CRAIG CHEE AND SARAH MAISEL
HEADLINING OUR GALA CONCERT
We are absolutely thrilled and over the moon to announce that Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee will be joining us in 2017. They are simply divine and are in great demand by ukulele festivals worldwide. MORE
HEADLINING OUR FESTIVAL CONCERT
We are incredibly proud and excited that the amazing Gracie Terzian will be performing with her ukulele at the Ukulele Festival of Scotland 2017. This is a UK first and an artist not to be missed! We love her and think you will too! MORE
HEADLINING OUR GRAND FINALE CONCERT
You are in for a treat with this brilliant Bermudian entertainer and ukulele player – and Best Of Bermuda Award Winner for 2015! MORE
HEADLINING OUR SATURDAY SHOW
We could not run our festival without our local and national star. She is not just super talented she is such a nice person too. Zoë Bestel is an award winning nu-folk singer-songwriter and musician. She is an excellent bubble maker and an even more excellent performer! MORE
Get your dancing shoes out!
KoaSound is an amazing 6 piece ukulele band from London who will be providing dance music on Friday night. That’s in addition to our Ukuceilidh and all the other wonderful things we did last year on Friday Night – Party Night. They play music from all decades and musical styles.
Meet the band:
Announced to her long-suffering parents at the tender age of five that she wanted to be a singer, and they haven’t been able to shut her up since! Having recently moved back to the big smoke after a seven year jaunt living and gigging in Brighton, she was looking to sink her teeth into something a little different and after meeting the KoaSound crew, with their big smiles and teeny weenie guitars, was hooked! A born and bred Londoner she has been gigging professionally for over 10 years, has a wealth of vocal styles under her belt and also flexes her pipes in Das Bootleg and even sings in Turkish (we think) in her own fusion brainchild, Yaz Bebek.
After being forced to play the violin by pushy parents, Joe was finally allowed his first guitar aged 7. He never looked back, and after playing in numerous bands of varying quality at school, he went on to study music at Goldsmith’s College London in 2003. He has never stopped performing and had a year long residency at the Royal Festival Hall with the singer Nila Raja. He plays both guitar and ukulele with the band.
Ian is one of the founder members of ukulele super group KoaSound. A classically trained guitarist, pianist and singer, he’s been playing music since a young boy however, he started playing the ukulele after one was delivered by a unicorn sliding down a double rainbow and his place in the band was secured.
Inspired by a night out at a ukulele jam at The George pub in Central London, Duncan Kelman decided to take the uke in a new direction by forming this rocking ukulele covers band. Duncan has a real passion for promoting the versatility of this amazing, wonderful four stringed instrument. Playing in the band is a real departure from his day job in banking.
Glasgow born and bred, Gordon spent much of his formative years playing bass and keyboards in local bands and ‘having a great time’. Unfortunately, he is unable to recall anything ‘great’ specifically but has been assured that these times did occur. After gigging and recording throughout Europe for many years and having a more manageable ‘good time’, he settled in London determined to avoid the ‘bad time’. Taken with the idea of listening to a multi–faceted ukulele experience whilst playing bass, Gordon jumped at the chance.
Growing up in a little town in the south of Spain, Bernabe once fell over into a drum as a little boy, since then he hasn’t stopped playing music. He was self-taught until he met the master Miguel Morales, who taught him Latin and Brazilian rhythms and, most importantly, to keep the groove whenever he played. That groove has since taken him to London… Bernabe has played in a wide range of bands: from blues to prog rock and electro pop, but he insists that playing in a ukulele-based party band is the most amazing thing he has done so far.
Hold onto your hats! Or your Sporrans! – Our Friday night fun just got even more fun! We will be doing all that we were doing last year on Friday night party night but adding a Ceilidh to get your heart racing and your legs dancing or you can just watch with an amused expression from the side!
We will be using extra space (well you kind of need space at a Ceilidh) for this but still on the same fantastic one stop site!
UkuCeilidh is a new exciting three piece Ceilidh Band who definitely approach things in a different way! This is not a Ceilidh band for the purist although you will always get your Circassian Circle, Strip The Willow and A Dashing White Sergeant or two. You will also get a night of dancing to some traditional tunes and some self penned tunes with a mix of traditional and newly inspired dance moves!
We have the joy of having the amazing Rob Mackillop join us this year he will be performing and delivering aworkshops.
