Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Who is to blame for the worldwide phenomena of ukulele orchestras and ukulelemania?
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain!
Tap your toes with the royalty of the ukulele scene, the independent rock-stars of the “bonsai guitar”, who have plucked and sung, joked and whistled with Clean Bandit, Robbie Williams, Madness, Cat Stevens, The Ministry of Sound and Blue Peter.
The world’s very first Ukulele Orchestra is not just about ukuleles; it is about entertainment, joy, fun, strum and artistry.
The Orchestra was formed in 1985 as a bit of fun, but the first gig was an instant sell-out, and they’ve been performing ever since. By 1988 they had released an LP, appeared on BBC TV, played at WOMAD and recorded a BBC Radio 1 session.
The current ensemble has been playing together for over 20 years and has become something of a national institution.
The Orchestra has given thousands of sold-out concerts across the world, including Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland, France, America, Canada, New Zealand and Japan.
They have more recently performed sell-out shows at the Sydney Opera House (2012), The Royal Albert Hall (2009, 2012) and New York’s Carnegie Hall (2010, 2012).
Over the last 29 years, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has spawned hundreds of imitators, and you can now find Ukulele Groups in nearly every major city, indeed, the Orchestra are often blamed for the current Ukulele revival which is sweeping the globe.
The Ukulele Orchestra’s music has been used in films, plays, and commercials, while film clips of the Orchestra’s live concerts and TV appearances on websites such as YouTube have been watched millions of times. Collaborators have included Madness, David Arnold, The British Film Institute, The Ministry of Sound, Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) and The Kaiser Chiefs.
We are delighted to bring you the very talented Cynthia Kinnunen.
In her earlier years, Cynthia pursued studies in piano, completing her conservatory levels and a university degree in music. After some years away, it was the mighty ukulele that brought her back to music-making and inspired her to pursue music education again. A Level 3 James Hill Ukulele Initiative teacher, she currently wears many teaching hats, including providing private music instruction in ukulele and piano; ukulele group classes and workshops; the Royal City Ukulele Ensemble adult learning program; is a sessional lecturer at the University of Guelph; and Director of Engagement for James Hill’s Ukulele in the Classroom series. She is also the founder and director of the Royal City Uke Fest in Guelph, Ontario.
She has always felt compelled to share music, whether teaching, performing, or putting together some good old mixtapes. Influences have ranged from early 20th century big band to 80s one-hit wonders, baroque chamber works to the rhythms of world music, renaissance folk songs to 70s punk. Cynthia truly loves the diversity of music. She is a solo performer and half of the bass/ukulele duo Transit Lounge. Passionate about the role that music can play in all our lives, our homes and our communities, she encourages everyone to learn and make music, no matter their age or ability.
PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES MILLAR
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 re-joined his tour mates in February for a tour of The South before going back up t’North for another Big House in The Country.
He has headlined the Ukulele Festival of Scotland’s Grand Finale Concert every year except in 2018 when he was terribly missed when Dr’s forbid him to travel prior to a major operation!
“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.
The Naked Waiters
We bought this wonderful trio to the uk for the first-time last year and they absolutely wowed the audience, so we immediately booked them again for this year! We think they are amazing!
The Naked Waiters is a unique, ukulele-centric, acoustic trio. Kim Bjerga, Clark Holmes, and Andy Nufer have carved out a niche for themselves in their local music scene, and for good reason. Their tight, three-part harmonies, combined with interestingly composed arrangements are refreshingly diverse, both in musicianship and content. With various ukulele ranges (tenor, baritone, and bass ukulele, as well as guitar), the three have managed to produce a wide, varied sound an equally varied set list. The Naked Waiters are bridging musical gaps for all ages and ears.
Kim and Andy have been friends for years, beginning with their high school years in southern Utah, and later living together as roommates while attending a university in the same small town of Cedar City. Having previous musical experience together in a rock band called Apollo’s Army, they were pleasantly surprised when they met Clark at a crepe party hosted at their apartment, where Clark found Kim’s ukulele and began to jam. Kim and Andy decided to learn a few songs with Clark for fun. The three came together when a mutual friend, Ben, asked them to serve dinner to him and a date wearing nothing but Speedos. They decided to take it one step further; the trio stripped, and instead of Speedos, wore only aprons and bowties. Dinner was served! To conclude the meal, they had the idea to sing love songs to Ben and his shocked date. That night the trio inadvertently become a band. Later, while filming a simple video to put on YouTube for fun, the question arose – what to call themselves? The Naked Waiters was the obvious choice. Word got out, and people started hiring the trio for weddings, festivals, galas, parties, corporate events, resorts, etc. They have also won music competitions and headline their own concerts.
