JAMES HILL AND ANNE JANELLE
HEADLINING OUR GALA CONCERT
Back by popular demand! We are so thrilled to welcome James and Anne back to perform. James will be running three workshops at this year’s festival.
It’s true: opposites attract. James Hill, “possibly the best ukulele player in the world” (Waikato Times), grew up playing folk, jazz and blues on his ukulele. Anne Janelle, “a cellist of true beauty” (Ottawa Citizen), played only classical music on her cello. But the pair’s differences became their greatest asset: the uke is high, the cello is low; the uke plays short notes, the cello long bow strokes; the uke is all about strumming while the cello radiates melody.
In 2009, James and Anne released True Love Don’t Weep, an album of duets that garnered a Canadian Folk Music Award for Traditional Album of the Year. A mixture of traditional tunes with “fresh vitality” (Country Music People) and original songs, True Love Don’t Weep showcased the duo’s ability “to capture the soul of a song” (Folk World).
Since True Love Don’t Weep, James and Anne have released two solo albums each (James’ Man with a Love Song and The Old Silo; Anne’s Beauty Remainsand So Long at the Fair) and toured in over 15 countries, making their mark not only as accomplished instrumentalists but also as some of the finest songwriters of their generation. Together, they conjure a sound that is intricate, enchanting and engaging: “a crystal clear sound filled with warmth” (Bob Mersereau, CBC Radio). In concert, James is “a dazzling live performer with a genial, low-key sense of humour” (Edmonton Journal) and Anne brings her “gorgeous syrupy voice” (Acoustic Magazine) to songs that are “inventive, entertaining, beautifully written and brilliantly performed” (R2 Magazine).
In short, a night out with James Hill & Anne Janelle is “the perfect evening of tunes, stories and musical virtuosity” (Wellington Dominion-Post)
We are delighted to announce that the amazing Los Angeles based Fred Sokolow will be performing and giving workshops at this year’s Ukulele Festival of Scotland 27th to 29th April. Fred has long been a well-known West Coast multi-string performer and recording artist. He has taught and performed at numerous ukulele festivals, camps and retreats. The diverse musical genres covered in his books and DVD’s along with several bluegrass, jazz and rock CD’s he has released, demonstrate his mastery of many musical styles.
STUART FUCHS – UKULELE ZEN
HEADLINING OUR FESTIVAL CONCERT
A UK first – We are totally awe struck that Stuart is performing and running not one but three workshops!
Stuart Fuchs is a multi instrumentalist, recording artist, sound healer, and an innovative and compassionate teacher. He is a lifelong minstrel and plays a wide variety of styles of music on ukulele and acoustic guitar including jazz, brazilian, folk, classical, rock, sacred and world music. He also plays Latin percussion, Bolivian charango, Australian didjeridoo, Native American flute, Tibetan singing bowls, and yes – hunting calls and amplified toys. In his concerts Stuart balances virtuosity and heart. He has performed his dazzling ukulele instrumentals and soulful songs at concert halls and festivals on four continents. He has arranged and performed the gypsy jazz guitar music of Django Reinhardt for full symphonic orchestras and was featured on PRI’s The World with his award-winning gypsy jazz band, Babik. Fuchs’ concerts are like a combination of a summertime lawn bowling party, a mystical poetry reading in a Bedouin tent, a smoky jazz club, a nuanced recital hall concert, and heart opening meditation class. Audiences laugh, sing and clap along, reflect upon life’s mysteries and sometimes even shed a tear. A longtime Yogi and meditator, the playful and fun loving Stuart is all about connecting people through music and creative play. He is passionate about encouraging each person to access his or her “inner musician”. In his ukulele, guitar and free improvisation classes he weaves very effective teaching tips on effortless instrumental technique with a spirited method of how to break through the limitations to musical freedom. In his workshops participants learn to grasp onto difficult concepts with greater ease and more joy.
HEADLINING OUR SATURDAY SHOW
Last year we brought you Jim D’ville from the US – another first for the Ukulele Festival of Scotland. This was the first time that Jim had been in Europe. He was a massive hit and delivered four fantastic workshops in his own unique style.