Bob (born in 1959 in Dundee) is a Scottish composer, lutenist, theorbist, vihuelist, and guitarist and of course a ukulele player. He is an important performer of Early Music in Scotland.
He has recorded seven CDs of music for various Early plucked instruments, three of which reached the Number One position in the Scottish Classical Music Chart. In 2001 he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for his research into medieval Scottish music. In 2004 he was named Composer in Residence for Morgan Academy in Dundee, and in 2001 was Musician in Residence for Madras College in St Andrews. He also organized and directed the Dundee Summer Music Festival.
He was formerly Musician In Residence at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh near Edinburgh.
MacKillop recorded several Cantiones Sarmaticae by Roman Turovsky on vihuela.
He has written nine Ukulele Books which are published by Mel Bay.
THE HEDGE INSPECTORS
Back by popular demand! Mike and Caroline will be performing, running the ever popular Open Mic – Unplugthewoodand 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.
We love this photo by James Millar and we love Opera-lele
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!
Don’t miss Danilo’s phenomenal performance. He will be playing with his percussionist Gio Didonna. This is a truly ‘World Class Act’!
Danilo was born in Tricase, south Italy in 1979 and holds a degree in foreign languages and literature.
After years of studies in composition, classical and ethnic music he has received international recognition when he won the prize the “BEST ELECTRIC UKULELE PLAYER IN THE WORLD” (USA 2010) and the experimenter of new techniques and virtuous percussion GIÒ DIDONNA innovative rhythms, both coming from ITALY.
They have been touring internationally to promote, UKULELE REVOLVER … which was released in 2013. Their show is an engaging journey into the rhythms and Mediterranean sounds, which gives free rein to the art of improvisation, revisiting in a modern traditional melodies (rumba, flamenco, tarantula, Arabian sounds) and interweaving them to refinements experimental psychedelic harmonies, rhythmic heavy, marked by an intercultural exchange, in which tools from overseas such as the now famous Hawaiian ukulele and the Peruvian cajon (percussion) and modern instruments like the Swiss Hang (drum), encounter a new perspective, breaking with their identity, giving rise to an exciting concert, unique in its style, which is having a great success with critics and audiences.
In October of 2015 Danilo was awarded ‘best alternative musical vanguard artist of Itlay’ by the prestigious MEI (Meeting of Independent Labels) of Faenza; one of the most influential Italian and international record labels. He is also a painter.
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
DEAD MANS UKE
We love this charismatic and mesmerising duo!
Tim & Jake Smithies have been playing music together for a while now… as a father and son duo and as part of the mighty Anything Goes Orchestra. Dead Mans Uke is a two man band playing old and new covers, dirt swing, blues and hokum tunes as well as anything else they fancy on double bass and a resonator ukulele that belonged to Tiny Tim… Having become festival favourites around the UK – recently they have headed further afield including Prague, Dublin and Paris.
What others say…
“Dead Mans Uke is a melodic, ukulele-and-bass driven tumble into the pool of popular new music. I’m impressed by their killer vocals and inventive instrumental accompaniment, hunt them down (or look them up) and listen!” Craig Robertson Boston-based songwriter and ukulele player.
“a great sounding duo with their own quirky style and a good dose of humour” the Sheffield Star Sheffield newspaper review.
“with a live presence that is rare these days, you sometimes forget there’s only two people on stage.” Keith Ayling Mister Keith – award winning singer-songwriter.
“don’t miss the dead men live!” Will Grove-White the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and author of ‘Get Plucky.’
When we started planning last year’s festival we were told “you must have the Mersey Belles they will add so much to your Festival. They are the life and soul of the party”. They weren’t wrong. We heard their excited squeals of delight as they arrived before we even saw them!
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
After seeing Andy Eastwood live for the first time at Big House in the Country we signed him up on the spot for the Ukulele Festival of Scotland!
He is not just an amazing world class musician he is a brilliant entertainer and very funny. He certainly got the crowd (and us) going.
Andy’s act is an upbeat blend of dazzling instrumental artistry, foot-tapping songs and bright and breezy humour.
Born in Lancashire to a musical family, Andy began performing at an early age, studying classical violin and piano. But he also developed a passion for jazz and popular music, and having taught himself ukulele he made history at Oxford University as the only musician ever to give his degree recital on the instrument! He is now considered one of the world’s foremost ukulele players and is proud to have contributed to its continuing popularity.