The Naked Waiters’ original tunes stray from the typical love song trend, and broach more authentic topics like the town where they met, childhood nostalgia, beautiful locations filled with memories, and even something as simple as a relationship with a pet cat. They have been personally invited by producers to audition for the show America’s Got Talent multiple years running, and a clip of one of their videos was briefly showcased on the show (a cover of Grace Vanderwall’s audition tune). They perform regularly around Utah, as well as other states, and in 2018 they have performed and given workshops at ukulele festivals both domestically and internationally, including The Ukulele Festivals of Nanaimo, Antelope Valley, Scotland, and have more in store during 2019. They recently relocated to Oahu in Hawaii and hope to get much inspiration from the island. They have completed an EP, which is available on major streaming and purchasing platforms, and are currently working on completing a full album.
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!
Ethereal vocals, poignant melodies and stirring lyrics describes award winning nu-folk singer/songwriter and musician, Zoë Bestel, hailed as one of the country’s 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
Ben Rouse first started on guitar at the age of 11 and by the time he was 14, he was playing lead guitar in many different bands at venues and clubs, even completing a tour of the south coast when he was 16.
He was introduced to the ukulele a few years ago and soon realised that this little instrument is capable of producing an extremely wide range of amazing sounds. Since then, he hasn’t looked back and now devotes all his time to the ukulele and Ubass.
Ben plays solo ukulele in a fast finger style and uses his love of all types of music to produce complex sounds that both astound and delight. With a mix of rock, folk, pop and classical, Ben loves taking well-known songs and arranging them for the ukulele as well as writing his own compositions.
Recently Ben has been playing the ukulele and Ubass with the internationally renowned Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and has completed tours of Sweden, Germany and the UK with them. He also had the honour of playing with the orchestra for the Queen’s private 90th birthday party at Windsor Castle.
A keen teacher of the ukulele, Ben teaches a range of workshops at festivals and private gatherings as well as writing music and arranging classical pieces for publications. He is a regular contributor to Uke Magazine, supplying tabs for a range of playing levels.
Recently remastered, Ben’s debut solo ukulele album is now available and showcases the diversity and complexity the ukulele has to offer with a mixture of covers and original pieces. His books include duets of Bach for ukulele and Ubass as well as a comprehensive guide to mastering the clawhammer technique. Ben is currently working on his second album.
Performances are fun and lively with an exciting mix of styles and musical genres delivered with a multitude of energetic rock poses.
Endorsed by Kala, Ben plays a Kala Elite ukulele, a Kala solid body fretless Ubass and a purple Ubass. He also has endorsements from L.R. Baggs, D’Addario and Logjam.
We are excited to welcome the Lucky Leles back by popular demand. They are from Germany and are a very slick entertaining group.
This German band will delight you with their amazing singer and very fine ukulele playing. They combine quality with a top-quality performance.
These guys are crazy talented and superb musicians. Mix this with amazing vocals, inventive showmanship and off the charts entertainment and you get The Lucky Leles. Trust me, you will love this group!” Mike Upton, CEO Kala Ukulele
The Luckly Leles brought the house down and consequently it is vital that they play at the 3rd Czech Ukulele Festival. Must be seen and heard, musical, funny and barnstorming.” Ben Anderson, director of the Czech Ukulele Festival
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.”
Ukus in Fabula
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 “X Factor” (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.
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.
Guitar virtuoso, composer and ukulele pioneer Richard Durrant will perform his set on both re-entrant and 5th tuned ukuleles. The performance will include Bach’s 3rd Cello Suite.
Brighton born and now living on Shoreham Beach, Richard Durrant studied guitar, cello and composition at the Royal College of Music. He gave his London debut at the Purcell Room in 1986 since when he has toured relentlessly. He has performed in the Royal Albert Hall, the wilds of South America and plenty in between.
Last year Richard cycled his concerts from St Magnus Cathedral on Orkney all the way to the Sussex coast, including a live performance on BBC Radio 3 from the centre of Sherwood Forest. Also, the Richard Durrant Orchestra gave its debut performance and Richard released his first double album Stringhenge (also available on vinyl).
