Getting a little help from Dead Man’s Uke at The Ukulele Festival of Scotland. Photo by James Millar.
All of these events were so different, each really special in it’s own way. Some (like the West Coast Retreat, which isn’t a festival!) are more geared towards learning, immersing yourself in ukulele, guided by instructors, whilst others are more biased towards performances, but what struck me most was what they all had in common. Great people, great experiences (for attendees and performers), and wonderful friends. I feel immensely privileged to be in this remarkable world.
It was a real pleasure to be a tutor at Sore Fingers, and wonderful to be surrounded by so many amazing musicians. The really good news is that I’m doing it again in October! The shorter October camp (21st and 22nd Oct) is an ideal opportunity to come and study uke with me and to meet other musicians, jam, and generally immerse yourself in great music in the beautiful Cotswolds!
Me and Ian were really pleased to be able to do a Narrowboat Session recently. The Narrowboat Sessions raise money for Cancer Reserach UK, and feature some stellar talent that we’re very happy to be associated with! It was great fun; here’s the video of the first of the songs we recorded, “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”.
One of the ways they raise money is by selling CDs of some of the songs from the sessions. The 2014 CD can be bought from their website, www.thenarrowboatsessions.com
I’m really pleased to announce that my new book has just been released. Here’s the blurb…
How Music Works on the Ukulele is an invaluable resource for ukulele players who want to move on from simply ‘following the pictures’ and begin to understand how the music they are playing works. Learn techniques and concepts that will allow you to jam with others without resorting to song sheets, recognise the patterns that make learning new songs a breeze, work out songs by ear, and create your own music. No prior knowledge is assumed, and no music reading is necessary, as everything is shown on the ukulele fingerboard.
It’s a 64 page, A4 wire-bound book, and it costs £15 plus p&p. You can order it now by going to the shop page.
It was an absolute pleasure to meet up with Jim D’Ville at the West Coast Ukulele Retreat in California. I’ve been aware of his ‘3 Questions’ series of videos since they first started in 2009, and they have featured many of my uke heroes. I was so pleased when Jim asked me to do one, and here it is!
Go and check out Jim’s other interviews (I’m in stellar company!) at www.playukulelebyear.com and while you’re there, check out the rest of his material, there’s so much great stuff whatever level of uke player you are.
I just got back from my first visit to the States, where I was a tutor at the West Coast Ukulele Retreat on the Monterey peninsula, along with Gerald Ross, Victoria Vox, Kevin Carroll, Daniel Ward, Heidi Swedberg and Dave Egan and dynamic organiser Elaine de Man.
What an amazing event! Going on for 90 students, a full timetable of hugely diverse workshops, plenty of opportunities for the students to perform and for us all to socialise and talk ukulele!
Who would have thought that when I picked up the uke all those years ago it would take me quite so far!
There’ll be a full write up of my experiences there in a future issue of Uke magazine.