Husband and wife duo, Aaron and Nicole Keim (aka The Quiet American), are a home-grown modern folk revival, with music that incorporates traditional ballads, banjo breakdowns, raggy choruses, gospel duets, and other dusty Americana gems, all delivered on a wide variety of acoustic instruments. Whether Aaron and Nicole are performing on a dusty back porch or a shining concert hall, The Quiet American reminds us why home-made, hand-crafted, American folk music will never fade away.
Aaron Keim has been teaching ukulele techniques and performing at festivals since 2004. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a master’s degree in Musicology, but his true talents lie in his ability to adapt instruction to fit a wide range of learners and learning styles. Aaron is an ambassador for old time folk music in the ukulele world, adapting banjo and guitar techniques to the ukulele (including playing in the “clawhammer” tradition). His YouTube instructional videos have gained a worldwide following and have led to teaching and performing opportunities in N. America, Europe, and Australia. Aaron is also a luthier, building instruments for Mya-Moe ukuleles since 2011 and as Beansprout banjo ukuleles from 2007-2011.
Nicole Keim has both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Music Education and taught K-5 elementary school music for nine years while living in Colorado. She also sang professionally with the nationally recognized Ars Nova Singers and has taught private voice and piano lessons since 2002. In 2012 Nicole took a sabbatical from teaching elementary school in order focus on her fiber arts business and to perform and travel with Aaron as The Quiet American. Her singing workshops have been met with high praise both here and abroad and she has developed a passion for teaching beginning ukulele to adult learners.
Aaron and Nicole have also published several educational ukulele books with topics ranging from jug band songs to finger-style technique. But one of their greatest gifts to the world of music is Henry.
Every year we try to feature emerging new talent at the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival and Henry Keim is clearly the ukulele star du jour. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Henry is already well known for his unique technique on the keyboard, imaginative slack key tunings on the ukulele, creative percussive stylings on the diaper pail, and drooling the spoons, as well as lucid vocalizations.
In spite of his young age, Henry is no stranger to the footlights and has been thrilling audiences from coast-to-coast since he was in utero. Just coming back from his first major European tour, where he delighted fans from dressing room-to-stage, we are thrilled to welcome Henry Keim to the Wine Country Ukulele Festival for the first time, accompanied by his hard-working and also talented back-up band: The Quiet American.
Due to Henry’s busy nap schedule, he will not be available to teach any workshops at the festival. However, he will be available to smear jam with festival attendees on his own time and will be happy to leave fingerprints in lieu of autographs. With such a bright future ahead of him, we know it is just a matter of time before Henry will hit the big stage. So,we are delighted he has chosen to join us in Wine Country this year.
You can see The Quiet American perform Friday, September 11, 6 – 8 pm at the Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. Come early for Growers Happy Hour (Monday through Friday 4 PM – 6 PM) for specially-priced cocktails, beer, and wine and a special bar menu. (Best mojitos anywhere, ever!)
Here’s what this dynamic duo will be teaching at Wine Country this year:
UKULELE JUMP START FOR BEGINNERS
No experience? No problem. Nicole Keim promises to help folks get the basics in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. There will be lots of time for questions – and lots of instructor attention. By the end of the class, students will be playing common chord progressions and strumming with confidence using several different styles of music. This is a safe place to get started, no matter what your age or experience. (Level 1)
CHORDS UP THE NECK
You have all those frets, but you seem to be trapped on the first 3! Relax, you don’t have to be a crazy virtuoso to learn a few new chord shapes higher up the neck. These new positions will not only make your songs more interesting, they will keep you challenged for a lifetime……and that’s a good thing. You will also take some of this knowledge and learn how to harmonize some simple melodies while learning just the tiniest bit of music theory. But don’t worry, it wont be scary at all! (Level 2 – 3)
Arrangements using fingerstyle techniques can make the ukulele sound like an entire “orchestra,” with melody and accompaniment played at the same time! In this workshop, students can expect to work on learning a picking pattern using thumb and two fingers, incorporating the melody into the picking pattern, and adjusting the picking pattern to suit other songs. The ability to read tablature will be a big help for this workshop, but not a requirement. (Level 2 – 3)
PICK IT LIKE MAYBELLE!
Maybelle Carter of The Carter Family was one of America’s first country music superstars and an early pioneer of the guitar. It was her style of picking melodies and chords on the guitar that became the foundation for American folk and country styles. And it also sounds great on the uke…..and will sound great on your uke, after taking this workshop with Aaron Keim (and, of course, practicing what you’ve learned.) (Level 3 – 4)
DEVELOPING LEFT HAND TECHNIQUES
Make your melodies and chords sound fancy with some new left hand techniques: “hammer-ons,” “pull-offs” and “slides”- tricks used by the pros! Then, once you have them down, you will apply them all to a composition created by Aaron called,what else?, “Henry’s Boogie,” something fun to practice long after the festival is over. (Level 3 – 4)
USE YOUR VOICE
Join Nicole as you explore the basics of singing! All of us have a singing voice inside and we deserve to find it and use it. We will do vocal warm ups, a round, some simple songs and even some harmony signing. Everyone of us, even those who proclaim they don’t sing, should take this one! (All levels)