Grand Southern Ukulele Festival 2015

Grand Southern Ukulele Festival 2015
A reminder for those of you who might be interested but haven’t yet decided to attend  – the first Grand Southern Ukulele Festival is happening in Portsmouth from Fri 9 – Sun 11 Oct 2015. The main events are on the Saturday but there are workshops, performances, stalls  & jamming sessions over all three days. Artists include Phil Doleman, Aldrine Gurrero, Mike Hind, Krabbers, The Mersey Belles, Ben Rouse, Tricity Vogue & many others.

Entrance for the whole weekend cost £44 (workshops are extra) but there is currently a daily competition on Facebook to win free & half-price tickets.


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Talk Like A Pirate Day – September 19th

International Talk Like A Pirate Day - Sep 19th

International Talk Like A Pirate Day – Sep 19th

Ahoy there, me fine uke strummin’ mateys! It be International Talk Like A Pirate Day again. (I be nothin’ if not predicatble, yarr!)

That scurvy landlubber, Colin Tribe, be playin’ the Johnny Kidd & the Pirates sea-shanty, Shakin’ All Over. Batten down the hatches, a storm be a brewin’!

Long Jeanette Silver



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PLUCking Ukes – Ten Minute Practice Tips

Stu Fuchs (aka Stukulele / Ukulele Dojo) is doing a new series of beginners’ videos, starting with the basics & progressing as he teaches his latest class. He says these are for anyone who wants a refresher or check to see if they need to get out of any bad habits they’ve picked up whilst playing. This first one covers strumming; keeping rhythm; accenting the backbeat; fretting chords without too much tension; & a simple strumalong to Jamaica Farewell. In Week Two he introduces 3/4 time & plays a long-distance duet with you of Amazing Grace.

There are also plenty of other interesting items & tutorials on his website, at all levels, so do have a look round.



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Save Tin Pan Alley!

Denmark Street – known as the British ‘Tin Pan Alley’ – lies tucked away just off Charing Cross Road & has been the home of many important music-related businesses since the 1920s: music publishers, songwriters, recording studios & rehearsal spaces, bars, sheet music vendors & instrument shops. Musicians connected with the street include the Rolling Stones, Kinks, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John & the Sex Pistols. The NME & Melody Maker magazines had their early offices there.

For most of us now it’s the nearest place we can go to find a selection of shops to try out ukuleles & other instruments – particularly specialist guitars – before buying, rather than making purchases online. It’s still the centre of London’s music industry, with many hundreds of thousands of visitors.

With the Crossrail development cutting through the area, numerous places round Tottenham Court Road station have already been closed down & demolished. In January 2015, properties such as the 12 Bar Club and the Enterprise rehearsal studios were shut in preparation for further building works.

A petition has been raised to try to preserve this historic musical street & rejuvenate it, before it’s completely lost to becoming luxury flats, hotels or more faceless offices, with just a very few shops allowed to remain.

Do please have a read about the background to the campaign & sign the petition if you feel Denmark Street’s musical heritage should be saved. Thank you.

Trailer from RoundBoy Pictures‘ forthcoming official documentary, The Demise Of Denmark Street:




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PLUC Weekend Workout

Uke Nut is an interesting blog, covering various ukulele resources, including links to a selection of fingerstyle tunes & practice drills. Amongst the instructional postings are some links to a useful site of tools –

Uke Nut has customised the Fretboard Memorisation Tool for a standard gCEA-tuned uke. Use it to practice identifying the notes up to the 10th fret. This will help you develop your skills, including helping you form moveable chords more readily.

Ukulele Fretboard Memorization Tool from, customised by Uke Nut

Ukulele Fretboard Memorization Tool from, customised by Uke Nut


More PLUC fretboard-relatedmoveable chord & quiz posts.


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Hollesley 2015

If you like listening to or playing the uke, if you like meeting fun-loving, friendly and knowledgeable people, all in the heart of the beautiful Suffolk countryside, then Hollesley Ukulele Jamboree was the place to be.

Friday was open mic night, where our very own Rufus gave a wonderful rendition of Blue Turning Grey Over You.

The highlight of Saturday night’s show was Phil Doleman and Ian Emmerson reuniting as The Re-entrants and knocking out a better-than-Lemmie version of Ace Of Spades; the whole show magnificently MC’d by ‘Top Table’ Chris. Eat your heart out, Brucie!

In Sunday afternoon’s communal sing-song we went through forty numbers, ending with a tear-jerking version of that well known Vera Lynn WW2 ditty, Whale Meat Again.

To sum up, despite the effing weather, it was still a f***ing great weekend. And the beer was only £2.80 a pint.

Sweary Steve

See Rufus’ commentary on the 2012 event.

Here are The Re-entrants at Hollesley 2009, playing Thriller for German TV station NDR:



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PLUC Weekend Workout

Chris has found this interesting lecture from the basic Listening To Music course by Yale University and feels it would repay many members of our group for the time spent watching it.

It opens with a preamble about musical notation & the reasons we use it (also mentioned in last month’s PLUC Weekend Workout & other music theory postings if you need more detail). Then the majority of Prof Craig Wright’s talk covers rhythm in many music styles, showing how different time signatures sound & getting students to listen to various pieces of music so they can conduct along to the beat.

Given how important it is to recognise the rhythm of the songs you play & be able to keep time, this is a very useful exercise. Several people have been puzzling over how to work out strumming patterns to fit tunes, so they will find it handy to be given these practical tips to aid them in improving their listening skills.


The lecture is number three in Yale’s full free course, available online. Coincidentally, it has been updated for 2015 & is being run by Coursera (about whom we wrote recently) as part of their Introduction to Classical Music. Their courses are also free & include lectures, interactive quizzes & discussions with tutors & other participants. Even if you only decided to register to watch the videos from the first two weeks & not bother with any of the exercises, they would help your music skills.

Week 1
Music in Our Lives
Rhythm: We’ve All Got It!
What is Melody?

Week 2
Harmony: From Bach to Do Wop
Tone Colour: Welcome to the Orchestra!
Texture, Form, and Style

(Weeks 3 – 8 cover music styles from the Middle Ages to Postmodernism.)

The recent Coursera Songwriting course was excellent – hugely interesting; ideal for making you pay more attention to the style, structure & nuances of songs; & the assessments kept you focussed on learning, so this should also be good.


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