Thursday, 30 June 2016

Andy Eastwood - consummate musician!

Here's another lovely quickie for you... Andy Eastwood - well-known as a highly skilled performer of George Formby songs, perhaps not quite so well-known as all-round musician and entertainer that he is. He has great stage presence and as you see from the above video clips, he plays wooden uke, violin and piano with consummate skill. The video says it all, doesn't it!

He's featured with a full-length article in the very classy publication "UKE Magazine (issue 6) (June 2016 here in the UK.

We're delighted to have seen Andy play live several times - UFGB (Ukulele Festival of Great Britain) in 2013, at the George Formby conventions in Blackpool, when he can get there; supporting comedian Ken Dodd and in the revue "We'll Meet Again". What an entertainer!

If you've never had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Andy live, I recommend you catch up with him in July...

Coming up in July...
3 Jul: Charing Cross Theatre, London
10 Jul: Grand Opera House, York
23-24 Jul: Isle of Wight Ukulele Festival, Newport
29-31 Jul: Czech Ukulele Festival, Prague

Thanks for dropping in - I'll be back soon with another post... more ukafrolics!

See the video on Youtube here

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Streets of London - played by Ken Middleton

Lots of Ukafrolics to tell you about - which involves me sitting down and writing some.... so while I get myself organised for that, here's a lovely song from Ken Middleton, Ralph McTell's Streets of London, played by Ken on his Mike Pereira tenor at the Ukulele Festival of Scotland 2016, held in Dumfries back in May. It's rather gorgeous. He writes "I have tried to merge Streets of London with the chord sequence to Pachelbel's Canon...." Mmmmmm - lovely.....

Watch it on Youtube here....

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

As Time Goes By - Seasonistas separated by thousands of miles WILL get together to duet!

Myrna Ukelele and I are keen adherents of the Ukulele Underground, which is based in Hawaii but has members all over the world. It has a branch called the Ukulele Underground Forum, which has in its turn spawned a sub-section of light-hearted weekly contests called Seasons of the Ukulele. If you enter, you are a "Seasonista"!

Myrna was there at Season number One, which to my reckoning was in 2011... and she seldom misses a Season. As you see from the title of the video below, last week was Season number 226, and although she had only just landed (literally, she flew in....) to stay with us and to travel to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire for a uke festival, we just had to get our heads together to see what we could produce as an entry for the week's Season, themed "It's About Time".

As an example of Seasonistas singing and playing together, it felt pretty special, as Myrna's home in Alaska is no less than 4,400 miles away from mine in the middle of England!

As Time Goes By

Oh my goodness, we did enjoy doing that; we have been watching each others' entries in the Seasons for four years, and it's amazing how often we've picked the same song to sing - similar musical tastes in many ways! So choosing this song to sing and play together was really quite easy.

It was written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931, and featured in the iconic film "Casablanca", (1942)

As I write, Myrna is a mile high on her way back home to Alaska, but we had the most wonderful time together at the weekend at the UFGB in Cheltenham, the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain... we sang, we played, we both took part in the Open Mic on Sunday, and we watched the most fantastic concert of varied ukulele music on Saturday. Don't worry, I'll tell you all about it, I promise!

And I won't forget to tell you about GNUF either - Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, which we both attended just a few weeks before, and I have not had time to report on! Yes I know what you're thinking, Myrna flew in for Cheltenham... yes, It's complicated! Myrna is a great traveller, and really does get around!

Trust me, just watch this space! And thanks for dropping in!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Life and Ukulele - the whirl goes on....

As I write, I have paused for a minute or two mid-mop, vac and dusting... preparing to welcome into our home a new ukulele friend from thousands of miles away, Myrna Ukelele. We live in the English midlands, she lives in Alaska. How does this come about? The first link is the Ukulele Underground, and specifically the branch of UUers who take part in the weekly fun contest, Seasons of the Ukulele. Myrna has been in there from week 1, myself from week 29. It's now week..... not sure. Been too busy to take part. OK so it's Season 226 now. So you make friends, watching each other's youtube videos. Then suddenly, someone makes it across the sea to a uke festival. Seasonistas can meet up for real. Isn't that wonderful? Myrna and I met up a few weeks ago at GNUF, the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, held in Huddersfield in the north of England - since then she has been in France and in a couple of hours time she lands at my local airport, where LSH and I will be meeting her. A home-cooked meal later on, even a strum and a song or two ..... then tomorrow off we go to Cheltenham to the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain.

I must stop there... busy busy...

Watch this space!