HARVARD -- Eddie Vedder does it. Train does it. Even Tiny Tim did it.
There is just no getting away from the ukulele.
Once regarded as a novelty instrument, the little four-string instrument now has a dedicated group of followers.
The Ukulele Union, headquartered in Harvard, unites diverse groups of ukesters throughout central New England.
"It draws a certain type of person," founder Danno Sullivan said, "a friendly and maybe gregarious person."
Sullivan began playing the uke when he lived in Los Angeles, sort of by accident after buying one for his child.
"My daughter wouldn't play it," he said. So, being a fan of old-time music, he did.
"It was really a fun thing," he said.
Then the family left the west to move to what they believed was the "cradle of culture," Massachusetts.
Alas, Sullivan could only find one uke group around Boston, and they were not really open to outsiders. So, he created his own community.
"I arrived with a bang. I hooked up with the Cambridge Center to teach classes. A lot of folks come to my classes now," Sullivan said.
He formed the Ukulele Union, with branches in Boston and Harvard. The Harvard group was one of the first groups to use the Center on the Common, the old library, for meetings.
Socially and musically, the endeavor is a success.
The new residents met some of their neighbors through the club. Selectman Tim Clark became a regular. More than 300 people are on
New ukulele groups spun off. People get together to strum in Salem and in New Hampshire under the umbrella of the Ukulele Union.
The Harvard branch meets twice a month and welcomes everyone, but get-togethers can be irregular in the summer.
"It's open to people of all skill levels. It gives the beginners something to strive for," Sullivan said.
"What the advanced guys get out of it, they have a chance to play, to show off a little bit. They come from the show-off circle," he said.
Club members sometimes get together to perform at different venues; during holiday festivities or for charity events.
Maybe it is the people who choose to play the instrument, or the music that is played on the instrument, but people come out of the woodwork to play together, Sullivan said.
After all, "all the best uke music is either about sunshine or moonlight. That's a valid blanket statement," he said.
Members of the Ukulele Union will take part in the Ukulele Melee, July 21, in Kittery, Maine and will perform at the Groton Farmers Market Aug. 10 at 4 p.m.
For more information on classes in Shirley and Harvard, contact Danno Sullivan at tenassistants.gmail.com.