About 200 “uke” enthusiasts attended the fourth edition of the Mactan Ukulele Festival on February 27 at the Lapu-Lapu City Auditorium. The festival featured a concert and a gathering of those interested in or passionate about the tiny string instrument.
Frank Cane, a music teacher from the Marigondon Elementary School and the school’s music program organizer, put the event together, with the support of parents and various groups who are into ukulele. It was the first-ever ukulele festival in this side of the country, participated in by local groups like the Lapu-lapu City Ukulele ensemble, Soong Ukulele Club and Ukulele Cebu. The Manila-based group Ukulele Philippines also graced the event.
The ukulele players strummed, plucked, and jammed into the night. Ukulele beginners and virtuosos from here and Manila showed their distinct styles of playing the diminutive instrument, from plain sing-a-long strumming to complex rendetions.
The ukulele is viewed by most as a child’s plaything, a mini-guitar, or even a decorative ornament brought home as a souvenir from a trip to Hawaii or, locally, from Cebu and Boracay. It is the aim of the festival to promote the versatility of the instrument via the various music types it can play, to show that the ukulele is not just a souvenir item.
During the Mactan Ukulele Festival, the audience saw that there was so much more to the ukulele than meets the eye. The ukulele scene in the Cebu is new, but it’s definitely growing. Organizers are already looking forward to the next year’s festival.