Photo |  Sara Hughes

Photo | Sara Hughes

Hanna Cesario, has redefined the way we think of the ukulele.  She brings forward a refreshing approach to a timeless instrument and genre.  The ears of her listeners perk up whenever she starts to play.  She dives deep into every song giving purpose to each phrase, each note, each word, and everything in-between.  Hanna says, “I love finding a new chart and getting familiar with it: dissecting it, twisting it around, playing with the strumming patterns and vocal inflections, exploring the lyrics to find that precise emotion to expose, and then putting it back together again to form my own interpretation…the composers and musicians of the jazz era have captured a lyric and style that gives me a thrill to perform.” 

Hanna graduated from the University of MN Duluth in 2012 with a BA in Vocal Music.  Although she studied classically she found herself always going back to jazz.  At the end of her 4th year she picked up a friends ukulele and started teaching herself how to play.  She found the ukulele and its delightful simplicity to be the perfect pairing for her sweet, clear, melodic voice.  Her solo music career didn’t start to blossom until after she graduated, and for the following two years the Duluth music scene opened its doors giving Hanna the opportunities she needed to pursue a career in music.   

In 2015 she produced and published her first Jazz album full of her own arrangements of favorite standards and one original.

Continuing her education in the summer of 2018, Hanna completed the Piano Tuning and Repair course at the MN School of Piano Technology, and is now an associate member of the Piano Technicians Guild.

Hanna is currently based in Mankato, MN.  During the week she tunes piano’s teaches private voice, ukulele, and piano lessons at Scheitel’s Music and Kato Music Lessons.  And on the weekends you can find her performing solo or with the Dan Duffy Orchestra—a five piece Hot Club Jazz band; with Jazz 10—a ten piece dance band; or sharing the stage at the Coffee Hag with her students.


The Dan Duffy Orchestra is an exciting new group from Mankato, Minnesota performing swing and Hot Club music from the 20’s on up to today. A large part of their repertoire consists of original tunes which blend in nicely with their style. The group consists of Paul Horrisberger on acoustic bass, who has an extensive history playing bluegrass with Dick Kimmel and others. Fiddle player Marti Ryan teaches at MSU and in her busy schedule performs with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra. On tenor and soprano saxophone is Frank Cesario who for many years has worked with Big Band jazz groups. Hanna Cesario who plays ukulele is a super-talented young jazz singer. Tom Bierer adds horns to the group while also teaching music at the New Ulm Cathedral High School. Dan Edw. Duffy has been playing blues and rock since the 60’s with groups like City Mouse, Mary Jane Alm and Mankato’s own Gestures of “Run, Run, Run” fame. The melding of all these styles and influences creates an exciting and fun listening and dancing experience.

Left to Right: Dan Duffy, Frank Cesario, Tom Bierer, Marty Ryan, Hanna Cesario, and Paul Horrisberger.

Left to Right: Dan Duffy, Frank Cesario, Tom Bierer, Marty Ryan, Hanna Cesario, and Paul Horrisberger.