Jim developed an ear-based approach to playing the Ukulele. He will be running his exceptionally fun and informative workshops on his approach. Book early to avoid disappointment!
‘At age 43 after ten years of trying to memorize banjo tab and then play it back, my wife’s grandmother gave me a 70 year old Columbia Hawaiian soprano ukulele that had been in her closet for more than 50 years. To please grandma, I took the uke and bought an instruction book. But I was tired of memorizing music out of books!
That approach did not turn me into a musician on the banjo and I doubted that I would have a different outcome on the ukulele. So I just practiced chord progressions and inversions and listening to the sounds I was making. I found I was developing an emotional relationship with the chords I was playing and realized why songwriters choose specific chords to garner a certain emotional response from the listener. My mission then was to teach other adult beginners the fundamentals of music from an ear-based approach, Play Ukulele By Ear.’
‘Jim’s Play Ukulele By Ear workshop is a high-energy roller coaster of learning and laughs. He’s one-of-a kind. Buckle up!
HEADLINING OUR SUNDAY AFTERNOON GRAND FINALE CONCERT
Mike, from Bermuda, is not only a brilliant musician and workshop leader but he has a magnificent ability to entertain. We love him – he represents what the festival is all about. Quality music and fun delivered by a true professional.
With years of experience in comedy, theatre and performing with local bands, Mike decided to pick up a ukulele at age 41. His show is equal parts joyful and melodious comedy, with audience members often dragged in by playful heckling. In 2013, he released his EP “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” and has just released his new CD “Plan E”. He’s also working on a project of themed cover CDs.
In 2012, Mike became a sponsored artist with Mim’s Ukes and, in 2014, an endorsed artist with Moku Ukuleles, demo’ing the new Mike Hind Model at NAMM in 2015.
In the winter of 2013 and 2014, Mike toured the USA with The Flea Bitten Dawgs. After playing and MC’ing for Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel and Julia Nunes in 2013, in November 2014, he was a headliner at the Tampa Bay Ukulele Getaway alongside the likes of Seeso, Marc “Li’l Rev” Revenson and Victoria Vox.
In September 2015 he travelled to Greece with Narciso “Seeso” Lobo where he performed and held workshops at “My Big, Fat Greek Ukulele Adventure”. In October, he did a small tour with Zoe Bestel and Feckless & Fuddle before headlining at the Grand Southern Ukulele Festival in Portsmouth, then rejoined his tour mates in February for a tour of The South before going back up t’North for another Big House in The Country.
“I fell in love with his energy and go give spirit as I watched him laugh and jam with new players, sage players and National Acts, treating everyone the same.”
“Mike Hind is the funny, talented, friendly musician who charms the crowd every night” sage players and National Acts.
DIGGA DIGGA DUO
We love this Duo from Brazil! Here is what they have to say:
We are both passionate ukulele fans and have been playing over here in Brazil since 2012, a repertory dedicated to old foxtrots, novelty tunes and tin pan alley songs from the 20’s and 30’s adapted to the 4 string Duo ensemble.
The band is formed by Ana Bandarra ( ukulele, voice, kazoo ) and Edu Vila Maior ( doublebass, voice, kazoo, sousaphone, lapsteel). They have been playing mostly in Rio de Janeiro, where they live, but over the last few years had the opportunity to perform in other countries like Portugal ( Cabaret Cais Sodré – Lisbon ), Argentina ( Mundo Bizarro – Buenos Aires ), England ( Parbulele Festival ) and Ireland ( Ukulele Hooley ).
Among their main influences are artists like Ukulele Ike, Johnny Marvin, Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby, Annette Hanshaw, Ruth Etting, Helen Kane, Ada Jones and Billy Murray.
They have been involved with the uke scene in Brazil since its very beginning, being responsible for creating the first ukulele club in Brazil, a monthy event here in Rio called Cabaret das Pulgas Saltitantes ( Jumping Flea’s Cabaret ) with an open mic for many uke performers.
