Dan Scanlan Workshop and Concert

Dan Scanlan of the World Famous Strum Bums!

Dan ‘Cool Hand Uke” Scanlan Bio

Dan Scanlan was given the nickname "Cool Hand Uke" by a college roommate. "I guess

it's because I can eat 50 eggs," Scanlan jokes, referring to the scene in Paul Newman's

Cool Hand Luke

where he struggles through a meal of 50 hard boiled eggs. "I can do

that, too — caviar on a cracker."

Scanlan began playing the ukulele and writing songs for it in 1961, the year he entered

Loyola University in Los Angeles. He performed on college radio with a makeshift group,

The What the Hell Four. In the seventies he and fellow Loyolan Pat Sauer performed in

California, the Southwest and the South as Flathead. "People said they couldn't tell the

difference between our love songs and our political ones," Scanlan recalls.

Later Scanlan was lead vocalist and ukulele front man in Top Quark and the Self-

Righteous Brothers. He performed at the 19th International Ukulele Festival in Honolulu,

HI, as a solo act and again with his Strum

Bums at the 38th in 2008. (The Strum

Bums will again appear at the festival in

2013 under Scanlan’s direction.) He has

been featured in numerous folk festivals,

the Sacramento Blues Festival, the Ukulele

Hall of Fame Museum Expo, the Southern

California Ukulele Festival, the Santa Cruz

CA Ukulele Festival, the New York Ukulele

Festival and the Nova Scotia Ukulele Ceildh.

His workshop in Ireland was instrumental in

the creation of Ukuhooley, a ukulele club

now flourishing in Dublin. (Scanlan coined

the name, from Hawaiian

huli (revolution),


hooley (jam session) and ukulele .)

Scanlan considers a private concert he gave to redwood forest activist Julia Butterfly Hill

after climbing 100 feet up her ancient redwood tree, Luna one of his most fulfilling

achievements. The song he sang to her, “Giant Silent Redwood” was later selected for

inclusion in an English-as-a-second-language textbook. On the other end of the

spectrum, he played and sang one mile deep in the Original 16-to-1, a working gold

mine in the California Sierras at Alleghany. He has self-released numerous CDs and

tapes, including the recent “iUke in the Fall”, “Notion” and “Ah, Rajão!” featuring the

forerunner of the ukulele.

Scanlan has earned a fine reputation as a ukulele teacher

and workshop presenter and often has newbies playing the

uke in ten minutes.

He hosted The End of the Trail Saloon, a live music and

satire radio program for five years. The program was a

finalist in the National Federation of Community

Broadcasters' Golden Reel Awards competition for best live

The founding of Ukuhooley, 2009

local entertainment three times. He produced and hosted Tunesday Live, an open mic of

the air in the 80s on KVMR-FM in Nevada City CA.

He returned the ukulele to its ancestral

home of Madeira Island, Portugal in 1998

as the American producer of the Father

and Son Reunion: The Braguinha Meets

the Ukulele. The project culminated in a

performance by the Reunion Band of

Madeiran and American musicians playing

ukuleles, rajão and braginha together at

the last world's fair of the 20th century in

Lisbon, Portugal. Today he lectures on the

history of the ukulele and performs on the

uke's ancestral instruments.

Scanlan fronted Jukolin and later, The Enablers, eclectic ensembles that included jew's

harp, fiddle, slide guitar and ukuleles. After leading the Vokuleles group for the last

seven of its 37 years in Chico, CA, Scanlan founded and continues to direct the Strum

Bums Ukulele Extravaganza Rescue and Relief Band, a 25 to 40-member ukulele group

in Grass Valley, CA. The group enjoyed a standing ovation in New York City and has

played festivals in Santa Cruz, CA, and Honolulu HI.

Scanlan co-directs the Gold Pan Alley Ukulele Festival in Auburn CA. His interactive

ebook for the iPad,

Cool Hand Uke’s Way to Love Uke is available at Apple’s iBookstore,

and his 75 lecture on-line ukulele course,

Play Uke Now! Is offered at Udemy.com.

Every two years Scanlan emcees the Liverpool, Nova Scotia, International Ukulele

Ceilidh, performs and offers workshops. He has made three 10,000 mile tours in a

Toyota motorhome to get to the Nova Scotia gig, stopping in various cities along the way

to give workshops and performances. His workshops in Nova Scotia and California

appeared in

The Mighty Uke movie. He was also selected to present ukulele history in

the movie while standing where the Hawaiian pavilion was located during the Pan Pacific

Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco.

"I believe the highest calling a musician can have is that of

the minstrel who comes to town to entertain and spread

the thoughts folks are having. The ukulele is disarming. A

guy can say what needs to be said and not get hammered

for it. How can you be mad at someone strumming a uke?

It's subversive as hell. Woody Guthrie had a sign on his

guitar, 'This machine kills fascists.' The uke doesn't need a

slogan. It just tickles 'em into a better place."

Dan “Cool Hand Uke” Scanlan •



At Expo 98, Lisbon, Portugal with

Fred Fallin and Alfredo Canopin

Ukuleles for Sanity, Peace March, NYC

Join or login to comment.

  • Patrick B.

    Great evening. Dan sometimes thinks everyone/anyone can do some of the amazing things that he can do on his Ukes. That's OK, challenge to learn quickly then practice later to try and retain. Fun just to watch someone that enjoys what he does as much as Dan. Really nice after workshop, to just relax and enjoy a few songs by qmaster.

    March 24, 2013

  • Stu H.

    Good solid teaching, lots to work on, great idea's on thinking outside the box. Super material for learning the key of Bb, which seems to throw the average ukester. Glad I attended...

    March 24, 2013

  • Pamela T.

    Wish I could come. Sounds like a fun evening

    March 23, 2013

  • Lori F.

    I can't wait!

    March 20, 2013

  • Pamela T.

    I'm pretty sure I can make it. Sounds fun.

    March 17, 2013

  • laurel g

    I will be there excitedly if I am npt in San Fran with my daughter helping her with her birth.....!!

    March 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Does the concert or the workshop start at 7?

    February 26, 2013

    • Stu H.

      Workshop at 7:00, concert at about 8:15-9:00

      March 1, 2013

19 went

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