Ukulele Event Strum Away Goes Virtual This Weekend
The program is organized by Pune-based artist and music educator Luv Mahtani
Over the past two years, Pune-based artist and music educator Luv Mahtani began teaching the ukulele. A few months into doing so, he wanted to create a showcase with an open mic night for his students to perform at and thus was born Strum Away. Now, Mahtani is gearing up for Strum Away’s seventh edition scheduled to take place virtually on August 8th and 9th.
Ask Mahtani when he began noticing that there was space to build a ukulele community? He says, “Honestly, I first noticed that it didn’t exist at all two years ago. Not in Pune at least, where I’m based. The idea that I could start teaching came from a request through an acquaintance online to teach them since I was the only person they knew who played it.” The music educator explains that is when a ripple effect started and a lot of credit has to go to YouTube for making the instrument popular again. “That’s where I first discovered it,” he says.
At the upcoming Strum Away, Mahtani has programmed video performances by nine artists from nine different cities including sets by Bengaluru soul artist Huyana, Dimapur-based musician Temsu Clover, Lahore’s Zulfi and more. Folks will also have the opportunity to play along to popular songs of which chord charts and lyrics will be shared with attendees. Also in store is a showcase by Chennai-based singer-songwriter Krishna. K, who will teach participants how to play his new single “Dragon” on the ukulele.
For Mahtani, the event has always been his attempt to raise a sense of togetherness and push his students to beat their stage fright. “I hope the online presence we’re creating through our pages can be a safe space for people to enjoy a few performances or consider picking up the instrument themselves,” he says.
Mahtani also recently got accepted with a full scholarship to Canada’s James Hill Ukulele Initiative, a teaching program for which he is currently training online. He says, “The fact that there are more community leaders like me in other cities, the Mahalo Goa Ukulele Festival and the number of performers and audiences with every Strum Away keep growing gives us no reason to stop what we now can quite confidently call a movement.”