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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!

Jeanette

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

 
 

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UkeTubes

Today would have been the 71st birthday of George Harrison. This number is allegedly the current top iTunes Beatles’ download. Ukulenny plays a fingerpicking instrumental of Here Comes The Sun:

 

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It’s Christmas…

Seasons greetings to everyone!

Here’s Rocky & Balls’ The Christmas Song Song (& head to the full Ukulele Hunt Xmas playlist if you want more uke festive fun or, if you fancy a jolly sitar take on an old fave, grab this free Magnatune download from Anup):

PS Just a few more days to vote in our 2013 PLUC Member’s Choice Poll. Choose your favourite site & song, as nominated by our club members.

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in Interesting Uke Sites

 

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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Eric

Fittingly, I’ve saved this one until last. Look out next time for the actual poll – you’ll have around a week to pick your top sites & songs of the year from those chosen by our members.

Eric says:

My favourite is still the one the evenings end with, simply because it is such a lovely tune and the Uke is probably the best instrument to play it on.

So here is the Ukulele Ensemble of Korea, with their rendition of Aloha ‘Oe:

 
 

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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Darren

I like George Elmes (he’s Irish) because he learns most of the stuff from watching videos. I struggle with it on a piece of paper in front of me.

Check out his video of Roy Smeck’s arrangement of Anton Rubinstein’s Melody In F on YouTube below.

Also, I do not use any sites (all selling something), but the best buy uke-related item this year has been an app called UChord.(for those with smart phones). Very simple to use: if you want a different voicing for a chord, you simply press C, D, G or whatever; next 6th,7th, 9ths, sharps and flats. It will then give you four variations of the chord you picked to add a little spice to your playing and also understand the fretboard a little better.

Coming up the neck is invaluable and, once you get the feel for barred chords, more simple than first position chords, and all with the ease of just moving up 1 – 2 frets, keeping the same finger position – or might just be the case of moving one finger and so on. Just watch Rufus!

Darren

 

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PLUC Member’s Choice – Beatrice

My favourite for 2013 is After Hours by Velvet Underground, because it is so good to rediscover music from the past. It also holds a bit of mystery for me: it is familiar and yet I can’t pinpoint when I heard it.

Beatrice

This is Cheryl Tofsrud performing the song:

 

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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Bob

For my favourite ukulele tunes, some that I like are:

Love Her Madly – The Doors – Great rhythm to this song but with a tricky section
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue – good chord changes
Dream A Little Dream - Mamas & Papas
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
The Locomotion – Little Eva
Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals
Venus – Shocking Blue
The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie
She’s Not There – The Zombies

In the classics I enjoy:

I Got A Woman – Ray Charles
Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino
Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra etc
Music To Watch Girls By – Andy Williams
Summertime – Porgy & Bess
Close To You - Carpenters
My Baby Just Cares For Me – Nina Simone

Comedy:

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Brian Hyland
Monster Mash – Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & his Cryptkickers – (Halloween special)

For Christmas:

Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
Mary’s Boy Child – Boney M
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Rockin’ Robin – Jackson 5

Another I like is Rasputin - Boney M.

I also have Wooden Heart in D with the melody notes, which I think works better than in G.

Most have clever chord changes & a good tune.

I‘ll stop there but I have more. They’re all nicked from over the interweb – if you’d like  any of these please let me know on club nights.

I have watched quite a lot on YouTube & most things by Sophie Madeline are really good, in particular is Wolf, a song originally by First Aid Kit, but it’s not really a strummer as such. But I did find a good one-man band version of Love Her Madly by logophile.

Bob

 

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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Paul

Paul says that there’s only one song for him in 2013: The pUKEs Because You’re Young.

This is a really fun & lively track. Look out for him in there!

Paul’s second choice is also a great laugh. It gets going around 1.35 in, if you don’t want to watch the preamble. Megahell – Ukuleles From Hell:

 
 

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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Alan

My nomination is for Chas ‘n’ Dave‘s Ain’t No Pleasing You.

They were never a favourite of mine – in fact I couldn’t stand them. It was only when I came along to PLUC and started to play the song on club nights, I suddenly found myself enjoying the song. Even though I have little experience in playing the Uke, it strikes me as being a brilliant song not only for playing but also for singing. It gets everyone involved and it’s a song you can really “belt out”. A good one for breaking the ice.

Alan F

Joe Brown’s version – song starts at 1:34 minutes in:

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Members' Items, PLUC - Songs We Play

 

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PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Tina

I have a few and one of them is my son’s favourite. I wonder if you will be able to guess which one that is?

I cannot pretend that I am fluent in playing any one of them but they are where my aspirations lie.  Maybe when I can play them well, my singing will improve too (SMILE).

Thanks.

Tina

V has done a stunning cover version of this one:

 

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