James Hill, “possibly the best ukulele player in the world” (Waikato Times), and Anne Janelle,“a cellist of true beauty” (Ottawa Citizen) are master instrumentalists, singer-songwriters and all-round entertainers of the highest caliber. James is a dazzling live performer with a genial, low-key sense of humour. Anne brings classical training and musicality along with a folk sensibility in songwriting and lovely vocals. Their performances combine a mix of original compositions that instantly seem like old favorites, astonishing interpretations of classic rock tunes, folk, classical, jazz and blues songs that are nothing less than stunning. Together they conjure a sound that is equal parts intricate, enchanting and engaging: “a crystal clear sound filled with warmth” (Bob Mersereau, CBC Radio).
- Tour Schedule
James Hill and Anne Jannelle - EPK 2018
Voodoo Child (Hendrix Ukulele Cover)
She's Still Got It
If Wishes Were Horses
James Hill and Anne Janelle EPK
Four strings and a favorite chocolate bar: that's all James Hill – “possibly the best ukulele player in the world” (Waikato Times) – and Anne Janelle – “a cellist of true beauty” (Ottawa Citizen) – had in common when they first met. It was more than enough. Today, they're an award-winning, “utterly world-class” singer-songwriter-ukulele-cello duo (Paul Symes, The Blacksheep Inn).
It’s true: opposites attract. James grew up playing folk, jazz and blues on his ukulele while Anne was exclusively a classical cellist. But the pair’s differences quickly became their biggest asset. The uke is high, the cello is low; the uke plays short notes, the cello long bow strokes; the uke is all about strumming while the cello radiates melody. Like shadows and light in an old photograph, these contrasts are complementary. “We’re like a pair of dancers who can’t step on each other’s feet,” jokes James.
Flash back to 2008. Anne was working on her Master’s degree in cello performance at the University of Ottawa while James was wowing crowds with his ukulele wizardry at festivals across North America, on a mission “to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that in the right hands the uke can be a formidable axe” (Ann Arbor News). And then, one email changed the course of their musical lives.
James and Anne were selected to record a track for a compilation album called Classical Ukulele for release in Japan. “If it weren’t for that recording project,” confides Anne, “I don’t think we ever would have started playing together. It just wouldn’t have occurred to us.” Often the most obvious thing is the thing that’s most easily overlooked. “We chose Schubert’s Ave Maria and arranged it for ukulele and cello. We recorded it in a tiny practice cubicle at the university!” The result? “Absolutely brilliant” (The Folk Diary).
Naturally the next step was to release a duo album and, so, True Love Don’t Weep was born. The album garnered a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Traditional Album of the Year in 2009. A mixture of traditional tunes with “fresh vitality” (Country Music People) and, for the first time, original songs, True Love Don’t Weep showcased the duo’s ability “to capture the soul of a song.” (Folk World). By this time, Anne had completed her degree and the pair were performing regularly, bringing their “instinctive musical interaction and contagious enthusiasm” (Ottawa Citizen) to audiences across five continents.
Since True Love Don’t Weep, James and Anne have each released two solo albums each (James’ Man with a Love Song and The Old Silo; Anne’s Beauty Remains and So Long at the Fair) and toured in over 15 countries, making their mark not only as accomplished instrumentalists but also as some of the finest songwriters of their generation.
2016 marks the return of the duo in full force. “We walked our separate musical paths for a while, but I think we both came to realize, each in our own way, that the duo is our strongest musical offering. There is passion, there is diversity, there are many levels with which an audience can engage with our music when it’s not one or the other but both of us.” reveals Anne.
Together, James and Anne craft a sound that is intricate, enchanting and engaging: “a crystal clear sound filled with warmth” (Bob Mersereau, CBC). In concert, James is “a dazzling performer with a genial, low-key sense of humor” (Edmonton Journal) and Anne brings her “gorgeous syrupy voice” (Acoustic Magazine) to songs that are “inventive, entertaining, beautifully written and brilliantly performed” (R2 Magazine).
In short, a night out with James Hill & Anne Janelle is “the perfect evening of tunes, stories and musical virtuosity” (Wellington Dominion-Post).
Please check back soon for James Hill and Anne Janelle's tour schedule.
Tech requirements are the same as our regular duo concert setup.
- "Your skills as a player of the ukulele are a marvel, to be sure... and your teaching talents are well honed. You have a particularly gifted way of inspiring young children and adolescents to focus and do their best." - Blair Lawrence BA BEd MA, Learning Specialist, School District 2, Moncton, NB
- "Wow! You bring the uke to life. It is one thing to be so amazing on the ukulele... but to also connect and bring the magic to the hearts of our young students, that's wonderful." - Chris, Music Teacher
- "I'm super-impressed by your teaching, organization and caring. As an ex-public school music teacher I realize how much you've invested in developing your teaching skills." - Ellie, Retired Music Teacher
Here are some raves from KIDS!
- "I thought that your performance was outstanding. You were awesome. I think everybody wishes you could stay longer." - Kevin, grade 5
- "The music was awesome... You want to dance when you hear James Hill's music." - Katie, grade 3
- "When you were playing I could feel the beat inside. It was amazing." - Hayley, grade 4
- "We really enjoyed your time with us. I didn't think anyone could play AC/DC on the ukulele." - Morgan, grade 7