Friday, 19 April 2013

Birthday, played by Paul Hemmings

The first time we met June, our meeting hostess, was at the Paul Hemmings Uketet show last summer. During the performance it came out that Paul was once a local, attending school and working in the music store here.

He's also an energetic and enthusiastic instructor at ukulele festivals. If you ever get a chance to hear his group play or to take a class from him, grab it.

Here he plays The Beatle's Birthday with characteristic liveliness. By strange coincidence, most of us were born in spring; but this goes out especially to June, turning 80 today and a ukulele player for more than 60 years!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Ukulele Weekend

Is it that it's spring, or that ukuleles are becoming ever more popular? Whatever the reason, this past weekend was full of ukulele fun around here.

First there was a performance by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, preceded by a free courtyard concert featuring Uni and Her Ukulele, as well as a short practice of the UOGB's current playalong piece, Relentlessly in C.
Meri's tip: carry a clothespin in your uke case, and you can create a music stand out of anything—or anyone
The Ukes themselves were incredible fun as well as skilled performers. And though there weren't enough players in the audience to make Relentlessly in C the mass event it might have been, it was still an experience.

The rest of the weekend was spent at the Reno Uke Fest attending workshops, performances and playalongs. Songs and mouth trumpet lessons from Victoria Vox, workshops with Fred Sokolow and the Luongos, luthiers and other vendors. Our friend David Iriguchi, whom we met at Reno last year, was exhibiting with his Maui-born father and ukulele performer Shaka at his booth:
At one point, a man walked up to show David his mother's Manuel Nunes ukulele. Apparently his mother had studied at College of the Pacific in the 30s and 40s, where she spent a lot of time with family friends who bequeathed her the ukulele they had acquired during their time in Hawaii. She later passed it on to her son, who was enjoying his 90-year-old instrument quite a bit:

Wandering around the vendor area, I spotted this interesting double-ukulele backpack case and took a photo. It turned out to belong to Victoria Vox herself, signing CDs at her booth.
It was a fun three days, and it was also exhausting. The great thing about an ukulele group is that even though no one was able to attend everything the weekend had to offer, enough of us went to enough events that we can share with each other over the course of the next several meetings. That should keep us busy for quite awhile.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain's Audience Playalong: Relentlessly in C

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is on a big US tour, and some of us plan to catch them when they come through our area. The program website tells us that there will be a playalong before the show. The piece is Relentlessly in C, which the Ukes recorded backstage in response to fan requests:

They have also published notes on the piece here, along with the tab here

And here are audio files of the different parts.

So grab the music, listen and learn—and we'll see you at the show.