THE HEDGE INSPECTORS
Mike and Caroline will be performing as the Hedge Inspectors, running two ever popular Open Mic – Unplugthewood and also the Mass Jam on the Sunday. We can’t wait to see this lovely talented couple again.
They are in great demand for ukulele festivals for a reason! It is no wonder as they are great performers. The Hedge Inspectors are an acoustic based duo with original songs and unique covers.
‘Jam starters, fun raisers and general noise makers. And so it was in 2007 a man had a vision, to bring together like-minded individuals to make music and share songs. Chaos ensued and in the fall out was born UNPLUGTHEWOOD’.
Mike is a charity fund raiser and a talented singer song writer. You can find his music on iTunes and more of his videos on his YouTube channel www.youtube.com/krabbers.
Ever since he was small Simon’s mum always said that he was a natural entertainer so it was the only choice for him as a career path. He says he feels very lucky to be able to entertain people for a living and enjoys every moment that he plays music.
He fell in love with the ukulele in his early 20’s after years of playing guitar and once he had played his first chord he was hooked. He has since continued his study of the ukulele and he now teach ukulele lessons to students of all ages.
He has years of experience playing in function bands up and down the country and has been fortunate enough to visit Abbey Road studios and perform with finalists from ‘The Voice’.
Simon is a genius. Had the perfect blend to keep everyone smiling from old classics, indie to modern pop- but in his own style! Knew how to keep both kids and adults entertained. Highly recommended!”
Simon was incredibly friendly, professional and introduced our event perfectly – I couldn’t have picked a better act for our event. He is quirky and so incredibly talented
THE NAKED WAITERS
Experience their Handsome Harmonies and Melt-in-the-Heart Melodies
From Utah USA Coming to the UK for the first time! We think they are amazing!
The Naked Waiters are an acoustic, ukulele-based group that started in Cedar City, UT, and is now based in Provo, UT.
They specialize in fun, melt-your-heart music that’s good for the soul. They are comprised of Kim Bjerga, Clark Holmes, and Andrew Nufer. The guys enjoying playing their music and perform anywhere they can.
They have written several songs and are now trying to raise funds for a quality recording. Their songs range from cliché love, and are about quirky things like cats, balconies, and Pokémon.
In 2014, this group of friends inadvertantly became a band when their friend Ben asked them to be servers for a dinner date he was having with a girl. He asked them to wear speedos while serving their food to make things memorable, which they agreed to, but decided last minute to lose the speedos and only wear aprons and bowties. After the meal, the trio decided to serenade the couple with a few love songs they had been messing around with on ukuleles. It went better than expected. Word got out and the trio started getting requested at weddings, galas, farmer’s markets, and now even play at festivals, corporate events, have won competitions, and headline their own concerts.
The three guys are still best friends and have written many songs about life experiences as well as funny things.
We love this photo by James Millar and we love Opera-lele
They will be offering a very special performance – with the first outing of their Last Night at the Proms!
Opera-lele has rapidly established itself as one of the most innovative and exciting new acts to hit the music scene.
Opera-lele is a crossover act specialising in singing music from opera and musical theatre accompanied by the emotionally powerful yet understated twang of the ukulele.
Having both trained as singers at the Royal College of Music and Goldsmiths College in London, George Bartle and Amanda Harkett have gone on individually to forge careers for themselves as entertainers of the highest calibre.
In 2016, Opera-lele burst onto the music scene with an acclaimed performance on the main stage of the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival in Huddersfield. Audiences were stunned and excited by what they saw and heard. They received a standing ovation and were described as the “surprise hit of the festival”.
Since then, Opera-lele has been counting standing ovations at Uke East, Yorkshire Dales Ukulele Weekender and D’UkesFest.
Opera-lele aims to blur the boundaries between opera and ukulele and creates the kind of music that the whole world just may have been crying out for – at last, Opera-lele is here!
Ukulele Bartt Warburton has performed worldwide across Australia, New Zealand, England, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Greece, America, and lots of other places. His romantic and quirky songs, from “Pluck You” to “Do You Know Where I’d Like to Kiss You?” appear on his three studio albums, and in videos that have garnered millions of views.
