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Tag Archives: Strumalong

Ukulele Festival of Scotland 2019 – Day 1

As some of you might remember, I went to the UFoS at Dumfries last year & said it was the best-organised uke festival I’d attended, so was excited to make my second trip there over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

It was glorious weather, which showed off the fine landscaped Crichton Estate grounds at their best. Founded by Elizabeth Crichton in the 1830s, the buildings were originally built as a forward-thinking psychiatric hospital (which included gardens, arts & music therapy & a farm that the patients could work in) and it’s now a university campus, with Easterbrook Hall conference centre and Holiday Inn hotel.

The Festival was sold out, with around 740 participants, a large Purple Army of volunteers and over one hundred performers. As before, on arrival early Friday afternoon, people were being checked in efficiently & issued with wristbands, UFoS Songbooks & Programmes plus a very handy single-sheet at-a-glance schedule. Most of the organisation was done by Linda Butterworth, who does an amazing job, along with her husband, Stuart Butterworth, who leads and teaches many of the local ukulele groups.

In addition to those staying at the Holiday Inn, many people had brought their motor homes, which were parked along two of the roads, & a number of others were camping in the grounds.  I was in an Airbnb in Dumfries town centre – above a whisky & wine merchants with the strapline ‘The Drambusters‘ – &, as I’m teetotal, their stock was safe with me!

Attendees were arriving from all over the UK, Europe and even further afield, all carrying at least one ukulele. Some folk had already travelled to nearby Caerlaverock Castle, a moated triangular fortress about seven miles from Dumfries, for an open air strumalong, the first event of the Festival. But it was all about to get into full swing.

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Some of my photos from the first day of the Festival

After checking through the documentation, I sauntered to Crichton Memorial Church for the first workshop I’d booked – Harmony Singing, with The Naked Waiters (who were neither naked, nor waiters!). They come from Utah & premiered at last year’s UFoS. They sing close, tight harmonies, so I knew this would be an interesting session. They demoed a few of their songs,  took us through their arrangement of Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours  (in simple terms, you can play the chords of the tune, split into four groups & each group sing the notes that occur on a specific string to create four-part harmony) and gave us other tips on how they work out their arrangements.

I then strolled round the site & relaxed for a while in one of the Jamming Tents at the rear of the hotel (the other was totally full). There were mats, cushions & solar-powered lanterns to make them comfy.

After an evening buffet had been served in the bar, amongst other options, there was a Jam With The Stars strumalong from the eighty-two tune Festival Songbook, led in turn by different performers.  It was so packed, folding chairs & music stands had to be brought in from elsewhere to fit everyone in the room.

Later on, I left the jamming & walked across to the Candlelit Concert, back in the Crichton Church. There were candles lining the pathway into the entrance & every arched window had several more flickering at the bottom. More were arranged on the stage behind the performers.  The gig included Astraluna, Mike Haysom & Zoe Bestel. It was all very spectacular & atmospheric.

Mike’s performance is below & the others from the evening are linked above (all on his YouTube Channel).

Jeanette

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

There are a growing number of podcasts out there, including some specific to ukuleles and others covering all types of music theory.  The twice-weekly Musicality Podcast (brought to you by the people who run the Musical-U community music training website) is having a Beatles Month for April.

Through a series of interviews they will be talking to different people and analysing how & why the songs worked;  the relationship between music & lyrics; production techniques; how a tribute act goes about reproducing those Beatles sounds and much more.

On the practical side, people are asked to remind themselves of the active listening techniques covered in a previous podcast – which is a great way of encouraging you to pay more attention to the music around you each day and put your musician skills to use in actually noting the instruments being played in a tune, song structures, rhythms, chord progressions etc – and pick three Beatles songs to consider in detail. There will be a live chat session later in the month.

Another exercise suggested on the forums are to make yourself a song interval chart (ie a way to help you recognise the gaps between two notes) consisting purely of Beatle numbers.

Linking nicely with this is Cynthia Lin’s annual Beatles Uke Jam. For 2019, it’s on Sun 14 April and streamed live so folk can join in worldwide. Get the 2019 songbook for free (or make a donation); play along with a recording of the 2018 Livestream & watch some of Cynthia’s lessons on the Fab Four and others.

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Eleven

For Day Eleven, why not try a bit of folk & country music? Richard Hefner’s ezFolk site is another one with masses of free information, from beginners to advanced.

Sections & YouTube playlists include tutorials for a basic uke course; clawhammer; fingerstyle; strumming and a selection of playalong songs & lessons.

Also included is a useful ukulele chords section, showing many variations of chords up the fretboard (plus baritone chord variations).

Here’s Richard with an introduction to the bum-ditty strum – part of his clawhammer course:

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Seven

Cynthia Lin produces some well-arranged songs at different levels, with strumalong videos to help you learn through playing along with her. The songsheets are always free at Bandcamp (you can just enter a payment of $0 – or more if you wish to make a donation to her).

Tutorial playlists include Beginners 1, Beginners 2, Fingerpicking and All Uke Lessons & Tutorials (currently over fifty videos). There are also regular Live Jams (eg at Xmas or on certain topics, such as Beatle songs).

Here’s one of Cynthia’s fingerpicking section songs – a lesson on how to play Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel:

 

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December 2017 Club Nights

Please note the following arrangements for our club nights around Christmas:

Tue 12 Dec & Tue 19 Dec – We’re at the Lewes Club, as usual. We’ll be sticking with playing our regular numbers but I’ve copied Mele Kalikimaka to the 2017 Xmas Songs folder in Box, as we usually play that as our traditional Hawaiian festive number during December.

Tue 26 Dec Boxing Day – XMAS BREAK.

We return to the Lewis Club on Tue 2 Jan 2018. New members welcome.

For those of you wanting a Christmas strumalong, do have a look at Cynthia Lin’s Beginner Holiday Ukulele Jam from last year – a free songbook of thirteen numbers & you can play along with the recorded webcast. Here she is with one of the numbers, All I Want For Christmas Is You: Read the rest of this entry »

 

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All I Want For Christmas…

Festive greetings everybody! Here’s Richard Hefner with a playalong video for I Want A Ukulele For Christmas:

 

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Hawaiian Summer Fair

Rosendale School Summer Festival - 4 July 2015

Rosendale School Summer Festival – 4 July 2015

On Saturday 4 July 2015 Rosendale Primary School is having a Hawaiian-themed summer fair from 1pm – 4pm. We are asking adults and children to come along and jam on their ukuleles as part of a Ukulele Busk at 3pm. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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