Grab a beer, some sheet music and gather ’round for a big evening dedicated to a tiny instrument.
Welcome to Uke Night at Freddy’s Bar in South Slope, a monthly jam session that’s strictly dedicated ukulele players, lovers and novices, where lovers of the little lute are invited to strum — and sing — 1930s tunes, share techniques, and have a good old-fashioned time.
“The ukulele brings joy and rapture to all others in its vicinity,” said Uke night organizer Katie Down, a Kensington resident and full-time music therapist. “I’ve always loved gathering around the table and singing songs — this is the opportunity to do it.”
Down brings extra instruments — including a cute pink uke — and encourages the curious, no matter how inexperienced, to strum along.
Down, who’s played the uke for 10 years, is also a member of the The Ukuladies, a ukulele-centric theatrical act from Canada that includes her twin sister, aunt and tap-dancing cousin.
“Everyone is different,” Down said. “The common denominator is the ukulele.”
At a recent event, the four-string players sat around a table topped with beer and photocopies of sheet music. They chugged through the decades, with covers of “Hold Me Now,” by the Thompson Twins; “Mack the Knife”; and the Yiddish favorite, “Bei Mir Bist Du Shein.”
Manhattanite Tom Gambino trekked to Freddy’s just to share the ukulele love — and practice the 1920s track, “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue,” amid kindred ears.
“This is the underdog of instruments!” Gambino said. “You don’t expect such amazing music to come from such a tiny guitar.”
Visitors can also enjoy performances from local uke legends after the jam session.
In September, Elena Camerin and Khabu Doug Young — a duo excelling in odd-time signatures and quirky Italian and English lyrics — entertained the intimate crowd; this month’s performer is Evanescent, a pair whose sensual songs of heartbreak and longing are twinged with high-tempo flamenco beats.
We can only hope that November brings a modern-day Tiny Tim.
Brooklyn Uke Night at Freddy’s Bar [627 Fifth Ave. near 18th Street in South Slope, (718) 768-0131], Oct. 27, 7 pm, Free. Live uke act, 9:30 pm. For info, visit freddysbar.com.