Known for his revved-up renditions of Classical Mozart and Beethoven sonatas, Bartt’s live show is packed with fancy fingers and mirth.
As a music educator, he was named “Teacher of the Year” in the 40,000-teacher Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the world. He’s been profiled on American television and in newspapers, and has released numerous music albums on his own label, Warburtunes Music. He’s also written three ukulele instructional books, and he has several full-length instructional videos available worldwide. His signature Ukulele, the Mahalo Starter Pack, is the world’s best-selling uke, as certified by Amazon.com. Check him out at Bartt.net right now!
A virtuoso of entertainment, Tricity will take your breath away with her wonderful performance. Whether it is at a Ukulele Festival, her London Ukulele Cabaret or at the Edinburgh Fringe; audiences just love Tricity Vogue.
What others say…
“Ukulele strumming, cheeky jazz singing cabaret queen Tricity Vogue was the highlight of the evening… my toes didn’t stop tapping and the urge to sing along was unstoppable.” VintageFestival.co.uk
“Celebrated London cabaret singer Tricity Vogue loves performing, and it shows. The big red smile on her face is contagious from the start.” **** Broadway Baby
“Tricity Vogue and her uke… recipe for one of the finest shows you’ll see. Kooky, quirky and ever so sweet, it’s cabaret to run down side-streets for – just get there early.” Time Out London Critics’ Choice
We love these two, not just for their bubbly personalities but also for the fantastic music they make together. Their performance is spell binding whether it is an old classic cover which they have made their own or one of their own songs.
What others say…
“Two lovely and talented ladies who literally crossed the country to play for us at the 2014 NK Community Champion Awards; the Mersey Belles are a fantastic act, wonderful and unique artists who wowed our audience and we would absolutely love to work with them again. We have heard nothing but great praise about The Belles from our event guests. They were superb!” – Pip Batty, Communications & Media Manager, North Kesteven District Council
“The Mersey Belles are truly unique and a breath of fresh air in the entertainment industry. They are happy, upbeat and love what they do which is evident by their smiles whilst performing! They are very professional, accommodating and really easy to work with, I will be booking them again.” – Julia Bruns Director at Our Kid Brother
PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES MILLAR
Oh yes! Totally unique, The Creative Martyrs are a musical cabaret act specialising in satirical songs on the ukulele and cello. They will be doing a family friendly performance and a late night performance for those who are not easily offended!
They describe the history of The Creative Martyrs……
Gustav and Jacob Martyr; The Creative Martyrs, first appeared in 1883, performing cabaret song and speciality acts in music hall, circus, travelling shows and public houses in Glasgow and London. However many of their audiences felt The Creative Martyrs were far ahead of their time and as such it was not until their Weimar Cabaret acts of the 1920s that the by then jaded Martyrs found a sympathetic ear. They further developed their cynicism in the vaudeville shows of 1940s America by which time they were considered passé. In recent years The Creative Martyrs have returned to their roots, suffering for their art in any place that will have them and many that won’t. Performance, street theatre, improvisational interaction, mime, clowning, sketches, compere, play and a collection of dark little ditties provoke, ahem… entertain a variety of audiences.
‘The Creative Martyrs are one of the most unique and talented acts currently working the cabaret circuit and this is another wonderfully dark and delightful piece of musical theatre’ Frodo Allan
Everyone loves Phil! He is such a great performer and top quality workshop leader.
Phil’s voice is as big as his ukulele is small, and his love of vintage blues, hokum, jug band and jazz shines through in his intricate picking and driving rhythms on both uke and tenor banjo. Phil has travelled all over the UK and to Europe and the US, performing and leading workshops at festivals, theatres, clubs and events. He has appeared on several albums, performed on BBC radio and TV, taught over 1500 ukulele players, and shared the stage with some of the world’s finest players.
