Tonight sees the Eurovision Song Contest. Be prepared for plenty of cheesy numbers; sarcastic commentary & the usual regional block voting! Here is Jeff Meechai’s cover of the UK’s 1967 winning entry from Sandie Shaw, Puppet On A String:
Tag Archives: Ukulele
Leaving my ukulele at home, I journeyed to London’s Southbank to enjoy a day of singing by the Thames on the opening day of the Chorus Festival, the start of this year’s Festival of Neighbourhood.
After some fun vocal warm-up exercises, we adjourned to the Queen Elizabeth Hall to practice three songs to sing en masse down on the Riverside Terrace to launch the Festival: Purcell’s Come, Ye Sons of Art; Jerusalem (Blake/Parry) & the Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset. We were accompanied by a brass band on the upper stage & it was very moving being part of such a large group. The rain managed to hold off until the final few bars of the last song & you may spot people’s hoods going up in the video!
Various events were dotted in & around the Royal Festival & Queen Elizabeth Halls for the remainder of the day.There were around twenty separate choirs giving free performances. Additionally, various choirs ran Trading Station sessions, where you could drop in & learn a few songs with them.
The London Forest Choir, were up in St Paul’s Roof Pavilion, where I enjoyed sight-singing some of musical director Jonathan Rathbone’s arrangements of classical music & old standards (thanks to the woman who kindly shared her music with me!).
I then delved down to the RFH basement, where the echoey acoustics were superb for an uplifting session with Trade Winds. We learnt intricate harmonies of African & Serbian songs by ear. Emerging upstairs to the Clore Ballroom, I was met with a blast of Mr Blue Sky from nearly two hundred dancing members of the Rock Choir, who performed several more excellent numbers. More vocal warm-ups to wake us all up, the audience then joined in with providing backing harmonies for the final Saturday Showcase of an ad-hoc choir brought together for the day.
In all, it was a really useful & entertaining day, giving good tips on the different techniques between singing formal classical numbers, pop & rock songs & musical theatre. I kept bumping into the same friendly participants, despite the large number of folk involved, so hello to them if they read this blog!.
I’d definitely recommend an event like this to anyone wanting to improve their vocal skills & confidence in singing in public.
While I have not had the opportunity to attend club, I still strum the ukulele every day and recently purchased my most expensive instrument so far. A Kala Travel Uke, model SSL WTU 1005. This was purchased purely for its looks and I had to buy it.
A slimline uke with spruce top and lacewood back and sides, this created a conflict. Which do I love the best: my new travel uke, a real pleasure to play and great quality, or my Flea? Strangely enough, my Flea came out tops and I decided I like this best. I might of course be shot down in flames for saying so but that’s how it is. Simon will be delighted, LOL.
As for the Kala. In order for me to love it better, I decided to try D’Addario strings which failed miserably regards sound and were ultimately changed to Aquila. Much better.
I got to thinking about folk who possess several ukuleles. Whether they are loved equally and for what reasons?
Warm regards to all. Ron
Other PLUC Tales: 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
I am not at all musically inclined, so it was more fate than design that got me started on the ukulele.
On one of my trips back to Singapore, my daughter Lisa came along. It suddenly occurred to me that we had not seen our favourite uncle and auntie for a long time. So we went and were glad we did because we had a great time.
Uncle Ron, who puts his status on Facebook as ‘happily retired’, was into uke and had founded and led a group. We were treated to an impromptu sing-along which we joined in. When we left, he ran after us and gave Lisa two books that he compiled himself – one was a song book, the other a book of tips for beginners.
On my return to England I got a uke for Lisa as a Christmas present. Some months later she admitted that her busy uni life does not leave her much time to learn a new instrument. Besides she already had a guitar, so I became the reluctant owner of the lovely uke. But there was a problem – I did not know what to do with it.
The development I live in had a Facebook Group, so I posted a message asking if anyone knew a uke tutor and Steph, who attends your sessions, pointed me in your direction.
I found PLUC a godsend. Thanks to Simon, Jeanette, Chris, Rufus, Kevin, Dan and everyone else who makes it so welcoming and enjoyable.
It is so true what they say about music being the food of the soul. The club sessions are an uplifting and pleasant diversion from the everyday cares of life in busy London.
Sadly, Uncle Ron has passed away from cancer but his legacy lives on. He has inspired lots of people to take up the uke, myself included, and my life and soul is so much richer from it.
Other PLUC Tales: Ron’s Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome; 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
As it’s my brother’s birthday today, here’s a swift post giving the Number One when he was born – Frank & Nancy Sinatra singing Something Stupid. For your delectation, here’s a strumalong with Stu Kulele: