Just a quick post after my 5 hours marathon GNUF report this afternoon.
Usual meeting at Old English Gentleman from 8pm until 10pm.
Bring your singing trousers strumming socks!!
Just a quick post after my 5 hours marathon GNUF report this afternoon.
Usual meeting at Old English Gentleman from 8pm until 10pm.
Bring your singing trousers strumming socks!!
It’s about time I wrote this down. It’s been a month and I keep putting it off. It’s rather a big job. This is why I was putting it off. Although I was only there for two days, ther eis just too much to cover. (I missed Friday night, Satruday Cabaret, fringe events like the pubs, cafe and bar. I missed all the workshops and Mim’s stage etc)
Strap yourself in – this is a long read, but I urge you to watch the videos. These people are great.
We arrived just before lunchtime it was well underway.
We headed downstairs to the “Unplug the Wood” – a small stage with big talent.
Hedge inspectors – the hosts of the weekend on the Unplug the Wood stage.
Check them out of Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thehedgeinspectors/
They were brilliants hosts, having done this for years. Funny, entertaining and talented. They filled in between acts and joined in with acts. Brillaint. Bought Krabbers Album on my way out.
3 Part Split – Great lads from Scotland. Mixture of punk and “just great songs” sung with gusto and a smile.
Dawn and her Uke – There was an ethereal quality about her covers. I expect great things in the future from Dawn.
Fake Plastic Tigers – this was the second time I saw Fake Plastic Tigers. A collection of Radiohead songs played with ukulele, bass and vibraphone – What could be better?
I love the Fake Plastic Tigers. Check he out here https://www.facebook.com/fakeplastictigers/
Then we decided to have lunch and wander to the main stage for the afternoon
Katy Vernon – great way to star the afternoon. We missed the start, but caught the end.
Her website: HERE
Ooty and the Cloud – trio of talent here
Bryan Tolentino & Asa Young – actual Hawaiians playing ukulele and guitar. The playing!! The voices!! Heavenly. They travelled from Hawaii tpo play here and there were superb
Andy Eastwood – here’s talent. Andy is a great traditional Formby style player, but at GNUF he treated the audience to a composition with athe Didsbury string quartet.
The Water Gypsies – I LOVED THESE!! They are a group that lives on canal boats and play great music.
Mim’s Showcase – Mim comes from the US every year and is a major contributor to GNUF. She’s a remarkable lady with masses of talent. Mim has a stage outside and the best of the stage were up on stage giving it their all.
Bad Mouse Orchestra – all the way from Germany this trio of talent burst onto the stage with tunes from 1920s and 1930s. Utterly brilliant and another CD purchased.
Plastic Jeezus – a great fun band with their own songs to make to smile
Natasha Ghosh – all the way from the Netherland, this tiny lady was heart-breakingly good. She is petite and I didn’t realise she was 20. We sat next to her parents who practically fizzed with pride.
Kiki Lovechild – break from Ukuleles with a bit of cabaret. Kiki Lovechild reenacted a spy story.
Here’s the full show:
Andrew Molina -another MASSIVE talent all the way from Hawaii. I’d put this young man in the same bracket as Jake Shimabukuro. His father played along next to him. Both were so cool and talented.
Hot Potato Syncopators – Utter madness!! UTTERLY BRILLIANT!! If music ahll still existed – I’d be down there weekly watching this hysterical act of juggling, ukulele, saw, ventriloquism and just pure madness. The finale was a tribute to the Dam Busters with thousands of paper aeroplanes being thrown and a bouncing bomb going around the auditorium. So funny.
Lucky people managed to get to the cabaret after this, We went to Tess’s house. See about more about Tess and her husband, Sam at the bottom.
Again, we started downstairs at Unplug the Wood.
Grab it and Bang – an absolutely great start to the day with this cracking group.
ANDYDAN – this was remarkable. Forget Comedy, punk, Formby and Hawaiian music for 15 minutes and soak yourself in seriously good original music. This was 15 minutes where you could feel the cold of the mountains as Andydan took us up the Himalayas and onto Everest.
Dave and the Isaacles – proving that you don’t have to be old enough to buy a pint to take to the stage, Dave and the Isaacles gave their all in a performance that was warmly welcomed.
Findlay Napier – what a voice! All the way from Scotland, this brilliant singer songwriter played a selection of his songs for us. I loved it, bu couldn’t find a CD at the merchandise stand.