Phil has performed at The London Uke Fest, The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain, A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, The Great Southern Ukulele Festival, The Ukulele Hooley, Ireland, The West Coast Ukulele Retreat, California, Tenby Blues Festival, The Acoustic Festival of Britain, Off The Tracks Festival and many, many theatre and club venues such as Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham O2 Academies, Blackpool Grand Theatre, King George’s Hall Blackburn, Theater im Stall Neu Horst Germany, Derby Assembly Rooms, The Dukes Theatre Lancaster, Parr Hall Warrington…
He has performed live on various BBC regional radio stations, and been broadcast on BBC TV, Radio 4 and German NDR TV.
He is currently a contributor to Uke magazine.
Phil is a one-of-a-kind entertainer, witty and… sophisticated
Howard Coleman, organiser of ‘Live Acoustic Special
“Then on to some sublime technical skill and a guy we love and were so pleased to have along. Phil Doleman’s sets are wonderful to watch and always delivered with total professionalism. He certainly went with a bang.”
Barry Maz, ‘Got a Ukulele’ blogger and organiser of N’UkeFest
TIN ROOF STROLLERS
The Tin Roof Strollers are a Dixieland Jazz Duo consisting of George Bartle on banjolele, trombone, cornet, kazoo and of course his georgeous voice and Jeff Millar on tuba, sousaphone and trombone.
Playing several instruments, often at the same time, the Tin Roof Strollers perfom lively and characterful Dixieland and New Orleans Jazz that will get your feet tapping – so bring your dancing shoes! There really is a dance floor.
UKUS IN FABULA
We are thrilled to bring this fun loving group to the festival this year. We think you’re going to love them!
Ukus in Fabula is the Italian ukulele band playing on the international music scene. They have toured Europe, playing concerts in Lithuania, Germany, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Finland. They have taken part in national TV shows “Si può fare” (Rai), “Italia’s got talent” (Sky), and “XFactor” (Sky). Thanks to their technical skills and the variety of instruments they play, Ukus in Fabula span reggae to rock, touching on singer-songwriter and top-of-the-charts hits. The band members are Daniele Dencs, Claudio Perini and Vincenzo Icastico. They sing and play the bass, tenor, and soprano ukuleles, kazoo, violin, clarinet, trumpet, pedal steel guitar, and foot-drum. This explosive mix of colours and personalities makes Ukus in Fabula eclectic and unique. Their sound ranges from a classic and traditional acoustic trio to a complete rock band.
THE MOTHER UKERS
The Mother Ukers are a Ukulele band performing covers and original material for your pleasure. Using ukuleles of all shapes and sizes the Mother Ukers take you on a musical journey through time and space. Mixing up sounds captured in the minds of mortals from over a hundred years to create their unique ‘Ukular Fusion’. With songs & flavours of Modern pop, Punk, Classic rock, the Swinging 60s, Fabulous 50s blended together and marinaded with the sound and rhythms of the roaring 20s and seasoned with a touch of the blues in a swamp grass melody. The Mother Ukers unleash the power of their humble little four string ukes and guarantee to tickle your ears, kiss your soul & get them feet a tapping.
We are pleased to welcome Ukulele Eric to the Festival. Here is what he has to say about himself:
Started singing as a teenager in pubs and clubs, then ‘big break’ joined the now defunct ‘Black and White Minstrel Show’. Then shows in the West End and touring, then one half of a boy/girl cabaret duo, we also had a hit record. Then solo cabaret singer, then self-contained voc/guitar. Also did a few years on the country music circuit. Also worked as a cruise director. I’m also an actor.
Shows, panto, cabaret, band singer, wedding singer, one-man shows, fringe plays, clubs, holiday camps, cruises. You name it, I’ve done it. I now perform as a ukulele entertainer, known as Ukulele Eric.
Nottingham band UP were formed as a duo in 2013, by Eddie Dorey & Rob Nicholls, and became a trio in 2017 with the addition of James Dorey on u-bass.
They combine their voices and ukuleles to make an infectious & wonderfully uncomplicated sound, playing imaginative arrangements straddling folk, country & reggae drawing on original & classic songs.
