It’s Paul McCartney’s 75th birthday today (or maybe not, if you subscribe to the Paul Is Dead conspiracy rumours!). Here’s Cynthia Lin with her version of Maybe I’m Amazed. If you’ve not viewed her YouTube channel yet, it’s well worth a look & includes some interesting free uke tutorials.
The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, with its iconic cover art, is possibly the most influential pop album ever, recorded with great ingenuity on just four-tracks back in 1967. A mix of styles, from rock to vaudeville, psychedelic to Indian, it’s seen as an early concept album.
Unsurprisingly, numerous ukulele versions of its songs abound. Dip into most of our regularly recommended YouTube artists & songbook sites to find some of these well-known tunes lurking. However, for those seeking chords to the entire album, why not try Beatle-lele or Stewart Greenhill? The former site has interesting playing tips (& we use his version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds); the latter allows for easy transposing or showing in different layouts.
Eat My Uke gives tabs of the main riffs for all of the tunes, played here in a medley:
And here’s WS64 playing the album in full:
Now you know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall!
Local Goldsmiths’ PhD student and musician, Emma Winston, is currently collecting information from the ukulele community for her research into the instrument, surrounding how people perceive it and their participation in uke groups. The results will eventually form part of her doctoral research.
Players and non-players are invited to take this short survey. Emma is also at the stage where anyone keen to talk ukuleles with her further is welcome to email her. She is conducting informal interviews – more just general fact-finding chats than a huge list of questions – which can be face-to-face, over the phone, by Skype, email or whatever suits you best!
Extract and photo from an recent interview on The Setup:
I’m Emma Winston, and I’m a PhD student, musician, teaching assistant, sound artist, and botmaker.
I’m in my first year of an MPhil/PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London, where I’m studying the contemporary subculture surrounding the ukulele and the people who play it, particularly as that relates to identity and creativity. I’m still in the very early days of research, but it’s an instrument marked out by beginner-friendliness, a DIY aesthetic and real passion for what is often seen as a novelty or joke instrument (despite quite a long and rich multicultural history). In the last few years it’s increasingly become bound up in narratives of gentrification, twee middle-class aesthetics and hipster culture; yet it was also the only instrument recorded to have sold more, not less, during the depths of the UK economic recession, and has formed the centre of community activity for everything from mass world record attempts to music therapy groups for Alzheimers. It’s a fascinating instrument, largely because the ways in which people use it are fascinating, and if you’re reading this and have any particular interest in (or hatred of!) it please do get in touch, since I’m currently at the ‘talk-to-as-many-interesting-people-as-possible’ stage of research.
Survey : http://ukulelesare.xyz/
Emma’s email address: email@example.com.
Various PLUC members have past & present connections with Goldsmiths, so we’re pleased to mention this interesting project on our website.
Goldsmiths, University of London, is one of the UK’s leading universities for the creative arts, from film and art to popular music. Notable musicians who studied there include Damon Alban, Katy B, James Blake, Graham Coxon, Neil Innes, Alex James, Rosie Lowe, Andrew Poppy, Adrian Sutton, Errollyn Wallen MBE & Amelia Warner (aka Slow Moving Millie). Regular & varied music performances, talks and festivals take place during the year, most of them open to the public & many completely free, ranging from classical to contemporary, electronic to pop, featuring established performers, recent graduates & students.
I never liked the uke.
It sounded bleedin’ awful.
A really low-quality astringent taste in the ears. Not like the softer tones and fuller sound that my nylon string acoustic gave. So I put the uke back and had another look around the music shop in Lewisham High Street. I looked at harmonicas, banjos, bass guitars and the plethora of musical diversions offered in Eric Lindsey Music.
I was looking for something new. An instrument to encourage a little more playing, primarily by being a little more portable. Then I could take it to work and practice on the nursery class I taught. In the end, financial concerns brought me back the uke. It had a little tuner cleverly sunk into the side of the body. Yet, it still sounded dull.