Partial list of confirmed faculty:
Daniel Ward, New Mexico
Daniel Ward is an accomplished musician, composer and educator, who has become one of the country’s top clinicians and performers on the ‘ukulele circuit’. He is known for his command of Latin styles and teaches right hand techniques, adapting his style and knowledge from the classical and flamenco guitar. He has been a featured performer and workshop instructor at festivals across the country, including: Reno Ukulele festival, West Coast Ukulele retreat, Wine Country Ukulele Festival, San Diego Ukulele Festival, Port Townsend Ukulele festival, Albuquerque Ukulele festival and many More. With his partner Heidi Swedberg, he has performed as an artist in residence at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix AZ, and performed at Children’s Music Festivals around the country, including concerts in Los Angeles, New York City, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and the Austin City Limits Festival. Heidi and Daniel were also featured performers at Music China in Shanghai in 2012.
Heidi Swedberg, New Mexico
When she was 5 years old Heidi received her first ukulele from the Hawaiian Easter bunny while living in Kailua, HI. She has fond memories of teaching herself chords and writing songs in her room in Albuquerque NM, the place she thinks of as home. She picked the instrument up again in 1992 in Hollywood, CA while playing a singer-songwriter for a network TV pilot. Now life imitates art, and she plays music full time.
Heidi LOVES working with beginning and intermediate students of all ages. Her classes are fun, and people often find themselves laughing so much they don’t realize how much they are learning! She is particularly good at explaining complicated concepts in very simple terms. Besides teaching how to play ukulele she teaches musical improvisation, like you might see on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and shares techniques to free performers from blocks and stage fright. She is personable, non-threatening and loves engagement. Seeing people along on their journey to connectedness through music is her passion.
Del Rey, Washington
Del Rey started playing guitar when she was four years old. At thirteen, she was immersed in the world of folk music, via the San Diego Folk Festival. She has tried to get a whole band onto her solo instrument from the beginning. This gives her music an interesting complexity, especially when applied to the ukulele. Rags, blues and tunes of the early 20th century are her specialty, even as she writes new music to add to the tradition. Del Rey also has fashion sense that would make Minnie Pearl smile.
Del Rey has taught and played all over the world, and brings her distinctive finger-style approach to guitar and ukulele to her teaching DVDs on Homespun “Boogie-Woogie Guitar” ” The Music Of Memphis Minnie” , “Memphis Uke Party” and “Blue Uke.
Victoria Vox, California
Victoria Davitt, better known as Victoria Vox, is an award-winning, ukulele-toting, performing songwriter. With a passion for writing songs since she was 10 years old, she went on to graduate with a degree in Songwriting from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA). In 2003, she traded in her guitar for the ukulele as her main accompaniment and took the stage name Victoria Vox. Since the release of her first ukulele album in 2006 (Victoria Vox and her Jumping Flea), Vox has been one of the leading songwriters on the ukulele scene and cover girl on both Ukulele Magazine (USA) and UKE Mag (U.K.). She has shared the bill with ukulele greats such as Jake Shimabukuro, James Hill, and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. As a singer-songwriter she has also straddled into the folk scene, where she has opened for Jackson Browne, Tom Chapin, Leo Kottke, and Cheryl Wheeler. Over the years, she continued to evolve and reinvent her sound. She now performs mostly as a one-woman-band, incorporating a loop pedal and bass effect on her Low G ukulele.
Rachel Manke, Pennsylvania
Rachel Manke has been playing the ukulele for over 20 years. It’s the passion that has fueled adventure and friendships in her life. She is a skilled player in a vaudeville vein who has taken flourish and technique from that stage into various genres. She has appeared on stages that range from the New Jersey Uke Fest and Strummin’ Man to Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. A little bit country, a little bit everything else, a whole lot of funny, and a touch of sentiment.
Rachel started in the late 90’s on a $25 Hilo soprano and came to the uke world via the founders of the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum. She first studied with Joel Eckhaus, directly learning from the well known student of the famed Roy Smeck. Ever since, she has continued to learn and perform, and is now a respected teacher as well, having taught at camps such as California Coast Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and the Port Townsend Uke Fest. She has a penchant for Tin Pan Alley, old-time music, and is a master of the old-school uke chord solo flourish.
Brook Adams, Oregon
Brook is an atavistic dinosaur of 20th century pop. His songs evoke a timeless blend of soul, surf & psychedelia. He is a skilled player on guitar and ukulele. He used to do a show called “Abbey Road On Ukulele”. As a youth, he liked the Guess Who, Sly & the Family Stone, Cat Stevens, and John Prine.
In 2021 Brook made two surf music albums, “Surf Monster” and “Surficana” with his band, “El Borko ¡Surf!”. His solo albums “Ready To Burn” and “Fountain Of Love” explore the idea that people are basically good, and that in every heart there is a source of strength, courage and love.
