Category Archives: PLUC News & Info

Southbank Chorus Festival 31 Mar – 6 Apr 2014 – Part 2

Victoria Embankment Gardens Buskers 140405

Victoria Embankment Gardens  - Uke-Wielding Buskers

Off again without my uke for a day of vocal workouts at the Southbank Chorus Festival, as I bought some lunch for later on, I was delighted to spot a group of lively buskers by Victoria Embankment Gardens, with the lead singer wielding a ukulele & dancing around.

As with last year, there were events all over the Southbank complex – on the Riverside Terrace, Front Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, up in the St Paul’s Roof Pavilion, down in the Spirit level basement (very echoey – great acoustics) & dotted around various bar areas.

I’d decided to try out four of the free workshops & listen to whatever choirs I could catch in the gaps.

The song-sharing session by FUNdamentally Gospel split us into our singing range groupings & began with some vocal warm-up exercises. We then learnt the Jackie Wilson number (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher. For one of the choruses, we were singing a syllable each, which certainly kept us on our toes.

Trade Winds Choir Performing On The Riverside Terrace At Chorus 140405

Trade Winds Choir Performing On The Riverside Terrace At Chorus, Southbank

Glee Club Ascot were another jolly group. We warmed -up by singing Let It Be, then – again in groups for our vocal ranges – launched into the Motown classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. In addition to the grand piano, we has a full orchestral accompaniment recording, including a segue into another number for the middle eight & dance moves!

Next, I joined Irish composer John Browne, who was showcasing his new musical play The Events that evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Sparked by the awful killings in Oslo in 2011, the play moves these incidents to happen within a choir rehearsal. The play has 250 singers in it, mostly new each night as they are from the local community where it’s being performed, but a couple of Dublin choirs were there to help us all out. We sang the haunting finale song We’re All Here.

Finally, I went into the Purcell Room for Pitch Bach to be part of an instant choir singing a Bach Chorale accompanied by pedal organ. Chorale 55 from the St Matthew Passion was very pretty but by then I think I was too tired to spend an hour reading a music score (especially as the workshop leader decided to only have us singing ‘la-la’ instead of the actual lyrics, which I’d have found easier to follow). But it did sound great being in the middle of the group.

On my way out, I caught a Latin American performance, with some fine flamenco guitar work from Camilo Menjura, which perked me up before heading home. Not bad for a completely free day out!


Here are Glee Club performing Perfect Day out on the Riverside Terrace:


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Southbank Chorus Festival 31 Mar – 6 Apr 2014

Now in it’s sixth year, the Southbank Chorus Festival is the place to be this week for anyone who enjoys singing or would like the chance to improve their voice.

There are lots of opportunities to take part, with free Voicelab warm-up, drop-in and song-sharing sessions held alongside a diverse programme of performances by different choirs. See the website for more details & my review from last year’s festival to find out more.




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Das macht Spaß!

Bremer Ukulelenorchester Visitors With PLUC Jan 2014

Bremer Ukulelenorchester Visitors With PLUC Jan 2014

This week we had another email from a potential international uke-player who might pop into our club when travelling through London over the summer, which reminded me of the two fun visits we had earlier this year to our club.

Jean & Kugel, from the Bremer Ukulelenorchester arrived to brighten up one cold January night & were a delight to have join us. Both excellent musicians, they played mainly by ear & Jean even played bass for some of the evening (an instrument he said he’s never played before!). They joined some of us down the pub afterwards & have written up their London ukeing trip adventures on their club website under the title London – capital of uke !!!! (scroll down for the article – Google Translate is your friend if you don’t speak German). Do sign their Guestbook to say hello if you visit their site.

Bremer Ukulelenorchester playing a German folk song at the Bremen Maritime Week 2013 – An de Eck Steiht ‘n Jung Mit ‘n Tüddelband:

As always seems to happen, Chris & Rufus knew one of their members, Gerald, a regular at Hollesley.

The Bremer Ukulelenorchester has also had exchange visits with Tobbes Ukuleleorkester from Sweden, which sounds great fun.

The following week we were joined by Peter North, from Yonkers, New York, who’d been in Scotland for a family wedding, then travelled down to London for a few days of sightseeing by day & uke clubs by night! Again, another fine night ensued, with Peter handing round The Turtles’ Happy Together  for us all to play & finished by giving us his swing rendition of Route 66, a song which Chris has subsequently written up for us to use as a barre chord exercise practice piece.

We’ve had a number of out-of-town visitors over the last few years, including several different ones from Australia & the States. So, if you’re holidaying or temporarily working in London & fancy popping in on a Tues eve for a free jamming session, do get in touch.

You’ll be most welcome!


Tobbes Ukuleleorkester Meets Bremer Ukulelenorchester – Jean Sings The Wild Rover:

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Posted by on March 22, 2014 in PLUC News & Info


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Happy 2014!