Listen to the song, smile at the content and then (God bless him) learn how to play it
Jonathan and his 4 String Fiasco – all the way from the US, Jonathan showed us his talents. Great voice and played like a god. Well done that man!
Sadly I cannot be in two places at once and the main stage was calling.
Amelia Coburn – to my utter horror we missed Amelia. Thank God for youtube. If you can listen to this without goosebumps, hand in your ukulele, you are already dead. This diversion to youtube made writing this very long. Who is she? Where is she playing next?
Follow her here https://www.facebook.com/ameliacoburnmusic
Percy Copley – Percy is one of those that make the GNUF possible. He teaches workshops, write music, comperes the main stage, performs at unplug the wood, plays the main stage, travels the world spreading ukulele love and is an all round great fella. Search for him on the internet and you’ll find tutorials.
Robin Evans Esq. – like Tom Waits? Like Slide guitar blues? like Beastie Boys? You would love Robin Evans esq (world record holder).
He did a wonderful cover of Chocolate Jesus
Astraluna – she has inspired me to buy a loop pedal (when I can decide which one).
Peter Luongo – one of the worlds best ukulele tutors. Having taught a class or two over the weekend – they took to the stage and performed like pros. His infectious enthusiasm was electric. He never stops smiling, dancing or walking. Truly a great advert for the ukulele.
This is part of this group made up from the workshop attendees on Sunday.
Mr B The Gentlemen Rhymer – the last big act on Sunday before the finale, Mr B brought us the history or rap as only he could – Chap-style with a uke.
The finale was every act that could up on the stage for a strum along
That was it. One thing left to do and that was a group photo.
Another brilliant GNUF. Too much to take in. I’ll be back next year!
Where: Victoria Hall, Settle, North Yorkshire, UK
When: March 23-25
Featuring: Dead Mans Uke, Hedge Inspectors, League of Ukulele Gentlemen, Dani and Liam, Elisabeth Pfeiffer, Unplugthewood
Where: London, UK
When: April 7
Where: Bishop Grosseteste Univerity, Newport, Lincoln, UK
When: April 15
“Lincoln Ukulele Festival Sunday 15th April 2018 doors open 10am, musical fun right through to 5pm.
Cafeteria on site, access for wheelchairs, free home – made cakes at teatime, singarounds, workshops,
songbooks, all completely free of charge!
Bishop Grosseteste University campus Newport, LINCOLN LN1 3DY”
Where: Mossley Hill, Liverpool, UK
When: April 28
Featuring: Splintered Ukes, D’Ukes of Hazzard, Secret Ukulele Band, Ukulele Club Liverpool, Summer Strum Band
Where: Crichton Estate, Dumfries, Scotland, UK
When: April 27-29
Where: Huddersfield, UK
When: May 11-13
Featuring: Winner of the 2017 Best Ukulele Festival prize in the Got a Ukulele/UKE Magazine awards – Andy Eastwood (GB), Andrew Molina (US), Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer (GB), Peter Luongo (CA), Bad Mouse Orchestra (DE), Amelia Coburn (UK), Elisabeth Pfeiffer (AT), Natasha Ghosh (NL), Fake Plastic Tigers (NL+GB), Matt Griffo (US), The Ukelites (DE), Oli Mansell, Iain Glencross, Opera-lele, Andydan, Belfast Ukulele Jam, Rag House, Plastic Jeezus, Astraluna, Marc Gallagher, The D’ukes, Matt Hicks, Professor Chris, Ooty and the Cloud, Belfast Ukulele Jam, Dawn and her Uke, Isaac Hughes-Dennis and David Collins, Pitsmoor Ladies Ukulele Chorale (and more!) are performing and offering new workshops and experiences.
– My personal favourite.
Where: New Milton, Hampshire, UK
When: May 12-19
Featuring: Opera-lele, Plastic Jeezus
Where: Snowdonia, Wales, UK
When: May 18-19
Featuring: Andy Eastwood, Paul Tucker, Zoë Bestel
“The Festival will start off with an open mic session on Friday evening in the Oakley Arms hotel at the bottom of Plas Tan y Bwlch’s drive. On Saturday morning ukulele makers will be available to answer questions and have samples of their work on display for sale. In the afternoon there will be the opportunity to attend workshops on various ukulele building techniques and song writing and more. After dinner there will be concerts held in the library and in the theatre with headline players Andy Eastwood,Paul Tucker and Zoe Bestel. Support acts include Liz Panton.”
