Ukemaker: Mike DaSilva’s News

The koa soprano ukulele I built with Mike DaSilva

An email from Mike DaSilva holds both surprising and exciting news.    While I am sad to see him leave Berkeley, it sounds like Hawaii holds an exciting future. 

I am one of the two dozen people who learned to build a ukulele from Mike and it was one of the greatest learning experiences I’ve ever had.  The best to you, Mike, in your new adventure.

Mike’s email

Hello from Mike DaSilva,

    Over seven years ago, I embarked on a most amazing journey.  After working for almost 20 years in the computer software arena I decided to take some time off and explore other possibilities for a new career. 

While I had learned to play the ukulele beginning in 2000, had attended my first ukulele festival in 2002, and started collecting vintage ukuleles, I always wanted to build my own ukulele.  So, in 2004 I managed to build my first, and by April 2004 had built five more.  Their completion coincided with the infamous Uke Fest West in Santa Cruz, California in 2004 where they were subsequently sold and I received my first orders for more.  I had found a new career.  As of today, I have built and delivered almost 300 hundred ukuleles. 

In that time I have also attended about 25 ukulele festivals across the United States and hosted over 75 ukulele workshops and concerts with the best ukulele artists in the world at the shop in Berkeley. 

The shop is also home to the Berkeley Ukulele Club and where I have been able to enjoy the absolute pleasure of teaching people how to play the ukulele as well as have the unforgettable experience of helping over two dozen people build their own ukulele.  Throw in the recording and engineering of 2 CD albums, a bunch of musical drop-ins, countless visits from ukulele enthusiasts around the globe and many late nights of figuring out yet another ukulele arrangement and you would have to agree that it has been a wonderful trip.

    But on this journey, more than all the ukuleles, all the shows, and all the music, what has meant the most to me, are all the truly wonderful people I have met.  With this in mind, I have some important news.

    The past few months have been extremely challenging.  Both business and personal realities require that I make immediate changes.  As a result, I have made the decision to end my operations in Berkeley, California. 

I have also been presented with a great opportunity to be part of a new ukulele building venture in Hawaii, so I will be moving to Honolulu in the next 30 days.  Here are details on relevant events:

    The Berkeley Ukulele Club will be continuing at a new location, soon to be confirmed.  The club will be holding the last meeting at DaSilva Ukulele Co., today, Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 6:30pm.  This will be a potluck party, and is sure to be the best ever.  Please let everyone know.

    I will be hosting an all day/evening Open House on Saturday, August 27, 2011 beginning at 11am at DaSilva Ukulele Co.   This open house will also be advertised as a liquidation sale for all shop items that will not be moved to Hawaii.  This includes many vintage instruments including some nice Martin ukuleles, other musical items, furniture and fixtures, furniture quality lumber, stereo and professional audio equipment, various tools, and assorted DaSilva Ukulele Co. memorabilia. 

Please stop by to say hello.  And if you ever wanted to play on the stage, now is your chance.  We’ll have open mic all day, and in the evening we plan to have an impromptu concert.   Please contact me if you can/want to perform for open mic or the evening concert.

    Jim D’Ville will be giving a ukulele workshop “Play Ukulele by Ear” on Sunday, August 28, 2011, 11am at DaSilva Ukulele Co.  Cost is $20.   This workshop is designed for all levels.  Beginners will benefit greatly by learning how to hear, interpret, and play common and prevalent components of music.  Advanced players are also sure to find some nuggets and approaches to expand and improve what they already know.

    All my group classes will be continue until August 31, 2011.  That means that the Advanced Beginner class will meet for the last time on August 29, 2011 at 6:30pm for the last time, and the Beginner Class will be offered for the last time on August 31, 2011 at 6:30pm.  Please pass this information on to anyone you know that might be looking to get started with the ukulele.

       I should be setup in Hawaii by October 1, 2011.  My email address and website will remain the same.  Even though I will be involved in a new venture, I will still be able to continue building custom ukuleles under the DaSilva Ukulele Co. name.  And I plan to continue teaching beginners and possibly starting a new ukulele club.  Stay tuned!

    Thanks to everyone who has been involved with me and DaSilva Ukulele Co. over the years.  I will be sending out another email very soon with more information about the move, my life and all the people that have helped me along the way.  These past years in Berkeley have been the most meaningful and rewarding years of my life. 

    Happy Strumming!  Mike

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