The legendary Ken Dodd gave Andy his break into theatre, and he has made over 300 performances with the great comedian, as well as working with stars such as Max Bygraves, Joe Pasquale, Frank Skinner, Des O’Connor and Roy Hudd.
Andy’s one-man show is a popular attraction for cruise liners and corporate functions, and his tour schedule of major theatres and cabaret venues worldwide prompted The Stage to call him ‘the busiest man in show business’.
Audiences too have taken him to their hearts: two award-winning summer seasons in Blackpool have earned him the title of the resort’s ‘Top Solo Artist’.
Recently Andy has been portraying uke legend George Formby in the touring show We’ll Meet Again, and his festival appearances over the past year have taken him to Italy, Germany, The Czech Republic, Finland and Oklahoma City, USA.
Andy is also a popular pantomime comic (Oh yes he is….) and in between stage appearances he finds time to present Andy’s Attic on the internet radio station Retro Jukebox.
Find out more about Andy at: www.AndyEastwood.com
It is no wonder he is a favourite at festivals.
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.
We are really excited to bring back the Lucky Leles. We introduced them last year at our first festival and they went down an absolute storm. They are from Germany and are a very slick entertaining group which we think you are going to love.
One of the secrets behind the huge success of their act is the fact that they as well as being very funny they are professional musicians in their own right.
Andreas David is a versatile musician, who also has instruments such as banjo, guitar, mandolin, dobro, and lap / pedal steel guitar in addition to the ukulele. Andreas David can be heard on many recordings for film soundtracks, advertising jockeys and CD productions. He is also the arranger and musical director of various show programs, which he regularly performs on cruise ships such as M.S. Europe and M.S. Germany (the “dream ship”). He plays for the company RISA at the Musikmesse in Frankfurt, for KALA at the NAMM in the USA and at festivals from Groß-Umstadt to Hawaii. He is an experienced lecturer.
Silke Breidbach is a graduate singer and vocal teacher since 2002. She completed her singing studies at the “Artez” Academy of Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands and has been working as a professional singer in the field of jazz and pop. Just as she gives everything on stage, she also works as an enthusiastic performer at music schools, as well as a musician. She is a vocal coach and is a choral director.
This top class performer and workshop leader is incredibly popular in Ukulele Festivals in the US. He is coming to perform and run top quality workshops for us – What a privilege!
Gerald Ross is comfortable with just about every type of “roots” music there is, from western swing, bluegrass, Hawaiian, blues, jug band music, jazz standards, Tin Pan Alley, New Orleans rhythms to boogie-woogie, and he plays it all on guitar, lap-steel, Dobro and ukulele. He’s performed in concert with Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Doc Watson, Johnny Gimble, Riders In The Sky, Brownie McGhee and many others. He appears in the award-winning film documentaries “The Mighty Uke” and the PBS syndicated “Wheatland – The First 40 Years.” Gerald won the Solo Artist Category of the 1993 WEMU Jazz Competition and has appeared many times on “A Prairie Home Companion.” Today Gerald is one of America’s best-known performers, entertainers and advocates for the ukulele. He’s released seven solo CDs, published instructional materials, and is very much in demand as a music festival instructor in the United States and abroad.
“On stage, he is entertaining and very, very funny. His musicianship is superb and his audiences love his subtle–and tasteful–sense of humour. And while Gerald is an endearing solo performer, his fellow musicians know they can turn to him when they need back-up, whether it’s on the upright bass, guitar, lap steel guitar, or ukulele. Gerald is an excellent teacher as well. His workshops are well-planned, user-friendly, and constantly evolving. He gets nothing but the highest marks from his students, who love him for his skill, knowledge, and generosity. As a staff member of both the Wine Country Ukulele Festival and the West Coast Ukulele Retreat, Gerald arrives on the scene prepared and well-organized and is always willing to step in where needed. If I could clone him, I would.” Elaine de Man, Coordinator/Organizer, Wine Country Ukulele Festival
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.
We are thrilled that internationally acclaimed Ken Middleton will not only be wowing you with his performance, he will also be delivering workshops of the highest quality.
Ken has been playing the ukulele since he was young and for about seven years has worked for Ohana Music. He now travels all over the world to festivals, clubs and trade shows performing, teaching workshops and putting on displays. As a solo performer Ken plays and sings in a wide variety of styles: anything from Celtic to Cohen and Old-Time to Modern. Ken is a well-respected musician and enjoys playing, both on stage and off, with a great many well-known performers. He has made over 600 YouTube videos, many of which are instructional. He has written several ukulele eBooks. Ken owns Living Water Strings, a brand that has rapidly gained a high reputation for quality.
