U-Space ʻUkulele Instructors
U-Space instructors come from a variety of backgrounds. While each teacher has their own style, we all share the same music and teaching philosophy: that the fun, accessible, and portable ʻUkulele is the perfect instrument on which to learn and apply music theory concepts. Our U-Space instructors were each invited to teach at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as part of the Music Center of Los Angeles’ Active Arts Program.
Instructor: Jason Arimoto
Originally from Hawaii, Los Angeles-based Jason Arimoto, also known on YouTube as “facemeltingukulele,” is a featured artist on the Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning album, Abe Lagrimas Jr. and friends Solo ʻUkulele: The King of Pop and is a two-time winner of the ʻUkulele Underground Award for Best Vocal Performance of the Year. He has attracted a following for his blues ʻUkulele covers of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” and John Mayer’s “Gravity,” which was featured as one of Jake Shimabukuro’s top picks on the front page of YouTube in 2011. His original music blends his island roots with reggae and blues, with soulful vocals combining with a bluesy ʻukulele tone. Jason has performed across the U.S. including the Bean Blossom Blues Festival in Indiana and the world famous Viper Room in Hollywood, California as well as internationally at the Cairns Ukulele Festival in Australia. Jason performs weekly at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, California.
In addition to his work as a solo artist, Jason performs in an ʻukulele-percussion duo with percussionist Brad Ranola. Jason and Brad have performed at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel and at McCormick and Schmick’s at the Anaheim GardenWalk.
Jason is also one of the original members of the Los Angeles based reggae/blues/rock band, JMD. Formed in 2008, JMD has attracted a loyal following for their inventive fusion of Bob Marley, Sublime, and Jimi Hendrix using three part harmonies and three instruments: an ʻukulele, bass and drums. JMD performs weekly at Watermans in Hermosa Beach, California.
Jason’s interest in ʻukulele and music education inspired his own line of PHD (Premium High-Density) ʻukulele strings. Optimized for playability without sacrificing tone and sustain, PHD strings are designed for beginning ʻukulele players and professionals alike, and are endorsed by six-time Grammy award winner, Daniel Ho. PHD strings are available at U-Space, Anacapa Ukulele and other ʻukulele retail locations.
Instructor: Nani Edgar
Nani Edgar, daughter of Kumu Hula Sylvia Puananihaʻaheo Edgar, is an exquisite hula dancer and a budding singer/songwriter. Well versed in classic hula repertoire, Nani furthers the tradition by performing her mother!s original choreographies of contemporary music. Her captivating hula and sweet voice add a refreshing touch to Grammy winner Daniel Ho's performances. Nani is the hula dancer in the “Aloha ʻOe” Hawaiian Airlines music video with Grammy winner Tia Carrere.
Nani started her career at the age of 4 and became a Kumu Hula at the age of 14. She has participated in multiple hula competitions and performances. She has been an ʻukulele and guitar instructor for 8 years. Nani has recorded 3 CDs with Kulia I Ka Punawai and is a member of NARAS. She was an assistant engineer on the Grammy winning Hawaiian Album, “Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, vol. 2”.
Nani released her first solo cd album, East of Maui, in April 2012. Along with a multitude of other performances as a solo hula dancer, Nani has danced hula on the Grammy Museum, ASCAP, and the NAMM Show stages. Nani has toured with Daniel Ho throughout California, Chicago, and Hokkaido, Japan. Nani had the great opportunity to work with movie composers Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders on the Soul Surfer movie (2011) soundtrack. "She was one of the Hawaiian vocal artists on the movie score. Nani recently graduated from Cal State University Channel Islands with a degree in History.
Instructor: Brad Ranola
Brad Ranola has worked worldwide as a professional musician since 1997 and has been teaching music slightly longer. Steeped deeply in the tradition of classical percussion, his playing also employs elements of Cuban, Brazilian, and West African music. This melting pot is where Brad has concocted a unique sound and style. It's this sound that has given him the opportunity to share stages with jazz greats such as Faye Carol and the late Louie Bellson as well as Latin Jazz All-star, Pete Escovedo.
His teaching style combines both traditional classical methods and informal styles, making for a thorough and fun music education.