Friday, 27 June 2014

The Hawaiian theme went down a treat! More from the Uke Fest GB 2014

They'd got Taimane from Hawaii to top the bill - they'd got Craig Chee... so a Hawaiian theme for Uke Fest GB 2014 was a must. We had the weather, we had the music. We had the mood... a Hawaiian Ukafrolic in all but place!

Here are my mates, father and son Mark and Jim Watson... capturing the mood just beautifully, don't you think? It was great to see them again...

And here's another uke-pal Simon Grove (officially "Best Dressed Man"!) with Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee! The girl behind them is holding Sarah's de Silva Special ukulele, with the guinea-pig headstock... I had a hold of that, too... beautiful thing!

Craig Chee opened up the Saturday night concert, and brought Sarah on stage to join him. The songs they did together made one of the most heart-warming performances I've ever seen, their on-stage chemistry is perfect. Could be something to do with the fact that their off-stage chemistry is perfect, too!

For example - just watch this, a highlight of their performance together that evening..

Video by courtesy of Ed Doherty

Wonderful, just wonderful!

More to come... thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

In The Money with the Hot Potato Syncopators at Uke Fest GB 2014

The Saturday Night concert at the Uke Fest GB in Cheltenham was a blast from start to finish. The second act to appear was the band the Hot Potato Syncopators.

I'd never seen then before, but as soon as they came on stage in their suits with tails, I knew they'd be doing my kind of music - songs from the 20's, 30's and 40's, and doing it well.. but I wasn't prepared for the comedy... they were hilarious and fully deserved their standing ovation! Featuring two ukuleles and a teachest bass, and three of the most talented musical comedians I've ever seen, this band should be seen more!

Please watch and enjoy the Hot Potato Syncopators in their fabulous finale to their act, "We're In The Money"... video and photo courtesy of The Hot Potato Syncopators

And yes - I did catch some!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Uke-Fest GB 2014 - the Big Busk - a mass Ukafrolic!

The midsummer sun shone obligingly down from a clear blue sky, as we gathered with our ukuleles in the Imperial Gardens on Sunday morning, ready to hold a Big Busk outside Waterstones bookshop ... but a last-minute "Health & Safety" hitch over use of their balcony for the PA meant that the Big Busk stayed right where it was, on the lawn in the Imperial Gardens behind Cheltenham Town Hall. A much nicer spot for everyone to play anyway, I thought - as you'll see from my little video!

The Hawaiian theme was well in evidence from all the Hawaiian shirts and flower garlands sported by the ukers! And there was no shortage of dazzling costume hats, deely-boppers and sunglasses, all adding to the festival atmosphere. There were visitors from California and New Jersey, Australia, to name but a few of the foreign countries represented... and Hawaii was represented here by Craig Chee! Spot him on the stage here with Sarah Maisel, during "Making Love Ukulele-Style"!

And here's a grand photo, courtesy of Craig Chee!

A mass Ukufrolicking Busk that even managed to better last year's, in every respect! How that can bettered next year, I don't know, but I do know that they'll try!

Thanks for dropping in - I think I've just about recovered from all the fun!

Coming up, ASAP - the concerts and the new addition to the family, bought at the uke-fest - new uke!

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain 2014 - The Ukafrolics came thick and fast!

LSH (Long-Suffering-Husband)at last decided that he'd suffered enough and dispatched me to the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain alone, with his blessing. Dear reader, do not kid yourself that "everyone loves the ukulele... they don't! And at a big uke-fest, it's very full-on uke. Well, he missed a treat at the Saturday night concert, but more about that later.

I wrote last time about the world-wide uke community that is the Ukulele Underground Forum, and the fun that some of us have with the Seasons of the Ukulele contests. Those who take part are known as Seasonistas! I have a go from time to time, if I can find both the time and a song... in the results of Season 116 (Tin Pan Alley) I actually got a "shout-out" from Eugeneukulele (host that week, from Tasmania) in the results video! That was lovely... I'd done "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"..)

You get to know the faces and "handles" of regular contributors. At Last year's festival, I wore my UU tee-shirt and as a result met Paul Redfern, one of the p'Ukes. This year, I recognised UkeyDave from his Seasons videos, and now that's another Seasonista that I've met!

So, here we are, UkeyDave and I, a contribution for the UU Forum thread "Seasonistas jamming with Seasonistas" not exactly jamming, as I'm not playing, just singing...

My apprehension shines out like a beacon!

That was just one Ukafrolic of several....

Coming up, a bit of the Big Busk; the new addition to my family of ukuleles, (I swear the fastest uke purchase I've ever made!) And - I'll be telling you about the concerts and the workshops I attended. Gold, pure gold.....

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Seasonistas Anthem, Ukulele Underground Forum - a Mega-Ukafrolic!

Adapted for the Seasons of the Ukulele
of the Forum

It's so good to be part of a ukulele community, people who share your love of the instrument. I take part in no less than four uke communities; James Hill's The Ukulele Way, which I jumped aboard and told you about yesterday, being the fourth. If you are a regular reader, (and thank you, if you are!) you'll know that I'm a keen member of the George Formby Society here in England, where LSH (Long-Suffering-Husband)and I have made a lot of friends. I often post about their meetings and conventions, and feature Formby players here and in the States. A local ukulele group Go Ukulele Crazy is another uke community that I belong to. They meet weekly to play and sing songs, and do concerts around the area. And then there's the Ukulele Underground Forum.

The UU Forum was the first uke community that I joined. A great bunch of people, so friendly and willing to help others and offer good advice... a couple of years ago, one of the members encouraged me to start taking part in the Seasons of the Ukulele contests, where one member in turn suggests a theme for songs, and folk find a song and send in a video. All great fun. And someone wins. The whole thing is a great confidence builder, when it comes to performance, singing and playing, and getting used to being video'd. And seeing yourself on video is great self-feedback about what you're doing right, and what you need to work on!

And now, the video above - what a fantastic Ukafrolic is that! So many of the folk playing there are my internet friends and I have even skyped with one or two! The editing job is simply stupendous, don't you agree? I love the addition of drums, glockenspiel, kazoo, and the recorder was a nice surprise! Lovely sound from Geoff there!

As I'm trying to get ready for my next Ukafrolic, the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain in Cheltenham (from tomorrow) I'll publish this post with no further ado!

Thanks for dropping in.... keep on strumming!