The sound of contemporary folk poured through ukuleles. Original and dynamic live shows.
Derby Folk Festival Fringe
I’ve seen this amazing trio around the folk circuit and they are magical. Clever and adept at what they do. Highly recommended. Don’t miss them
Norman Randall, Vice-Chair Nottingham City Arts
Peter, now 57, has been playing the ukulele since his 8th birthday. After teaching the basics, Peter’s father introduced him to his mentor, Ray Bernard, who played solo chord melody. From that moment on, Peter became focused on this style and also was also influenced by the recordings of Roy Smeck from the USA.
At 12 years old, Peter was the first person to perform the William Tell Overture, winning a national competition against seasoned players.
After a break of 30 years exploring other instruments and various recording projects, 5 years ago he returned to his first love, the Ukulele.
Peter has since toured in America and Canada and appeared on BBC Radio and Television.
In 2016, he turned professional and was invited to the Sunshine Coast, Newcastle and Melbourne ukulele festivals in Australia.
2017 took Peter back to the Sunshine Coast, to also include New Zealand for the first time as part of his evolving career. Today Peter hosts combinations of workshop and concert, sharing the Joy of the Ukulele worldwide.
“What can we say – Peter Moss provided us with the best night’s entertainment, we have all been inspired to greater heights. Thank you from all who attended… it was a great night. The feedback from every person as they filed out of the room was that it was the very best night that they had had in a long, long time and Peter had not only taught everyone something but had kept them entertained for the entire night. What a great ukulele ambassador to the world.” Narrell Brown NukeM – Nowra Ukulele movement, Australia.
“Thank you for such an exciting ‘fun shop’ and inspiring us with your one man show. Everybody was thrilled and I hope that we’ll be seeing you again in the very near future. It’ll soon be the talk of Gloucestershire ukulele clubs. Keep up the good work and thank you once again.” John Payton.
“To reiterate John Carter’s sentiments, you are welcome anytime. You have made a lasting impression on all you have met. The epitome of a ‘muso’ who lives eats sleeps and breathes the Ukulele and music. Cheers mate, and hopefully a return to OZ when time permits. Goolwa Ukuleles.” Jeffrey Young
“You have been an inspiration to so many people over the past 2 years we have known you. You have already left a legacy behind you that will continue for many years here in Australia. You are always welcome, especially in Queensland.” Ken O’Flaherty
“What a great night of learning, fun and entertainment! Thanks, Peter, you are an inspiration to us, and have shown us what can be done with the humble little ukulele! Come back soon to teach us some more.” Marcia Cheyne
“What an absolutely fantastic time we had this afternoon with the amazing Peter Moss. Keep your eyes peeled, we will DEFINITELY be inviting him back.” Alison Carver
“Peter’s showstopper was his impression of the last movement of The William Tell Overture which he has been playing since the age of twelve! It was amazing! The audience was enthralled with his varied choice of material which included Hava Nagila, Five Foot Two and The Can Can. He encouraged the crowd to sing and clap along which created a happy and enjoyable atmosphere. Another standing ovation! Peter is certainly worthy of the title “professional” being proficient in both the banjolele and ukulele – a class act!” Richard Thomas UFOW Festival organiser.
Tia is just 16 years old but has a massive voice.
Tia is currently studying at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland after beating off the competition for one of their much sought after junior places.
Tia has performed up and down the country. She was chosen to play an original ukulele song at Talent Fest UK final at Blackpool Winter Gardens. In 2014 she reached the UK final of Chase the Stage in Cardiff. She has performed solos at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End of London. She is no stranger to the main stage at Easterbrook Hall where she regularly performs. Tia will perform just a few songs after the Rising Stars’ Competition –Main stage whilst the judges make their minds up.
THE MOURNING GLORIES
The Mourning Glories are a Netherlands based female trio, with members from The United States, Canada and France. They sing intricate harmonies in a sultry style. Switching up instruments and hardware, they yodel fearlessly, harmonize murder ballads and old time blues…
The Mourning Glories have conjured up a variety of material that has been known to swoon or haunt.