When: 21st April
Skipsea Ukulele Festival aims to bring together Ukulele players and enthusiasts from all over Yorkshire and beyond.
Where: Drax Social Club, North Yorkshire, UK
When: May 26-28
Featuring: Phil Doleman and Ian Emmerson
Where: Winchester Rugby Football Club, Winchester, UK
When: June 1-2
Featuring: Manitoba Hal, Andy Eastwood, Tobias Elof, Zoë Bestel, Remco, Plastic Jeesus, League of Ukulele Gentlemen
Where: Oddicombe Beach, Babacombe, Torquay, UK
When: June 9-10
Where: Harts Barn Craft Centre, Forest of Dean, UK
When: June 15-17
Featuring: Phil Doleman, Samantha Muir, Peter Moss, Steven Sproat
Where: Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire, UK
When: June 15-17
Where: Haworth, Yorkshire, UK
When: June 16-17
“HUGE 2018 will be on Saturday 16th June. On Saturday 16th June we’ll be in the Old School Rooms, Haworth for the usual mix of ukulele mayhem and fun – with a few new tricks up our sleeves. There’ll also be a flash mob during the day. More details coming soon!!”
Where: Biddulph, Staffordshire, UK
When: June 23
Featuring: Samantha Muir, Manitoba Hal, Amelia Coburn
“A great line up of ukulele officionados for BUG day. Including Sam Muir, Manitoba Hal, Amelia Coburn and not forgetting our own Peter Moss. There’ll be the usual ukulele entertainment throughout the day with performances from individuals and groups from far and near. There’ll be workshops put on by some of the top performers above, and an opportunity for everyone to improve their skill and technique and have fun doing so.”
Where: Farmers Arms, St Merryn, Padstow, Cornwall, UK
When: June 22 -23
Website: TBC (Contact email@example.com )
Where: Gower Heritage Centre, Wales
When: June 29 – July 1
Featuring: Georgia Mae, Hedge Inspectors, Ukoholix, Sarah Kelly, Madison Martin, Ben Rouse, Fflip Fflops, Manitoba Hal, Gaudy Orde, Elderly Brothers, Amigos Gypsy Jazz Orchestra.
Where: Redcar UK
When: July 7
Featuring: Dead Mans Uke, Mersey Belles, Peter Moss, Workshops
Where: Queens Head, Box, Wiltshire, UK
When: July 14
Featuring: The Mighty Lemons, The Mother Pluckers, Whispering Pauline and her Pleasant Pluckers, The Strumming Birds
Where: Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
When: August 25 – 26
Where: Scotland’s Hotel, Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland
When: September 14 – 16
Featuring: Samantha Muir, Cera Impala, Nigel Gatherer
Where: Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich, UK
When: September 21-23
Featuring: Tricity Vogue, Phil Doleman and Ian Emmerson, Dead Mans Uke, Ukulollo
Where: Eastbourne, UK
When: October 26-29
Friday, November 2, 2018 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 4, 2018 11:00 PM
North Yorkshire Moors Railway
12 Park St, Pickering YO18 7AJ
The Uke Express returns to Pickering on the weekend of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of November!
With options to include:
Friday Night Big Strum & Open Mic
Specially Chartered Steam Train on Saturday
Saturday Night Triple-Header Concert
Specially Chartered Steam Train on Sunday
Sunday Night Big Strum & Open Mic
Saturday, December 9, 2017
2:30 PM 11:00 PM
Hilton Hotel (map)
A fantastic way to get in the festive mood, our Big Christmas Ukulele Party promises fun, learning, music and bright lights!
Hello all you lovely uke players.
Monday 8th January at 8pm will be the first meeting of the year.
As usual (for the first meeting of the year) I want to have a quick chat about plans for the year and discuss the direction of the group.
After that (It’ll only take about 10 minutes) it’ll be back to the usual social sing-a-long with suggestions from the floor and shenanigans.
So see you at Old English Gentleman from 8pm on Monday.
Anyone with a new uke, bring it along and show off!!
Thanks to those who came to the last meeting – despite me telling everyone in January there wouldn’t be a meeting due to bank holiday.
It’s was interesting to sit around a table where I can hear that some people actually have very good singing voices.