As usual, WordPress have sent us a report to show how the site has done over the last year. And if statistics aren’t your thing, do grab our free 2014 PLUC calendar, which contains a handy Circle Of Fifths (our full-sized transposing tool is available here).

  • Our website relaunch in June 2012 saw us get 17,000 views that year & a busiest day of Boxing Day 2012 (178 views).
  • By the end of 2013, our site had been viewed a further 40,000 times, with the top day being Dec 22 (377 hits), when people were busy checking on PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – The Vote.
  • We receive visitors from 125 countries worldwide, mainly from the UK but with the USA & Australia not far behind.
  • On the Top 100 Ukulele Sites, we’re rated as number 32 & on Boat Paddle’s Top Uke Sites we’re number 64, which isn’t bad considering we have stiff international competition.
PLUC Stats 2013 - Attractions

PLUC Stats 2013 – Most Popular Posts

View the complete 2013 report to see our most popular posts & from where our visitors find us.

(Here are the 2012 & 2011 ones for comparison to see how much the site has grown.)

All the best for 2014 everyone & happy ukeing!



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New Uke For Xmas?

English: A Kohala Seminary student poses with ...

English: A Kohala Seminary student poses with her ukulele in this 1912 photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, if you’ve just received a new ukulele for Christmas, check out last year’s tips for handy resources, beginners’ sites & local groups (or come & join our free weekly sessions if you’re in London, Kent or Surrey).

If you’re looking to buy a uke, see our guide to good starter instruments. And do check round this site for plenty of articles on playing tips and other useful free websites.

And if you just want to enjoy a bit of uke fun, try out the Ukulele Hunt’s annual Xmas Quiz.

We’re back strumming at the Lewis Club on Tue 7 Jan 2014.



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Christmas Strumalong 2013

The final club night of the year was our annual Christmas Strumalong at the Jolly Farmers pub, attended by a select number of the group – Anthony, Bob, Chris, Colin, Dan, Ed, James, Jeanette, Jos, Kev, Imogen, Maish, Rufus, Steve & Tina.

As usual, we’d circulated Xmas songs in early Dec & had deliberated at the preceding club night which ones to avoid, I mean play, on the night.

We entertained the pub with our regular PLUC tunes plus a smattering of Christmas numbers to the small but appreciative audience. As ever, we finished with the best song: Mele Kalikimaka.

A time to welcome all the lovely new members who’ve joined us this year; remember all our PLUC absent friends (hoping to see them again very soon); & to say a couple of farewells: to Anthony – moving out of London & will hopefully final a new local group to attend  - & Imogen – another newbie who may be working away for a few months in the New Year & said she’d miss us all.

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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – The Vote

The nominations for 2013 have now all been posted. Here are the two categories, for the public vote by club members & our blog readers. Please see our recent PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 entries for the YouTubes & more info on the nominated sites.

The polls will close on 30 Dec 2013  so the winners can be announced on New Year’s Eve. Happy voting!


NB The polls are now closed. Thank you to all our club members who selected nominations & to everyone who participated in the voting. Results are available here.

1) Best Ukulele Website Of 2013 - Poll

1) Best Ukulele Website Of 2013 – Poll

2) Best Ukulele Song Of 2013 - Poll

2) Best Ukulele Song Of 2013 – Poll


Posted by on December 21, 2013 in PLUC News & Info


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December 2013 Club Nights

Ukulele Holiday Gift Tags (papercraft freebie)

Ukulele Holiday Gift Tags (papercraft freebie) (Photo credit: Buz Carter)

Please note the following arrangements for our club nights around Christmas:

Tue 10 Dec Lewis Club. Please bring Xmas Songbooks, as we’ll be playing some numbers from those in addition to our regular PLUC repertoire. (Songs are up in the PLUC Box – in the Xmas Songsheets and New & Try-out Songs. Look out for a new version of Mele Kalikimaka containing extra tinsel in the next day or two.)

Tue 17 Dec Jolly Farmers pub. Again, we’ll play some Christmas numbers as well as our standard tunes.

Tue 24 Dec Xmas Eve & Tue 31 Dec New Year’s Eve – XMAS BREAK.

We return to the Lewis Club on Tue 7 Jan 2014.

For recent members, do make sure you’re up-to-date with printing out our songs, as we’re likely to be joined by a fresh batch of folk in the New Year. It’s easier for sharing music if most of us have copies handy. Thanks.


Posted by on December 8, 2013 in PLUC News & Info, Uke Night


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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Chloe

One of our newest members, Chloe, had this to say:

My favourite uke song this week is Radiohead’s Creep Amanda Palmer‘s version on the uke… it makes me laugh.  And I can actually play it!

PS If you’ve not already heard it, you might want to check out Amanda Palmer’s Ukulele Anthem.


Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Members' Items, PLUC News & Info


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Gigs With Ukes 4

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. Read the rest of this entry »


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