The ladies of the Canadian-American-French trio ‘ The Mourning Glories ‘ play more instruments, than on the average music store on the shelves.
Their raw, polyphonic blues takes you to the Wild West of yesteryear… ‘ hold your horses, ladies & gentlemen.
RENAISSANCE UKE MAN
Renaissance Uke Man will be entertaining us in a late night additional show – new for this year!
George Bartle aka Ukulele George aka Renaissance Uke Man studied as a classical singer and trombonist at the Royal College of Music in London and is a regular musician and musical director at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Pedigree indeed! Masterful of instrument and gifted with a strong Baroque tenor voice with perfect intonation and diction, George has a string of performing guises. Armed with bawdy leanings and an affection for witty banter and audience participation, as Renaissance Uke Man he dons his ruff to perform a collection of cheeky songs plucked from an Elizabethan alehouse and plonked onto the nearest stage or into an adjacent CD burner. The latest release from Renaissance Uke Man is “Well Beyond The Bounds Of Good Taste”… succinctly put sir!
Warning: The historically accurate lyrics are not suitable for those of a puritan disposition.
A TOUCH OF PURPLE
PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES MILLAR
A Touch of Purple is our local group from Dumfries and Galloway Ukulele Strummers and Singers (D.U.K.E.S.) – comprising of 17 members of the Purple Army of Volunteers who work so hard to keep the festival so wonderfully organised. Playing a wide variety of well-known songs to get the Saturday Festival Concert started!
Stuart takes a ‘Music for All’ approach in everything he does and loves teaching the ukulele to his 100-ish students each week. His groups range from 15 – 50 students in number, and age-wise, 8 – 80+. Collectively, Stuart’s students form clan D.U.K.E.S. (Dumfries and Galloway Ukulele Strummers and Singers). He teaches all levels from beginner to advanced and hosts a weekly ‘Uke’n Play 4 Kids’ group in which his pupils (P4 and above) play chord/strumming games, core repertoire and pop-choruses. Stuart’s main teaching groups are intergenerational and follow a ‘Jam-Teach’ format. Students enjoy a mixture of: Jamming, a weekly ‘Strummers Corner’ and a weekly ‘Top-Tip’ and ‘Refresher’. His ‘Top-Tips’ cover strumming patterns, fingerpicking, right-hand strokes and techniques and left-hand skills. In Stuart’s ‘Ukulele Band’ sessions, pupils learn how to create a ukulele orchestra arrangement of a selected song with differentiated ukulele and vocal parts.
He has taught ukulele in Dumfries Prison to mixed groups of prisoners, prison officers and agency workers and the project featured in the SPS inspection report as being of benefit to relationships between prisoners and staff. Prisoners could regularly be witnessed helping officers to play tricky chords, perhaps understandably so, as they seemed to have more time to practise than the staff! After release, one prisoner even came back into prison to attend the final session of the course and to receive his certificate. Formerly a Director of Music and Head of Expressive Arts in Secondary schools and a guest lecturer on P.G.C.E. teacher-training courses, Stuart currently lives on the beautiful Solway coast in south-west Scotland with his wife, children and grandchildren. He is the Director of ‘Ukulele Workshops in Scotland’, the Musical Director of the ‘Dumfries and Galloway People’s Choir’, Creative Director of the ‘Ukulele Festival of Scotland’ and is also proud to be associated with ‘Ukulele Class’.
“One of the most complete uke players in the world today” – Kamuke Magazine #2 (2011)
Ukulelezaza, from Belgium, is a firm favorite in the European ukulele community and has been at the forefront of the ukulele revival for over ten years. His gentle touch, right hand wizardry and tasteful arrangements have inspired, and continue to inspire, ukulele players worldwide.
Ukulelezaza (real name Remco Houtman-Janssen, born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 1973) started playing ukulele at age 11. His mother actively organized George Formby fanclub meetings and sang and played ukulele and uke-banjo in several bands. Remco lost interest in the uke during his teens but rekindled that interest in 1994, after strumming a few chords on the the banjolele that he had always kept. He has been playing passionately ever since.