We are delighted to invite back our very worthy winner of our New Performers’ Competition –Mainstage 2016. Many of us that were there remember her ecstatic response when she won – whooping whilst she leapt onto the stage in a gorgeous pink frock!
A singer/ songwriter, and part of the Gloucestershire Folk scene since the mid 90’s, Sarah Kelly has supported stars like Joe Brown, Keston Cobblers Club and Mike Sanchez. In an eclectic set, rich with live-looped layers of harmony, she presents original songs, old songs and contemporary songs but always TRUE songs.
Ukulele Festival Of Great Britain “Original Songwriting Winner” 2015
Ukulele Festival Of Scotland “New Performers’ Award” 2016
Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts – Overall Singing Champion 2016.
“Sarah’s voice is hugely impressive bulging with tone, range and expression, delivered expertly with oodles of soul and personality.”(“Uke Planet”)
THE UKULELE EVANGELISTS
Prepare for the Ukulele Evangelists to bring you riotous physical comedy. They were stars of the Edinburgh festival 2014 and proud winners of the Uke of Edinburgh award for most astonishing ukulele playing.
Ukulele Evangelists are part of Slot Machine. Over the last 20 years, all 3 members of Slot Machine Theatre, Nick Tigg, Fiona Creese and Nicola Blackwell, have taught hundreds of workshops in a wide variety of theatre-related subjects all over the world.
They have created theatre-based and site-specific work, for The Kosh, LIFT, the RSC, The National Theatre, The Young Vic, the Globe, and the People Show.
Slot Machine Theatre were invited to give a series of masterclasses at the National Student Drama Festival in 2009, and ran a workshop-swap with members of the National Youth Arts Network in 2008.
Fiona Creese helped create and run The People Show’s summer school for emerging artists in 2010.
‘sublime physical comedy’ The Stage
‘somewhere between a Women’s Institute lecture and a Bacchic frenzy’ Audience member
‘fantastic comedy actors… zany, mad and hilarious’
‘brilliant… by far the most original and refreshing thing I’ve seen at the Edinburgh festival’
‘the best piece of theatre I’ve EVER seen. totally mad and totally brilliant’
LIAM CAPPER STARR
Liam has been playing ukulele since 2010, after falling out of love with his 15 year’s worth of guitar playing. He composes his own music, both instrumentals and songs, and his debut album “Needs More Cello” has been nominated for best album in the 2016 UKE Magazine awards.His playing style focuses on fingerpicking and encompasses folk and jazz, with
His playing style focuses on fingerpicking and encompasses folk and jazz, with classical lilt and a deep, bluesy vocal, whilst his compositions are delicate, intimate and thought provoking. He teaches and does worlshops, and is currently working on his second album.
GUS N’ FIN TRIO
Gus and Fin started ukulele-based entertainment on youtube when youtube was only a few months old. They made quite a few (about one video a week) between the years 2006 and 2011 which means there are lots of them. Some people have actually watched them all. Despite the fact that they haven’t made any for a while, they are still all available online and people still comment as if they were made yesterday.
Unlike many of their early youtube ukulele contemporaries, they are not now multi-millionaires selling out stadiums and so are still happy doing pretty much the same thing as they have always done: making top notch ukulele entertainment for the people. The highly talented Mark Ferrie (double Bass) joins Gus and Fin making them The Gus ’n’ Fin Trio.
We are delighted to bring you Jim D’ville from the US – another first for the Ukulele Festival of Scotland. This will be the first time that Jim has been in Europe.
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!’ James Hill
TOP FLOOR TAIVERS
Featuring members from Scotland, Ireland and England, Top Floor Taivers are the rapidly up-and-coming line-up comprising singer Claire Hastings (2015’s BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year), pianist Tina Jordan Rees, fiddler Gráinne Brady and Heather Downie on clàrsach. They have performed at many festivals and venues across the UK and Ireland, and were nominated in the Up and Coming Artist category at the 2016 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.
Their debut album; ‘A Delicate Game’ interweaves traditional Scottish, contemporary and original songs and tunes, influenced by their respective home nations and pushing the boundaries of folk. The album also includes impressive cover versions of songs by Leonard Cohen, Richard Thompson and Andy M Stewart.
