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Category Archives: Uke – Events & In The Media

Croydon Ukulele Festival 2016 – Sat

Saturday 5th March saw day one of Croydon’s inaugural ukulele festival.

Maria was the first of our number to arrive, attending the Mass Busk practice at midday, which she found very useful. I met up with her & the other players around 1.30pm outside the Whitgift Shopping Centre for the al fresco busk. Luckily they’d thought to erect a marquee, as it was rainy, & we nabbed the last two (front row!) seats. We worked our way through the songbook of well-known numbers for about an hour to a small but appreciative audience of soggy shoppers. Our fingers were pretty numb from the cold by the end but it was a fun gig!

We grabbed a hasty lunch then dashed back to the daytime venue – the Green Dragon pub along the central High Street – to catch the last part of the set from the Berkhamsted Ukulele Random Players (BURP). Here they are with their version of Jesse J’s Price Tag (filmed at a previous gig by John O’Sullivan):

 

The room suddenly filled as everyone arrived for the afternoon’s main session: Phil Doleman‘s Ukulele Player’s Bag of Tricks workshop (at a bargain group rate of £3.50 each). At this point we joined fellow PLUCers Bob, Ed & Kev, who were all equally keen to learn some fresh skills.  As always, Phil gave an informative, fun and clear workshop, filled with handy little tips and detailed reference sheet to take away.

Carol from Croydon Uke Jam, who’d been busy rushing about as the main organiser of the festival, slotted in a quick free workshop on using tab and sheet music to play in ensembles, handing round three different parts of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King for us to try.

Then we needed to head a mile or so through the back streets of Croydon to find the evening venue – The Oval Tavern – tucked away in a quiet residential road past East Croydon station, over the other side from all the central shops & trams.

The Oval’s claim to fame is that a few scenes for Peep Show were shot in there. They were kindly offering discounts on food & drink to anyone carrying a uke; the staff were friendly & they had a decent range of menu choices (including several vegan options, which obviously pleased me).

Phil Doleman played a two-part set, which was highly enjoyable & included numbers such as Police Dog Blues, Diddy Wa DiddieSinging In The Bathtub, Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) (which he’s recently recorded on wax cylinder), Mysterious Mose & many more. Colin – who also attends the Croydon group fairly regularly – managed to join us for the second half. Here’s Phil doing his own take on a number we play regularly (filmed by Ed):

 

Ed also caught his performance of Hesitation Blues.

After Phil finished, there was a strumalong where they used a projector & screen, which was unfortunately a bit tricky to see, especially as most of the numbers were totally unfamiliar. We all thought we’d be using the songbooks we’d printed out for earlier but found out on Sunday they had been so busy organising the festival & a lot of their members had been sick, that they were rehearsing the numbers they needed to play for their two sets the following afternoon. This explained the change of plan & it must have been a relief to finally get in some practice time after such a manic few weeks!

I think Bob & Colin were the last of our number left strumming in the pub as the rest of us departed, with Maria & I due to attend on the Sunday for more entertainment…

Jeanette

 
 

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Croydon Ukulele Festival – 5 & 6 Mar 2016

Croydon hosts its first ever ukulele festival on Sat 5 & Sun 6 Mar, with workshops, mass busks and performances from different groups, dotted around various pubs throughout the weekend. There are two main evening concerts: the one on the Sat features Phil Doleman & Sunday’s show is by two comedy ukers, Elliot Mason & Jo Stephenson.

See the Croydon Ukulele Festival main page for more details.

 

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Happy Halloween – Trick Or Uke Treat

Here’s a version of  Warren Zevon’s Werewolves Of London by 23skidooooooooo & pals (piano riff for uke here). Don’t get grabbed by the ghoulies tonight!

 
 

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Grand Southern Ukulele Festival 2015 – Videos

Here are a few videos that have been published about the GSUF, to give you a flavour of the event. Others are still being put online so do have a look round if you’re interested in seeing more. Thanks to the people credited for the use of their YouTubes.

Ben Rouse – who was also one of the main organisers of the festival – at the Kings Theatre, Saturday afternoon (filmed by Fiona Martin, who has a great selection on her channel, including a compilation showreel of all the Saturday performances):

 

Aldrine Guerrero playing Carlos Santana at the Kings Theatre on the Saturday evening (filmed by Bic Pentameter):

 

Late Night Ukulele Cabaret at the Wedgewood Rooms – Tricity Vogue & the class from her earlier songwriting workshop sing their newly-penned ditty Do The Wedgewood Bend:

 

Easy Like a Sunday Morning at The Wine Vaults – Bye Bye Blues performed by Peter Moss, Michael Adcock and Phil Doleman (filmed by Dave Johnson, who has caught a couple more from that excellent jamming session):

 

The final Mass Strumalong at the Wedgwood Rooms with the Pompey Pluckers (another by Fiona Martin). If you’re eagle-eyed you may spot Bob & me in there!

 

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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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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. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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