Nikki Dee, Hawaii
Nikki Dee is an award-winning vocalist, vocal coach, ukulelist, music director, and bandleader based in Honolulu. She currently plays ukulele and sings with several music projects including the Django-inspired swing band Gypsy 808 and her own Hawaiian/Brazilian “tropical jazz” band, Blue Hawaiian. In 2017, Nikki represented the Seattle jazz scene in Kobe, Japan as the SKSCA Vocal Jazz Queen and was an Earshot Jazz Award finalist for NW Vocalist of the Year. Specializing in a unique blend of international jazz, blues, and cabaret repertoire in the original languages, Nikki has performed across the U.S. and overseas in France, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.
Nikki has been a voice, ukulele, and piano teacher for over two decades in both private and classroom settings. She was the Hawaiian music and ukulele teacher for a Seattle-based hālau hula for several years, also performing as a hula dancer. Ukulele styles taught include vintage jazz, gypsy swing, reggae, classic Hawaiian, Hapa-Haole, samba (“cavaquinho” style), and Bossa Nova – not to mention popular sing-along styles such as pop, rock, disco, and R&B.
In her free time, Nikki enjoys scoping out new craft cocktail bars and restaurants, practicing calligraphy and yoga, snorkeling, hula dancing, and planning out lengthy international voyages. She is totally obsessed with her adorable niblings (niece and nephews) and loves teaching them to sing and play the ukulele. You can follow her latest music and travel adventures below:
Daniel Ho, California
From his simple beginnings in Honolulu to his life amid the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, Daniel Ho has worked over the years as a musician, producer, singer/songwriter, arranger, composer, engineer, and record company owner. The most compelling of these roles has been as a six-time GRAMMY Award winning producer, featured slack key guitarist, and artist in the “Best Hawaiian Music Album,” “Best Pop Instrumental Album,” and “Best World Music Album” categories. Ukulele Magazine calls him “Hawaii’s greatest contemporary musical ambassador.”
Daniel has toured throughout the U.S, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Brunei, Thailand, Europe, and Australia. He has served as an American Cultural Ambassador at U.S. Embassies; been featured with the Honolulu Symphony; authored nine music books; and toured as a clinician for YAMAHA Guitars.
With the continued popularity of the ‘ukulele, Daniel’s original song, “Pineapple Mango (The Breakfast Song),” has risen to fame as an instrumental anthem plentifully covered by ‘ukulele enthusiasts around the world on YouTube.
Aaron Keim, Oregon
Aaron Keim is a historian, banjo picker, ukulele ambassador, old time songster, luthier and author. Aaron has been teaching ukulele and banjo techniques and performing at festivals since 2004. As an educator with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a master’s degree in Musicology, his true talents lie in his ability to adapt instruction to fit a wide range of learners and learning styles. Aaron is an ambassador for old time folk music in the ukulele world, adapting banjo and guitar techniques to the ukulele (including playing in the “clawhammer” tradition). His YouTube instructional videos have gained a worldwide following and have led to teaching and performing opportunities in N. America, Europe and Australia. Aaron is also a luthier, building as Beansprout Musical Instruments since 2007. www.thebeansprout.com He plays in a duo with his wife Nicole called The Quiet American and a string band called The Junebug Boys.
Nova Karina Devonie – House Accordionista
Nova Karina Devonie hails originally from Vancouver, B.C. She has been delighting audiences with her sensitive (and sometimes humorous) accordion playing, sonorous singing style, and sideways fashion sense since the 1980’s.
Nova moved to Seattle to join swingabilly cowgirl band Ranch Romance and stayed to make it her home after that band ended their touring days. She now teaches private accordion lessons and performs regularly with several bands including Miles and Karina, The Buckaroosters, and The Rare Birds.
Matt Weiner – House Bassist
Big tone and solid rhythm have made Matt Weiner one of the busiest bass players in the Northwest. Inspired by the “prebop” bass players and their music, he’s slapping out a syncopated jazz feel on one tune, on another bowing a folksy melody.
Frequently performing upward of 200 shows per year, Matt can be spotted around Seattle and other places plucking, bowing and slapping his gut-strung bass with Jacob Zimmerman, Ray Skjelbred, Del Rey, Barton Carroll, Bric-a-Brac Trio, Squirrel Butter, Wayne Horvitz, Eli Rosenblatt, Casey MacGill and many others. He has also recorded and performed with The Todalo Shakers, The Hot Club of Cowtown, The Asylum Street Spankers, Butch Thompson, Becky Kilgore, Danny Barnes, Matt Munisteri, Jon-Erik Kellso, Rani Arbo and James Hill.
He was a featured musician in the 2019 production of the Christmas Revels in Cambridge, MA. Less recently, he played the role of bass player Joe B. Mauldin in the 5th Avenue Theatre production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. At The Ukeshack #1, an album of bass and ukulele duets with Del Rey, was released in 2007.
2+ decades of experience has made Matt a highly sought-after teacher. Matt has taught at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, the Yukon Woodshed Acoustic Music Workshop, The Portland Ukulele Festival, The Menucha Ukulele Bandcamp, and 4 different Centrum music camps: the Ukulele Festival, the Country Blues Festival, Voiceworks and the Red Hot Strings Workshop. He teaches bass, electric bass, tenor guitar, tenor banjo, ukulele and beginning guitar private lessons and workshops at Dusty Strings in Seattle, and at his little home in White Center.