One of our newest members, Chloe, had this to say:
PS If you’ve not already heard it, you might want to check out Amanda Palmer’s Ukulele Anthem.
Sunday 29th September’s Ukulele Cabaret & Workshop at The Albany, Deptford, was a great night. First was Tricity Vogue, hosting the evening. She has an infectious personality, great voice and music ability.
Moving onto Ewan Wardrop, who did a George Formby impersonation, playing Fanlight Fanny and Riding In The T T Races, then completing his set with a couple of his own comedy songs. I personally thought his own material was best with a new slant on the children’s song about Five Little Ducks that went out to play.
Then Nick Browning, who led the ukulele workshop that afternoon, was joined on stage with our very own Rufus Yells, who performed several numbers, including Doctor Jazz. With Nick’s picking and Rufus’ strumming and vocals they make a well balanced duo. Tricity came back on with another set so that those who had ukuleles with them could join in.
Crazy Rhythm, from last year’s Ukulele Cabaret (L to R – Nick Browning, Rufus Yells & Tricity Vogue):
The next act was The Sugar Sisters, who are a close harmony trio (a bit like the Andrew sisters) with one ukulele for accompaniment. They are a lot better looking in person than their publicity picture and have great voices.
The pièce de résistance was the Albany All Stars (made up of those uke players who’d turned up to the workshop, many of whom were beginners), joining all the previous acts on stage for a medley of songs that were practised at the workshop that afternoon.
I am sure all that came had a brilliant night out and already a couple of the people from the workshop have joined our Tuesday evening at PLUC for further practice.
The Sugar Sisters, performing Everybody Wants To Be a Cat:
On Sunday 29 September, Tricity Vogue‘s Ukulele Cabaret & Workshop returns to The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, London SE8 4AG. It’s £7 for show only, £12 for workshop & show. The workshop runs 4.30 – 6.30pm, show 7 – 9pm.
The grand finale will be a mass performance by the Albany All Stars – everyone who’s just attended that afternoon’s workshop will play a huge group medley.
I attended last year & it was great fun! The workshop splits you into beginners & more advanced – some people had never touched a uke before. It’s a good way of finding out what it’s like to perform in front of an audience (I can just be spotted at the back in the videos!).
Bring your own uke &, if you have one, music stand (so you’re more comfortable looking at the music – we were in a room without tables last time).
This week sees the fifth anniversary of PLUC’s inauguration. The first meeting was arranged by Simon on 22 July 2008 and we’ve been going from strength to strength.
There are a number of other London-based uke clubs but we like to think of ourselves as the friendliest & most welcoming, especially to beginners. Lots of people have come & gone over the years. We currently have around twenty-five to thirty regular members who join us for our weekly strumalongs in The Lewis Club, with more people turning up to try us out nearly every week!
In addition to this website, which contains a growing number of articles & resources, we also have some members’ only areas where folk can listen to & watch our rehearsals, plus have access to further instructional items. Everyone involved in running the club gives up their time voluntarily – it’s a real collective with people sharing their musical expertise, arranging songs for us to play, making recordings, writing web entries etc. Not bad for free!
We’re aware from our international visitors that they have to fork out for sizeable membership subscriptions & often pay the club organisers to run things. We’re proud of being accessible to all, as we realise that not everyone can afford the extra money for a night out. Particularly as we’re in London, there’s a lot of demand for open practice sessions, & it’s unusual to pay for clubs in the capital.
To mark the celebration, Simon thought we should play the Noah & The Whale track, Five Years Time. I’ve slightly adapted it to produce a Five Years Time – PLUC Version, which should include many familiar features to our members. If we do play it at a club night, I hope to hear those of you who can, whistle, & see the rest doing the 5YT dance (as shown in the official video).
So, today is exactly a year since I took on the PLUC webmaster role & made my inaugural post.
The site had been running since Dec 2010, with a handful of posts, 6 followers & under 5,000 hits. After a quick makeover & a healthy dose of bad puns picked by me, we now have 79 followers, close to 39,500 hits and are numbers 81 & 28 in the Top 50 & Top 100 ukulele sites respectively.
Advertising PLUC through the site & through other on-line sources means we now have around 25 regular members, all in different stages of learning the uke – from our experts Chris & Rufus to newest members Dian & Anthony, who’d barely picked up the ukulele before they came along!
We’ve tried to cover a wide range of topics in the blog: uke history & trivia; resources & useful sites (particularly for beginners); interesting & unusual uke cover versions; music theory & more. I always find it interesting to find the different stories behind how folk came to start playing: we have a growing number of PLUC Tales as people share their stories.
It’s hugely enjoyable researching & finding new sites to mention. Many have already been featured or will be mentioned in upcoming entries. However, I’ll leave you with one of the most inspiring blogs I’ve seen: workingdraft - where Laurie writes about her work in India with survivors of human trafficking. She initially took out twenty Dolphin ukuleles in March this year & has been teaching groups of women to play the uke. Her latest post relates that the first batch have now been restored to their homes & families, returning with a new uke & a pile of music.
Happy strumming everyone & here’s to the next year of blogging!
Other PLUC Tales: A Tale Of Two Ukuleles – Tina; The First Rule Of Uke Club… – Anthony; Ron’s Progress; Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World… – Jos; From Classical To PLUC – Andrew; A History Of The Ukulele – And Its Part In My Downfall – James; Santa Rides Again – Alan F; Steph’s Story; Ron’s Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome; Uncle Ron’s Legacy… – Wee Kheng; Dan’s Story; Five Years & Loving It – Simon; My Ukulele Origins… – Rufus; Why Ed Started Playing The Ukulele; Ron’s Song; It’s Been A Year… – Jeanette
Just ten minutes’ walk from our regular club practice location at The Lewis Club, Lewisham Hospital, Saturday’s Midsummer Fayre is on top of Hilly Fields, Brockley with great views of London all around.
The fayre raises funds for the Brockley Society, to improve the local conservation area. In addition to the usual arts & crafts stands, Save Lewisham Hospital stall, fairground attractions & a nail-biting,knobbly knees competition, this year you can spot our latest flyers on PLUC member Jacqueline’s stall.
Already an established guitar tutor, Jacqueline first joined us as a ukulele novice & has now started teaching children the uke. If you’re at the fayre, do look out for her & say hi!
A perfect example of the above motto of the Sydney North Ukulele Gang (SNUGs), here’s the winning uke-based video from a recent The Wrecking Crew cover version competition, by the Los Angeles group, Ukelele Orchestra of the Western Hemisphere.
TUOWH have a lot of fun with the whole group singing a line each of the Ronettes’ 1963 hit Be My Baby, penned by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich: