JIM & LIZ BELOFF
HERB OHTA, JR
Finding a ukulele at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market in 1992 inspired Liz & Jim Beloff to start Flea Market Music, Inc., publisher of the popular Jumpin’ Jim’s ukulele songbooks. Sold worldwide, the series includes The Daily Ukulele: 365 Songs For Better Living & The Daily Ukulele: Leap Year Edition, two of the biggest & best-selling ukulele songbooks ever published. Jim Beloff is the author of The Ukulele: A Visual History (Backbeat Books), producer of Legends of Ukulele, a CD compilation for Rhino Records, & has made 3 how-to-play DVDs for Homespun. Jim is also an active songwriter. His 2014 two-CD set, Dreams I Left In Pockets, features 33 songs he wrote or co-wrote with uke legends Herb “Ohta-san” Ohta & Lyle Ritz. In 1999, Jim composed & premiered Uke Can’t Be Serious, a concerto for solo ukulele & symphony orchestra. The piece has been performed many times, most recently in 2016 with the Choate School orchestra in Germany & Austria, also with the Michigan Philharmonic. In 2017, Jim premiered a new work entitled The Dovetale commissioned & performed by the Wallingford (CT) Symphony Orchestra. Liz Maihock Beloff, with a background in film & television graphics, designs the covers & art-directs all of Flea Market Music’s songbooks, CDs & DVDs. She’s also a talented singer who, before teaming up with Jim, sang with a cappella groups in college & New York City.
Bryan Tolentino is a self-taught ‘ukulele player who began playing the instrument at the tender age of 10. His early influences were the musical groups The Sons of Hawaii and The Sunday Manoa. After graduating from Saint Louis School in 1979, Bryan and some friends formed a musical group called The Side Order Band. Bryan's repertoire is a mixture of Hawaiian, contemporary, and original songs, blending creativity and diversity with the ‘ukulele. Bryan has performed with the late Aunty Genoa Keawe, Karen Keawehawai’i, Jerry Santos and Olomana, Natalie Ai Kamauu, Napua Greig, Kuana Torres Kahele, Aaron Sala, Weldon Kekauoha, Hoku Zuttermeister and many more. He also found himself in growing demand for his contributions to dozens of recordings. He also released his own solo album “Ka ‘Ukulele Lele” in 2005 and released a duet recording with Herb Ohta, Jr. called “ʻUkulele Friends” in 2015.
Herb Ohta's interest in music was evident at an early age: his grandmother taught him his first song on the 'ukulele ("Happy Birthday") at the age of three, and his father, 'ukulele legend Ohta-San, started his early instruction; he hasn't looked back since. One of Hawai'i's finest contemporary 'ukulele virtuosos, Herb has a graceful "nahenahe" style that's both reminiscent of his father, and recognizable as his very own. Herb is a seven-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award Nominee and a two-time Hawai'i Music Award Winner. As a teacher, composer, recording artist, entertainer, and producer, it is Herb's goal to share the beauty of Hawai'i's music, its culture, and the 'ukulele with people all over the world.
Although Craig Chee was born and raised on Oahu, he matured as an ‘ukulele player and musician on the mainland. Throughout attending and graduating from the University of Oregon, Craig focused on teaching a myriad of different styles with the tiny instrument. Craig has had the honor of working under Jake Shimabukuro and Troy Fernandez, and has become a renowned instructor and performer around the world. Craig infuses his energetic and just plain "fun" style into many genres of music and is known for his collaborations at different music events.
Sarah Maisel was born and raised in Alabama and found herself working in San Diego, CA as the Lead Female Draper for the La Jolla Playhouse and the University of California San Diego. On walking into a local ‘ukulele jam, Sarah was both fascinated by the instrument and the joy that surrounded it. Studying under Frank Leong, Sarah dove into the jazz stylings of golden age Hawai'i songs and arrangements inspired by ‘ukulele legends like Lyle Ritz, Benny Chong and Byron Yasui. Sarah found a passion of teaching and performing with the ‘ukulele and was quickly featured at many ‘ukulele festivals around the world.
Bakithi Kumalo's musical career has been characterized by a series of serendipitous events, ranging from his debut gig as a precocious seven-year-old filling in for the bassist in his uncle's band to his enlistment into Paul Simon's group during the recording sessions of the pop star's landmark Graceland album in 1985. Bakithi creates a singular electric fretless bass sound teeming with double stops that sound like human voices and the African grooves of his homeland, which has garnered him a stellar reputation as a sideman. In addition to touring with Simon, he's also recorded and/or toured with Gloria Estefan, Derrick Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Chico Ceasar, Laurie Anderson, Gerald Albright, Miriam Makeba, Randy Brecker, Grover Washington Jr., Bob James, Angelique Kidjo, Jon Secada, Josh Groban and Chris Botti.
Mitch Chang was born and raised in Honolulu and is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i music program where he studied classical guitar under the direction of Lisa Smith. A former student of the legendary Pepe Romero, Smith introduced Mitchell to flamenco guitar and he has provided accompaniment for various flamenco dance classes, workshops and performances throughout Hawai’i and Los Angeles. A former student of legendary jazz ukulele musician Bill Tapia, Mitch is well known as an ‘ukulele teacher and performer throughout Los Angeles. Mitch is the Creator and Producer of the L.A. International Ukulele Festival, Los Angeles Guitar Festival, Southern California Slack Key Festival, and Los Angeles Flamenco Festival.