Mile West in Sunapee at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Brooks Hubbard will provide acoustic music at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

∎ Irish singer, humorist and folklorist Tom O’Carroll will perform at the Sunapee Community Coffee House at 7 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Vermont-based Americana group The Stone Cold Roosters will play at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern starting at 9 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Clay Canfield brings his musical talents to the River Stones Tavern in Quechee on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8 p.m. He also performs at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock on Sundays, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

∎ Jim Roberts & Doug Morse will play at Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday. The music starts at 5 p.m.

∎ Singer-songwriter Charlie Christos will play at New Socials in Claremont at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Open Mics

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

∎ Salt hill Pub in Hanover runs an open mic hosted by Chad Gibbs on Mondays at 7 p.m.

∎ At Salt hill in Lebanon, Brian Warren and Seth Barbiero will host an open mic tonight starting at 8.

∎ Brian Warren also hosts an open mic at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock. It’s on Mondays, starting at 8:30 p.m.

∎ Bradford’s Colatina Exit hosts an open mic on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m.

∎ The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Wednesdays, beginning at 8 p.m.

∎ Gregory Brown hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Send Highlights to Highlights@vnews.com.