James Hill (Canadian musician)

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James Hill
James Hill and Anne Janelle conducting a workshop.jpg
Background information
Born1980 (age 41–42)
GenresFolk, blues
Occupation(s)Musician, educator
Years active2002–present

James Hill (born 1980) is a Canadian classically trained musician who has focused on the ukulele, both as his primary instrument and as a method of music instruction for school children. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia.

Music education[edit]

As a child, Hill benefited from a ukulele instructional program created by J. Chalmers Doane as shared in Teacher's Guide to Classroom Ukulele, 1977. The British Columbia school used Doane's system to teach music, and as a result, the Langley Ukulele Ensemble came into existence. Hill participated in the ensemble for over ten years.[1]

Hill envisioned creating a program to help spread this instrument and upon meeting Doane, they collaborated to create the "Ukulele in the Classroom" program in 2008.[2]

Hill seldom makes a concert appearance without also conducting workshops. He has taught throughout Canada[3] and the United States, as well as in Europe, Japan, Singapore[4] and New Zealand.[5][6] He regularly lectures at the Queen's School of Music in Kingston, Ontario and has been a guest instructor at the Ukulele and Slack Key Guitar Institute held in Waimea, Hawaii each year.


Ukulele player James Hill sitting on stage with a prepared ukulele (modified with a chopstick) on his lap.
James Hill playing a prepared ukulele in New Zealand in 2011

Traveling throughout the world, Hill has played such venues as The Kennedy Center in July 2009[7] and The 40th Ukulele Festival in Hawaii.[8]

He appeared at the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain in summer 2013.[9]

He also appeared at the 10th anniversary Ukulele Hooley festival in August 2019 at Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. Ukulele Hooley is Europe’s longest running ukulele festival. [10]

Hill plays a variety of ukuleles; he has several Mike DaSilva custom made ukuleles, all with spruce tops, as well as a Mya Moe Tenor and a Beltona Resonator.[11]


In 2009, Hill collaborated with Anne Janelle (formerly Anne Davison) on cello and created the CD True Love Don't Weep. The Album won the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards Traditional Album of the Year.[12]

In 2015, his album The Old Silo was nominated for the Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – Solo.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Currently Hill lives in Nova Scotia with his wife and touring partner Anne Janelle and their son.[14] They were married on 21 September 2013.[15]


  • Playing it Like it Isn't (2002)
  • On the Other Hand (2003)
  • Fantasy For Ukulele (exclusively released in Japan) (2005)
  • A Flying Leap – Borealis Recording (13 June 2006)
  • True Love Don't Weep (collaboration with Anne Davison) – Linus Entertainment – (11 August 2009) 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards Traditional Album of the Year
  • Man with a Love Song – Borealis Recording (11 October 2011)
  • The Old Silo – Borealis Recording (16 September 2014)


  • Ukulele in the Classroom – James Hill Ukulele Method Series, Book I – by James Hill & J. Chalmers Doane, Crystal Lake Media (2008) ISBN 978-0980932607
  • Ukulele in the Classroom – James Hill Ukulele Method Series, Book II – by James Hill & J. Chalmers Doane, Crystal Lake Media (2008)
  • Ukulele in the Classroom – James Hill Ukulele Method Series, Book III – by James Hill & J. Chalmers Doane, Crystal Lake Media (2008)
  • The Ukulele Way - Book 1 by James Hill ISBN 978-0-9868536-2-3
  • The Ukulele Way - Book 2 by James Hill ISBN 978-0-9868536-4-7
  • The Ukulele Way - Book 3 by James Hill ISBN 978-0-9868536-6-1
  • The Ukulele Way - Book 4 by James Hill ISBN 978-0-9868536-8-5
  • The Ukulele Way - Book 5 by James Hill ISBN 978-1-927726-00-6
  • The Ukulele Way - Book 6 by James Hill ISBN 978-1-927726-02-0
  • Jumpin' Jim's Ukulele Masters: James Hill — Duets For One, Flea Market Music, Inc.,(2017) ISBN 978-1540003041


  1. ^ Tranquada, Jim (2012). The Ukulele: a History. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 160–162. ISBN 978-0-8248-3544-6.
  2. ^ "Ukulele in the Classroom". Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Vancouver International Children's Festival presents James Hill – Ukulele Magic", Tickets Tonight, 2013
  4. ^ Perera, Loretta, "Gig review: James Hill – 'Ukulele... seriously'", Time Out Singapore, 19 August 2010
  5. ^ Scherer, Julie, "Turning the uke into an axe", Fairfax NZ News, 11 February 2013
  6. ^ Mackenzie, Dene, "Review: Ukulele Orchestra and James Hill thrill captivated audience", Otago Daily Times, 11 March 2013
  7. ^ Kennedy Center – James Hill Archived 13 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Bitter Sweet Music,Honolulu Star Advertiser 2010
  9. ^ Ukulele Festival of Great Britain 2013 Line Up Archived 25 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Ukulele Hooley 2019 Line Up Archived 17 August 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ James Hill, pp. 30–34, Ukulele Issue 2, Spring 2013 Archived 7 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards
  13. ^ Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – Solo Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Juno Awards.
  14. ^ "Anne Janelle - Bio". annejanelle.com. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  15. ^ Tetanish, Raissa, "Brookfield musicians bringing their sounds home" Archived 30 June 2013 at archive.today, Truro Daily News, 24 April 2013

External links[edit]