11th September will be the usual night of singing and playing in a relaxed and happy atmosphere.
I’m on a training course in Leeds all week (7:30am to 6:30pm sort of thing). I’ll be tired, but I will be there trying my best.
So, see you from 8pm on 11th September Old English Gentleman.
Last meeting I tried an experiment. Worried, each meeting, that I don’t bring enough music, I brought all 5 songbooks, complete with braille identifying holes, (finally a solution that won’t wear off or fall off!).
I wrote a out a list of 30 (yep – 30!) songs as a suggested list.
It turns out that we only got through a couple of books (maybe 5 or 6 from each) before we tried the 5 news songs I brought in and Saalo’s original composition.
I was impressed by Saalo’s song. The rhythm breaks away from the unusual Hawaiian strum that we fall into.
So my conclusion is that we really only need a couple of songbooks per night plus a few new songs to try.
(It was back breaking bringing in that many books anyway!).
The new songs that we tried were :
(each song has the music HERE and then the VIDEO HERE to play along with)
Fat Sam’s Grand Slam HERE – which I though went better than expected – VIDEO HERE
Always look on the Bright Side of Life HERE – Which went well (obviously) VIDEO HERE
Tonight you Belong to me HERE VIDEO HERE Or HERE
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer ( a simple version ) – HERE VIDEO HERE
The Times, They are A Changin’ HERE VIDEO HERE
The Times, They are A Changin’ – there are extra chords at the end of some of the lines. These have to be played. The line that don’t have a chords at the end go straight into the next line. Look at the music while the video is playing.
Anyone with a harmonica is welcome to play along.
Next meeting is 8pm on 19th June. It might be hot, so we’ll take a vote on playing outside.
I hope this serves as a guide for those who may have wanted to go in the past but were unsure.
I hadn’t planned to go to GNUF 2017. Like all those uke lovers who haven’t been, I didn’t know if it was worth the £46 for the whole weekend. Having been to Glastonbury and a few other camping festivals, I know there is lots to do and see and you are willing to pay quite a bit. Is GNUF worth £46? One of the volunteers at this year’s GNUF contacted me and offered a complimentary ticket. Did you read “volunteer”? Yes!. They don’t get paid to put on this amazing weekend. They work with the community, with disadvantaged communities and give up their time to support the ukulele and the local communities in and around Huddersfield).
I have been to many open mic nights, bands or ukulele based days where people go up on stage and “do a turn”. After you’ve heard “Wonderwall”, “Bad Moon Rising” or “I Wanna Be Like You” the third time, you start to feel a little tired.
The GNUF had a stage for people to “get up and do a turn”. This is true. But they were polished and they produced a good sound. There were good singers and chose a great selection of songs to perform. I believe “Mim”, the organiser, had put effort into choosing the right groups.
BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!
At GNUF there were more than one stage. I counted 4 stages, but they host different events on each stage. One is an intimate performance area during the day, Cabaret at night.
There is a Main stage – which is a large theatre with stalls, side seat and two balconies. This is the type of place you’d see a pantomime or opera.
Downstairs there is The Cellar, where intimate performances are held. You can hear every breath and, (if you are lucky), you can sit 2 feet from the artist and converse with them.
Outside there is an open air stage with amplification and seating. This is where I ate my lunch and listened to group – after singer – after group sing their hearts out. The ideal place for a pint and a sandwich.
Did I mention a pint? The cellar has a bar and there is a bar upstairs. In each corner there are small gatherings strumming out their latest efforts. There were some really good singers in there and a whole band complete with tea chest bass.
As I couldn’t be there long (only Saturday of the three day event) I will take you through what I saw in order.
I arrived late – around 1pm, having found the venue quickly in the van, parking and then getting lost on foot. I parked about half a mile away and my sat nav told me that the venue was 7 miles away in a different Queen street.
On first arrival I walked into the open air performance square where “Mim’s Stage” was encouraging groups and singers to stand up give their all. I was very impressed with the standard.
Keen to explore, I wandered into the front of the Lawrence Bately Theatre. I was impressed. This is a wonderful venue. The organisers have picked a perfect venue. James Mason stared on from a plinth within.
In the foyer there were stalls selling ukuleles. Lots of Ukuleles.
At the Moselele stand, I tried a Moselele (Bamboo) uke at £60 and thought it very nice.