The album will be toured nationwide in May/June 2017.
These four are incredibly talented. Four to watch out for – FOLK RADIO UK
A flair for arrangement – NORTHERN SKY MAGAZINE
Tia is just 15 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.
If she is looking pleased with herself she will have just finished her National 5 exams the week before the festival!
James is a professional musician and music teacher by trade. Whilst his main area of specialism is jazz double bass, he is classed as a multi-instrumentalist as he also plays cello, piano, guitar and trombone (to name but a few). James turns his hand to all genres of music from orchestral playing right the way through to rock & pop. By day, James teaches music at three of the most prestigious private schools in the Cotswolds and by night, he can be found playing jazz with some of the finest names in the business. When he is doing neither of those, he backs up some of the world’s finest ukulele players on either upright or ukulele bass. James has worked with Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee on numerous occasions. His friendship with Sarah and Craig not only took him across to the USA for the first time, but also introduced him to his now fiancée. James is also a composer; he plays in a 5 piece band which he writes for. His next career move will be to commercially release an album of his work with this group of musicians. The world of ukulele started for James when he joined in on double bass with the Cheltenham-based group “The Ukuholics” at a street fair – he decided to transform his upright bass into a giant ukulele by turning it onto its side to play it! He later discovered that the somewhat more compact ukulele bass had thankfully already been invented.
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’.
We are incredibly lucky to have Nigel Gatherer joining us again at the festival. Nigel will be leading our Scotch Corner – Not just for Scots! He led this last year with great energy which was so much fun.
He will also be delivering a workshop. Last year his workshop ‘Picking Easy Scottish Dance Tunes was very popular.
He is a professional musician and has been involved in the performing, teaching, collecting and publishing of Scottish traditional music for thirty years. In 2009 he was nominated as Tutor of the Year in the Scots Traditional Music Awards and inspires people around the world with an infectious way of transmitting music.
PAUL L MARTIN
Yes he’s back – by popular request; our fabulous compere. Will he have learned 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.
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
RISING STARS COMPETITION
These fabulous artists applied to us months ago and we have been dying to announce the very worthy finalists!
I’m Amelia, I’m 18 and I sing and put a twist on a range of songs, mainly 70s pop (David Bowie, Kate Bush, early Elton John), Punk, New Wave and the first wave of Indie music (The Smiths, The Jam, Blondie) all on my ukulele.
I’ve also started to write original songs, and my ukulele song ‘Song of the Sea Rover’ was described by Tom Robinson on his BBC 6 show as ‘absolutely genius.’
I have been gigging with just myself and my ukulele for the past couple of years now, and I’ve built a fair following from my hometown (Middlesbrough) and beyond, performing at venues such as The 02 Academy in Newcastle and Islington, and selling out several solo shows. But, it’s one of my dreams to be able to play at the Ukulele Festival of Scotland. I really do hope you like my music.
Matthew is a solo player and although he has not performed extensively we really think he deserves his place as a main stage finalist. He likes to perform Fingerstyle instrumental covers, some originals.
Genres include well known tunes, blues, swing and classical.
Laura is actually from Dumfries and Galloway. We saw her entry video and loved her and then realised she is a local girl!
‘I play originals and covers of varying genres on a concert uke, as shown on my youtube channel. I also play ukulele in a 5-piece rock band called What About Wolves.’
‘I write my own instrumental pieces. World folk styles mash up. I am a Yorkshireman stranded in Brum.. itching to play way up north..
I have pick style in my playing.
I played open mic at Warwick Uke Fest last year and they invited me back the next day to play… Off that a Birmingham group invited me to play at a West Midlands wide gathering in October..
I play guitar and mandolin and have just started doing the odd gig at real ale pubs..invited back already to one Derby pub in Feb after playing there in Dec..’
I’m a singer songwriter and ukulele player. When I perform, I play a range of music from my own to covers songs from a range of styles, although my own style is ‘folky’.
I’ve played at a number of local events, to good success and those events have led to me being invited to play at others.
I won the audience award at the Liverpool Acoustic Songwriting Challenge and came second in the judges’ award in the same competition.
Hi, I’m Marc Gallagher, and I’m a songwriter/musician. I play a combination of quirky covers and heartfelt original music.
