Vancouver Ukulele Festival at St. James Hall

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      Anybody whose ears haven’t been numbed and mind dumbed by 24/7 sledgehammering beats will know that the ukulele—in the same diabolical and dangerous Far Side category as the banjo, accordion, and nose flute—is riding high in the western world as the “in” folk instrument. Vancouver is home to many of its finest practitioners, who’ll all be plucking off and strumming over sound holes at the fifth annual Vancouver Ukulele Festival this Saturday and Sunday (March 8 and 9) at St. James Hall, with workshops each day. Saturday night’s concert features Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Aaron Keim, Ralph Shaw, Ruby & Smith, and Guido Heistek. It promises quick trips to Hawaii and Blackpool beach for the winter-weary.