Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Home in Pasadena - "Ukey Dave" goes home

Ukey Dave

Since my last post post just a couple of hours ago, I've heard that my ukulele friend known as Ukey Dave died suddenly on 20th December.

A fellow member of the Ukulele Underground, I met him at the Great British Ukulele Festival in Cheltenham in June - you can read the post where I wrote about it - 23rd June 2014.

He kidded me into doing a little video with him on the Sunday morning, as we waited for the Big Busk to start. It's there on the page. Great company, it was a privilege to get to know him a little there and again at GNUF Huddersfield. We were in the same "make your own diddley-bo" workshop at GNUF and I appreciated his kindness and helpfulness. Jamming in the bar til after midnight too... good memories. I know he worked with vulnerable people and I've no doubt whatsoever that he excelled at that - a person who oozed gentleness and kindness.

RIP Dave, and most sincere condolences to your family ... you will be so sadly missed.

Here he is with one of my favourite Harry Warren songs, complete with both melody lines... Home In Pasadena

A little practice on a beautiful island - that's the way to do it! Lucky me....

The last day of the year, and how hectic it's been, 2014. A good year, I can't complain. Two big ukulele festivals here in England, and all four George Formby Society convention weekends in Blackpool. Long Suffering Husband only declined to accompany me to one - Cheltenham. Add to that lots of good company with lovely people - simply fantastic! So now I'm trying to play catch up.

October saw us having a wonderfully relaxing two weeks on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

The uke came too, of course.... Little Blue Uke... and our lovely verandah was the perfect place to sit for a gentle strum now and then.

What am I playing here? Practising chord melody, "Autumn Leaves" from Sarah Maisel's excellent workshop in Cheltenham, where she shared her strategy for working out chord melody. Seriously good stuff. Challenging on the day - but we all came away having truly learned something worthwhile, a tool to use to work out instrumentals. And a peaceful, relaxed environment with no chores to call you away is the perfect place to concentrate... and enjoy!

Beautiful island, blissful couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Just had to tell you about Zoë Bestel - Winter Song

Time, time, time, never enough of it, so much to tell you about, I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland... but I just had to make time amid all the Christmas preparations to share this video with you. Zoë Bestel is a young up-and-coming singer-songwriter from the north of England who is now rapidly making a name for herself on the ukulele scene. I've just looked up when I first posted about Zoë here, and it was 17th October 2012, when she was still at school. She has continued to rise and shine, making her big uke festival debut at the Great Northern Ukulele Festival in Huddersfield in September this year.

Her latest song dropped into my inbox the other day - everything about this video stopped me in my tracks and I had to immediately watch and listen again. She has the most gorgeous voice. Add to that the talent of her own writing and the lovely north of England winter footage..... well, watch it for yourself. I think Zoë Bestel is going a long way......

Thanks for dropping in! So many things to tell you... I'll try to get back to you soon!