Duke of Uke were up from London with a massive stand of ukes ranging from £17 to £900. I was very VERY tempted into an oil can ukulele at £129, but thought of my wife burning my other 15 ukuleles to make space for the new one and decided to avoid.
I have UAS.
See here: http://adukes.org/members/ukulele-acquisition-syndrome/
Other stalls sold hangers to put your beloved uke on a wall, straps to put your uke around your neck, t-shirts, badges, raffle tickets, stickers, gadgets and CDs of the artists playing. I bought a programme and started to read.
First act I saw (as I said I turned up late and had to leave early – so tried to get as much in as possible.
All the way from The Netherlands: We Tigers. She has the voice to die for and plays toy instruments as well as a glockenspiel. He’s a master of the uke.
This was brilliant!
They finished with
Next up was a chap who taught a workshop (GOD!! I MISSED ALL THE WORKSHOPS!!! Next year I will be more organised!!).
PERCY COPLEY. He teaches finger picking and his performance puts us all to shame.
He’s funny, warm man with a massive talent.
I’m going to watch all of his videos on the youtubes!
Hosted by the utterly wonderful Heidi Bang Tidy, the afternoon flew by. Moving drum kits off stage became a 10 minute audience participation session with Miss Bang Tidy. A brilliantly funny lady. I think I counted 3 or 4 costumer changes. A proper show woman!
First up was The Poor Boys of Worcester. Six lads playing and at any one point there would be up to 4 ukuleles on the go. On chap strumming, one chap noodling, one chap doing a “guitar hero” solo, one playing a chisel. They were great. Really good fun. I’d love to see them in a pub.
Quaintest Show on Earth. I loved these. Only one uke, but great musicians. Lads from Wigan with a great sense of humour and plenty of talent.
Samantha Muir. This classically trained guitar player just has too much talent. It was almost like having a revelation. She played the predecessor to the ukulele – the Machete and another tiny Ukulele that I cannot remember the name of. Then moved on to a “normal ” ukulele. Seriously, people were sat with their eyes closed in a religious trance. She got a standing ovation and it was well deserved. She finished with a piece she’d written herself about the rain in all it’s forms and you could hear the patter of drizzle on a tent, a tropical downpour and all the variations in between. She can do anything from folk to jazz to classical. I’d personally like to see her do a heavy metal solo to be honest.
Small Change Diaries. Ukes, great singers, mellow bass and drums. This is a professional group playing cool music. They write their own songs and were great.
Judge for yourself:
Spotlight: here players under 25 were given a chance to shine and it was blinding. I’m not sure if the artists here didn’t turn up as two players were listed here as Dani and Liam – but the lady who played accompanied Samantha Muir earlier of classical guitar. She was amazing as you might expect. She did a French A level on Friday and has her Spanish A level on Monday.
Next: All the way from Australia. Another chap who is in the same vein as Jake Shimabukuro. Ryo Montgomery. Long haired and laid back, he was superb. He didn’t sing much, but he played like he’d made deal with the devil. Another standing ovation. He specialised in playing his own rhythm and melody at the same time. Beautiful.
Finally – The act I had missed two years ago at Cornucopia: Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers. Brilliantly funny and talented. Approved by Prince Charles. . They had the audience laughing, singing and waving their arms with (what are classics in my household), “David Attenborough“, “I’ve go my Finger up my Nose” and “My Mysterious Uncle“. Superb lunacy. I only wished they’d had more time to play “Tweed Jacket” or “Soy Milk“.
After over 4 hours sat in the main theatre, I went to stretch my legs and buy chips.
With a “small one” in tow, (she’s taller than her mum), I decided she’d had enough and it was time to head off home. We’d had a great day and I was utterly impressed.
I had only been for a small part of one day. There was a Friday night in various pubs for weekenders that seemed to be legend now. There was an evening in the main theatre that I was going to miss. There was a late night cabaret in the Cellar (over 18s only). There was a whole Sunday of workshops, 4 stages and a get together in the bar. I missed more than 75% of the weekend.
If you think of the best performer you have seen at a ukulele festival and then multiply that by 50 acts – you are close to the quality of GNUF.
These people should be very proud of themselves:
Mary Agnes Krell
Clarice the Ukulele Pirate Queen
(Can you tell I couldn’t find a definitive list of the people who make this work and don’t get paid?)