Danno Sullivan Program Director, Play Without Thinking
Danno Sullivan is the founder of the Ukulele Union of Boston and a staple of the New England ukulele community. He teaches group classes at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and at other venues in the Boston area; he also hosts a lively and entertaining ukulele learning community at his website, Play It Daily Ukulele. While he can play a Black Sabbath cover on the uke as well as the next guy, he has a special place in his heart for the wonderful old songs of the 1920s.
Erin Ash Sullivan Program Director, From Journal to Song
Erin is a guitar and piano player who loves harnessing the ukuele as a tool for creativity and songwriting. In the late 1990s, she co-founded the band Edith O with singer-songwriter Amy Speace, performed regularly at the Bitter End and CBGB’s Gallery, and released an album, Tattooed Queen, which garnered critical raves. After many years as a teacher, administrator, author, and curriculum developer, she has returned to writing and performing and can be found on the metro Boston open mic circuit.
Molly Lynn Watt Program Founder, Jump Start, Sing and Strum
Molly is a lifelong educator, organizer, and musician who is an active member of the Boston Ukulele Union and an avid folk singing and country dancing enthusiast. At 19, she moved to Boston, became friends with Pete and Toshi Seeger, and co-founded the Greater Boston Folk Song Society. Since 2011, Molly and her husband, Dan, have led the Common Strummers ukulele band in Cambridge, Massachusetts as well as uke meetups through the New England Folk Festival Association, the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston, and the People’s Music Network. Molly is the author of two volumes of poetry: Shadow People (Ibbetson 2007) and On Wings of Song: A Journey Into the Civil Rights Era (Ibbetson 2014).
Dan Lynn Watt Program Founder, Jump Start, Sing and Strum
Dan grew up playing folk songs, union songs, civil rights songs, and anti-war songs. In 1959, he attended the Newport Folk Festival and got hooked on old time music, bluegrass, and Scottish ballads. His first project as a science educator was researching and writing The Musical Instrument Recipe Book, which encouraged children to explore the properties of sound by making instruments from household objects. In 1970, Dan joined the newly-formed Roaring Jelly Contra Dance Band and for a dozen years was its regular caller. In 2002, Dan and Molly co-wrote George and Ruth: Songs and Letters of the Spanish Civil War, which they performed throughout New England. He is also the author of History Lessons: A Memoir of Growing Up in an American Communist Family.
Shana Aisenberg Expanding Horizons
Shana is a multi-talented musician and instrumentalist who plays piano, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and dulcimer in addition to the ukulele. On a typical day you can hear Shana playing in various musical contexts from Appalachian old-time to Eastern European klezmer to fingerstyle blues. She performs regularly with String Equinox and various other groups, has recorded numerous albums as soloist and session musician, and has written music instruction books published by Alfred and Mel Bay for guitar, mandolin, and ukulele. In addition to working with private students and group classes, Shana teaches at workshops and festivals nationwide; she is also Music Director at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes, Tamworth NH. Learn more about Shana at www.shanasongs.com.
Kiyoshi Imai Songs of Hawaii
Kiyoshi grew up in Japan, where he developed a passion for bluegrass, became a banjo picker, and found a welcoming community of like-minded bluegrass players and fans. Kiyoshi is currently a member of the Boston Ukulele Society and Ukulele Union of Boston. For several years, he has been learning Hawaiian songs and styles of playing. His group, the Palm Court Serenaders, specializes in singing and playing songs in English and Hawaiian.
Chuck Goldstone Flash Forward to the 1920s (Guest Leader, Wednesday – Saturday)
Chuck is an experienced ukulele player, avid collector of vintage ukes, and a dedicated fan of the music of the 1920s. He enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the syncopated strums and styles of George Formby, Cliff Edwards, and Roy Smeck. He also happens to be nationally respected “communications and story guy” who, in the course of his career, has been an on-air radio and television personality, corporate communications mentor, and author of This Book Is Not A Toy! Friendly Advice On How To Avoid Death And Other Inconveniences (St. Martin’s Press, New York).
Anne Ku Songs in Other Languages (Guest Leader, Sunday – Wednesday)
Born in Brunei and raised in Taiwan and Okinawa, Anne embraced music at a young age and discovered the ukulele on Maui. She earned her music degree in composition and a teaching diploma in piano from Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands, and she performed widely as a chamber musician in duos with classical guitar, French horn, cello. She taught world music, music history, music theory, instrumental ensemble, and piano at University of Hawaii Maui College. Her dissertation is “Paradox of Simplicity: Songsheets for Participative Music Making in Ukulele Groups.” She leads the Ukulele Meetup in the historic Baker’s Chocolate Factory in Dorchester, MA. You can learn more about Anne here.