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Ukulele virtuoso James Hill to play Unchagah Hall Saturday

When he is not shredding covers of Jimi Hendrix songs, Hill is creating his own music and being an advocate for getting the instrument into as many hands as possible.
James Hill
James Hill

James Hill is a man on a mission: to change what people think a ukulele is supposed to sound like.

Last year, Hill recorded an album produced by Canadian indie rock hero Joel Plaskett, which earned him a 2015 Juno award nomination.

This weekend, he is bringing his talents to what Ecole Frank Ross music teacher Dave McKeen calls the "ukulele hotbed of the north."

Hill hits Unchagah Hall April 9 for a sold out show. A ukulele workshop that same day is also booked solid.

McKeen says he has been using a curriculum developed by Hill to teach kids and adults in Dawson Creek how to play for the last number of years.

McKeen was instrumental in bringing the uke virtuoso to the Dawson Creek.

"(Hill) is one of my mentors and is regarded in the ukulele circles as one of the best, if not the top in the world," McKeen told the Mirror. "He stands up as good as any guitarist, probably better than most guitarists. It's absolutely mind blowing. You have to see it live to believe it."


                                  

When he is not shredding covers of Jimi Hendrix songs, Hill is creating his own music and being an advocate for getting the instrument into as many hands as possible.

"It's not Tiny Tim singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips," McKeen said. "A number of us went to Grande Prairie a couple of years ago and a lot of people who were skeptical about what a ukulele concert would be like came away absolutely jaw-dropped at the talent this guy demonstrates."

It's a versatile instrument, he added, and as a music teacher to elementary-aged kids, McKeen says it's probably the best instrument for kids to learn to play.

"It allows them to sing, play and chord all at the same time," he said. "That's why I think the ukulele is having a great resurgence."

Hill's latest album The Old Silo has an "edginess and swagger unlike anything Hill has ever recorded," his website says. "There are moments of stillness and striking beauty."

It's his first since 2011's Man With a Love Song.

Although the concert is listed as sold out on Hill's website, McKeen says there may still be tickets available. Check for yourself by giving him a call at: 250-782-8311.

dcreporter@dcdn.ca