Richard was recently the subject of a forty-five-minute feature on BBC6 Music. He is a natural storyteller and one of the leading guitarists of his generation.
Richard has become increasingly involved with this little instrument. This year he will play concerts at the MUMF ukulele festival in North Wales as well as the Scottish Ukulele Festival. Richard plays ukes tuned in standard tuning [gCEA] as well as ‘5th’ tuned [GDAE].
His ukulele adventures so far have included producing the classic album “The Secret of Life” for the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (recorded in his studio on Shoreham Beach). Last year Richard was asked to join the orchestra to play for Prince Charles’s birthday at Buckingham Palace. 2017 saw the premiere of Richard’s ukulele concerto “Six Grooves for Ukulele” (a short documentary about this can be found on Amazon Prime).
Richard has played ukulele at Wildlife and Beautiful Days festivals and has even performed unaccompanied Bach on the uke at a special performance on top of the Itaipu Dam overlooking Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
League of Ukulele Gentlemen
We love this group – they are a dynamic and imaginative trio, consisting of 2 electro Ukes, Bass Uke and keyboard, and with their rich 3-part vocal harmonies they have this year thrilled audiences all over Europe and the Uk. They constantly strive to show what a lyrically beautiful instrument the Ukulele is, as well as a rhythmical one.
Their shows have been called “Epic” and ” More epic than the epic I was expecting” by two of the best Ukulele players on the planet! They have a large portfolio of their own compositions which have been highly acclaimed as well as a raft of covers to which they have given their own dynamic twist. They encompass all musical styles including Folk, Rock, Swing, Classical, Pop and Comedy.
Astraluna is the stage name of Jennifer Pugh, a multi-instrumentalist with years of experience in writing and performing from her teen days in an indie band to touring worldwide with Corinne Bailey Rae 2009-2011.
Astraluna’s songs range from epic, ethereal soundscapes to stripped down emotions. Performing solo, her haunting and pure vocals compliment her warm ukulele and guitar sound: at times it is delicately harp-like and at others, part of a heavy looped backing with layered vocals, drum samples and synth pedals.
Since her debut THE PASS OF STORMS was released in October 2016, Astraluna has been building a fan base in her home town of Leeds and has performed at Outlines Festivals (Sheffield), Grand Northern Ukulele Festival (Huddersfield) and Gorjys Secrets Festival (Conwy).
Astraluna is also part of Sisterhood Music Collective – a group of 4 female solo musicians who want to collaborate rather than compete. Sisterhood stands for gender equality, especially in the music industry.
“You will hear the lilting sound of the ukulele like never before on this enchanting album… packed full of immaculate harmonies and intriguing effects. It’s a record to get lost in” (The Musician – Musician’s Union Journal – Summer 2017)
The Hedge Inspectors
PHOTO CREDIT: SIMON TAYLOR
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.
We are thrilled to bring you Dave Egan!
Dave Egan is a highly talented musician and a fantastic teacher. Dave really loves to teach ukulele, and he is as enamoured with the beginners as he is with the pros at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he teaches ukulele.
Dave is a Ukulele instructor for UCSC’s OPERS class series and at the nationally attended West Coast Ukulele Retreat at Asilomar and Hawaii, as well the Wine Country Ukulele Festival.
Dave has actually achieved “faith healer” status among those who have taken his workshop on ukulele ergonomics and claim to be pain-free for the first time in years.
Ukuceilidh put such a big smile on everyone’s face at our 2017 festival we have just had to have them back!
UkuCeilidh an offshoot from Ukulele Gentlemen 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!
Don’t miss out on the hilarity!
Andreas David is a versatile musician, who not only plays the ukulele but also instruments like banjo, guitar, mandolin, dobro and lap / pedal steel guitar. He founded the “Hot String Quintet” in 1986, which today is one of the leading bluegrass bands in Europe and played among others from 2002 to 2008 with the “Geschwisters Pfister”.
Andreas David is a sought-after studio musician on many recordings for film soundtracks, advertising jingles and CD productions to hear, he is also arranger and musical director of various show programs, with which he regularly on cruise ships such as the MS Europe and the MS Germany (the “dream ship) guest. In terms of ukulele he is on the road worldwide, as a soloist or with his trio “The Lucky Leles”. So, he plays for the company RISAat the Musikmesse in Frankfurt, for KALA at the NAMM in the USA and at festivals from Groß-Umstadt to Hawaii. As an experienced lecturer, he enthuses beginners, advanced players and guitarists alike in his workshops. In 2011, his first German-language ukulele teaching DVD was released.