Starting out working out the Crazy Frog theme song on piano at the age of 12, I swiftly expanded my musical repotoire. I can now play 10 instruments (piano, guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo, saxophone, clarinet, harmonica, mandolin and violin), and I started writing songs. Due to the music I have grown up listening to, my music is mainly Pop based, with a hint of Country.
Influenced by Country, Pop, Rock and Dappy, I’m always up for a laugh, but I can be serious when I want to be with a large catalogue of my personal original material. I also turn well established songs on their head, such as ‘Blurred Lines’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and some surprises.
I have played all around my local area (Crewe, Nantwich, the North-West), and I have also played outside in Wigan, Chester and Manchester. Festival-wise I have played at Crewe Live, Nantwich Jazz Festival, N’ukefest 2014. Alsager Music Festival 2015, and headlined the acoustic stage of Wigan Live 2014. I have supported ITV’s Number 1 Family Band Beardsmith, Lost in Space, Jimmy Dammage and the Shadow, played onstage with Walk Off The Earth, and supported Harry Styles’s old band White Eskimo. Name dropping session over.
I released my debut album ‘Hello Cruel World’ in early 2016, and the music video for the track ‘Baseball Game’ was even played at SXSW (South By South West) 2016 in Austin Texas, which was amazing!
MICHAEL SHEPHERD UKULELE FEVER
A instrumental ukulele player from Sheffield with his own stamp on the Ukulele. Original material that has meaning behind the music described before each track to really paint a picture in the minds of the audience all through the power of music.
Cover songs also range from popular pop songs to rock songs.
Lots of different techniques and picking techniques on show plus some of Michaels very own.
Loves to meet new people and hopefully inspire more people to play the uke and write their own music to express them selves.
SLAVES OF VENUS
A ukulele four piece based in Carlisle that all sing and play. Three ukes and a bass uke playing a mixture of post punk and new wave songs from the late 70’s to the mid 80’s.
THREE WAY SPLIT
This band describes themselves as: Three ageing pals with an ongoing obsession for trying out the unusual and unexpected on a uke!
FC Ukulele are a unique 5 piece band consisting of various ukuleles, drums, harmonica, 4 part vocal harmonies and the occasional kazoo! Expect unique arrangements of classic songs, old and new, with a repertoire that covers blues, rock, pop, soul and anything else in between.
We have been together as a band for 10 years, gigging regularly all over Scotland. We appear in the Edinburgh Fringe every year as part of the Caledonian Folk and Blues Festival at the Guildford Arms. We have also played in the Spiegeltent at Fringe by the Sea in North Berwick. We were once described in the Edinburgh Evening News as ‘Scotland’s foremost ukulele band’.
Dawn is from Paisley and describes herself as a cover artist who focuses mainly on old classics and jazz. I also love to play folk and a bit of pop too!
IZZY B UKE
Izzy B Uke is a singer songwriter:
“Izzy B has seemingly catapulted her passion for this fabulous instrument into her life. Having only been playing for a few years and writing songs even less, this fervour is fuelled by a genuine affiliation with the instrument and its symbolic relationship with the soul”
UP combine 2 voices and 2 instruments (mostly ukuleles) to make one wonderfully uncomplicated sound. Expect imaginative arrangements straddling folk, blues, country and reggae. The UP repertoire has original songs and classic, if sometimes obscure, songs from Richard Thompson, George Harrison, John Prine, Lowell George, John Estes, Terry Allen, Bob Marley and other great song writers. The signature UP sound is based on tenor & baritone ukuleles with a performance that showcases distinctive but complimentary vocal styles and harmonies, with Eddie’s melodic soloing supported by Rob’s sympathetic and percussive rhythm stylings.
Andy describes his act as: Synthpop ..using current technology. loop pedals & a ukulele synthesizer!. Oh, and an ear for a catchy tune.. You might also catch a glipse of his son Owen and may hear him at one of the Open Mics.
We’re a covers band consisting of 2 Ukes / Vocalists, Double Bass & Cajon. I reckon the 40 – 55 year old demographic probably will be most familiar with what we like to do. We’re branching out a bit these days and working on building the set out to lend a bit more variety, whilst still keeping the ‘left of centre’ approach to our setlist.
Sue is a solo singer/songwriter uke player.
She has released an album ‘53’ which features 11 tracks including ‘Hay Girl’ and ‘Media Symphony. She has performed at Caerleon Festival and in the Nottingham Big Busk and is performing at the International Women’s Day festival in Derby.