One of Europe’s finest
From the mid-1990s onwards Remco played in Hawaiian bands and attended many ukulele events in the UK forming the basis of his unique style of playing. In 2006 he started a Youtube channel, his first outing as Ukulelezaza, which at the moment has over 3400 subscribers and a total of 1.27 million views. Nowadays, when performing solo, Zaza mostly plays 1920s/30s music and original instrumentals using a variety of vintage ukuleles. His gentle touch and overall right hand mastery rank him amongst Europe’s finest ukulele players. He’s featured at ukulele festivals throughout the world. Zaza is also the co-founder and organizer of the Belgian Ukulele Festival, which had its first edition in 2007 and became the inspiration and blueprint for the major European ukulele festivals today.
Bag of tricks second to none
Zaza is an experienced ukulele teacher for all levels with a bag of tricks second to none. His workshops are a highlight for many aspiring and experienced players alike. He published three tablature books with his own ukulele solo arrangements of famous and more obscure songs from the Golden Jazz Era. Hundreds of people throughout the world play his arrangements, many of which found their way to Youtube. Each book also features information about and plenty of photographs of the ukuleles he passionately collects. Zaza also released two solo albums on which he plays ukulele, plectrum banjo, tenor guitar, mandolin and lapsteel guitar.
Check Zaza’s Youtube channel for a taste of his music www.youtube.com/ukulelezaza
Since 2007 Ukulelezaza has performed at the following festivals (and more), in most cases more than once:
- Ukulele Festival of Great Britain
- Ukulele Hooley (Ireland)
- Paris Festival Ukulele (France)
- Melbourne Ukulele Festival (Australia)
- Caldogno Ukulele Meeting (Italy)
- Czech Ukulele Festival (Czech Republic)
- Thailand Ukulele Festival
- Grand Northern Ukulele Festival (UK)
- Great Southern Ukulele Festival (UK)
- Haapavesi Folk Festival (Finland)
- Japan Tour 2017
PAUL L MARTIN
Yes he’s back – by popular request; our fabulous compere. Will he have learnt to play the pink ukulele we gave him? Will he have acquired a taste for Buckfast?
What we do know is he will keep us all entertained and do a most fantastic job of making things go smoothly!
Paul L Martin is one of the UK’s most sought after events comperes with a string of high profile venues and clients during his 22 years in the business. Paul has performed at such prestigious venues as Knebworth and Hampton Court Palace, working for clients including Vodafone, Tesco, National Trust, M&S and the cast of Eastenders. He is now keeping us all entertained in the new Prime Time BBC Saturday Night show – All Together Now.
Paul originally trained in Musical Theatre at Mountview Theatre School and has been an International cabaret performer for many years.
What others say…
‘a most enjoyable evening, highly amusing’ Boy George, Sunday Express
‘the hysterical Paul L Martin shows a supreme gift for comedy’ The Stage
Ethereal vocals, poignant melodies and stirring lyrics describes award winning nu-folk singer/songwriter and musician, Zoë Bestel, hailed as one of the countries most exciting emerging talents.
With her first EP, 35 Missed Calls – released in 2012, when she was just 14 – reaching number three in Amazon’s folk chart, and two years later her self released debut album, Sir Lucas and the Moon, awarded Album of the Week by the Scottish Daily Record, she is winning admiration both from national press and the wider folk scene, having been invited to support such artists as The Peatbog Faeries, Emily Smith, Paul Brady, Bella Hardy and Snow Patrol’s Nathan Connolly.
As well as numerous BBC radio performances, Zoë has also played at leading festivals including Celtic Connections, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Stonehaven Folk Festival, Orkney Folk Festival, and headlined The Ukulele Festival of Scotland.
“Audiences are fast catching up with the fact that, in Bestel’s hands, the ukulele shrugs off its stereotypical comedy baggage and becomes the instrument of choice for one of Scotland’s most fascinating young singer-songwriters.” – The National“She’s destined for stardom” – The Spectator
“Pure artistry” – The Herald