Andreas David came to the ukulele via the guitar, plays (almost) everything that has strings and is a versatile musician and performer. He has toured the “siblings Pfister” band for many years, founded the Bluegrass band “Hot String Quintet”, is a sought-after studio musician (including recordings for movie soundtracks, commercial jingles and CD productions). He is also an arranger and musical director of various show programs. In terms of ukulele he is on the road worldwide, as a soloist or with his trio “The Lucky Leles”. 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. As an experienced lecturer, he inspires both beginners and advanced students in his workshops. In 2011 his first German-language ukulele teaching DVD was released. In 2016 he published “The Ukuleles Book”, 2017 “The Ukuleles Book 2nd Level”.
Andreas is an excellent lecturer with peace and patience. He has a pleasant charisma and excellent knowledge. He was great at teaching and has transferred his enthusiasm for the ukulele to us. Sandra W. – ukulele course with Andreas David 2017
Ukulele Uff Trio
PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES MILLAR
The Ukulele Uff Trio is comprised of Chris ‘Ukulele’ Uff on ukulele, Dave Searson on guitar and ‘Brother’ Bill Leach on Hawaiian guitar. They specialise in obscure and wonderful 1920s/30s jazz, Tin Pan Alley songs and traditional Hawaiian music, performed with a skill and authenticity that is rare today.
The trio started as all good trios do, as a duo. Uff and Dave first met while still at school in Liverpool, where a mutual interest in music led to the formation of various musical projects, mainly with Uff on bass and Dave on drums or guitar. When Uff discovered the ukulele there was no stopping him. He practised day and night for years developing his own original style, until he felt ready to unleash his talents upon the world. Dave in the meantime had honed his technique of ragtime and swing guitar. Uff and Dave appeared on the ukulele scene overnight, when footage from their debut performance in a variety show at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall was uploaded to YouTube to much acclaim in 2012. Since then their high energy, skilled playing and relaxed stage presence has earned them a reputation as top entertainers around the World.
PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES MILLAR
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.
PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES MILLAR
Look out they are coming back! Look what happened last time! We thought you’d love to see them on the main stage!
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’
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
We are proud to bring you Stables – The alt-folk duo formed by Matthew Lowe (Keston Cobblers Club) and Daniel Trenholme.
Stables was formed in January 2016 during late night drinks between Matthew and Daniel in London. Matthew was working on a new project idea at the time and, after playing through what was to become their first single, ‘Steam’, at 5 am, the duo was born, and quickly went public four months later.
‘Beyond Brushes’ (their debut album) was released to critical acclaim just nine months after, in August 2016, and was championed by the likes of BBC’s Steve Lamacq, Tom Robinson and BBC Recommends amongst others, soon establishing them firmly on the circuit, with a growing fan base.
Just a month after the release Matthew and Daniel embarked on their first UK headline tour, followed by a small French headline. Stables put emphasis on ‘energy’ when playing live; switching instruments and producing the sound of a full band, with big harmonies and varied styles. Matthew says; ‘I always wanted to create a simple sound that could then be taken further when needed, from a small folk club, to a large festival stage’. Stables have gone on to tour the UK further, performing at major festivals including Glastonbury Festival and five European, headline tours just over a year.
Stables’ second album, ‘Reverie’, was released at the end of February 2018, surpassing their debut. ‘We’re incredibly proud of this record and can’t wait for people to hear it’. Matthew calls it an ‘almost break up album’ that he wrote whilst in a ‘period of relationship unrest, which resolved during the process’. ‘This is the album we always wanted to release when we first imagined Stables. We love our debut, but this feels like the sound we always set out to produce’.
‘Ebullient, heartfelt alt-folk duo‘
‘A cross between The Tallest Man on Earth, early Bon Iver and The Lumineers‘
Silke Breidbach completed her vocal studies at the Artez University of Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands, and has been working as a professional jazz and pop singer ever since.
Just as she gives everything on stage, she also works as an enthusiastic vocal teacher at music schools, as well as a private voice coach for choir singers, actors and people who use the voice in their profession.
Her work as a choirmaster and choral coach, as well as her joy in teaching, brought her a few years ago to develop her own method: “The Self-confident Voice”
She has an amazing sense of humour and is part of the very popular Lucky Leles Band.
Phillipa is a RADA trained award-winning singer/songwriter and ukulele player. She has performed at venues around the world from Bucharest to Brazil and closer to her home in London including Ronnie Scotts, The London Eye, Facebook’s London office and busking on the London Underground.
She supported three-time Grammy nominated artist Joan Armatrading MBE on two separate tours after Joan herself approached Phillipa whilst she was busking at Waterloo. Festivals include CockRock, Hullabaloo, Thames Clipper River Lates Festival, Eat and Drink Festival (at The Ideal Home Show, Olympia) Essex Uke Fest and Uke East (with Ben Rouse).
Phillipa plays every Sunday at Potbelly in Stratford and has helped out at The Royal London Hospital Children’s ward helping patients and staff to learn the ukulele for Ukulele Kids Club in London.
Jim Benton-Evans is a priest, singer-songwriter, uke player, member of Fidget Spinner. He won the Rising stars Competition in the amazing Crichton Church in the 2018 Ukulele Festival of Scotland!
Jim is Rector of St Peter’s, Peebles and of St Andrew’s, Innerleithen (where he helps run The St Andrew’s Sessions). Jim is particularly interested in how the church can better engage with the community and how it can welcome people of all ages and backgrounds. He is passionate about social justice, music, especially live acoustic music – and Plymouth Argyle FC.
Jim’s new album, ‘What Is It That We Are Part Of? What Is It That We Are?’ is out and available from iTunes, Google Play and from reverendjim.bandcamp.com
Based in Galloway, Scotland, Mike is a composer and classically trained guitarist, turned ukulele player. His music is characterised by intricate fingerpicking, varied techniques and contrasting styles, giving a contemporary take on the instrument. His influences come from classical guitar, world music and prog rock.
Mike’s musical background started with playing Classical Guitar, which by the time he finished school, he could play up to about grade 7 and won the School Prize for Music for five years of outstanding work. At college Mike became more interested in the recording side of music and took Music Technology at A-Level. Mike continued his focus on audio engineering and gained a BA(Hons) degree in Creative Music Technology. His compositional skills grew and gained top grades whilst also developing an interest in scoring films.
After graduation, Mike continued to work on his music collaborating with independent filmmakers on a number of film scores. He also performed Classical Guitar regularly at craft fairs and produced an album called The Cloud of Unknowing.
He discovered the ukulele after the breakup of a long-term relationship – “the uplifting sound of the instrument and the embracing warmth of the ukulele community helped me out of a rut.” Since then, his music career has gone from strength to strength.
In 2018 Mike released his debut ukulele album ‘The Natural Place’, featuring instrumental music inspired by the Galloway countryside where he lives. He coincided the release of the album with a performance at the Ukulele Festival of Scotland, where he won a prize in the Rising Stars Competition. He has since appeared in UKE Magazine, been played on the UnplugTheWood podcast and been featured on Ukulele Hunt.
Mike also has a very popular YouTube Channel featuring clever multi tracked videos of himself (and his clones!) playing ukulele arrangements of cover songs, as well as his own solo compositions.
Polly et Les Quatre Snaar
Polly et Les Quatre Snaar is an emerging Belgian Ukulele Band. Polly, being the drummer, and ‘Les Quatre Snaar’, ‘the Four Strings’, being 3 ukulele’s and a standing bass. All with 4 strings!
Polly et Les Quatre Snaar bring an unusual mix of traditionals and quirky versions of popular and alternative songs from the 80ies till today. Britney, Jack, Frank, Lemmy and a Psycho Killer play their part on the set list. After playing at the main stage of the Genk on Stage festival last year in their hometown, they are ready to charm Scotland.
Their trip to Scotland is supported by the Flemish Government.
Singer-songwriters and musicians based in St Albans in the UK – inspired by everything from folk to post-rock – Rag House is an experimental ukulele group producing original, atmospheric soundscapes.
Formed by three members of the same family, their unique sound is based around Stephen Wragg’s imaginative fretwork, Rachel Sharman’s soaring, elegant vocals and her warm harmonium. Add in Andy Sharman’s rhythmic beats and bass and you have a group that seeks to go beyond the standard ukulele concept.
They’re delighted to have Euan Rodger join them on percussion for their debut album ‘Instamatic’, released September 2018 (available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play etc.)
Recent reviews and comments:
“Some folky/bluesy/rootsy loveliness.” – Nigel Palmer at Lowland Masters
“They sound amazing, forget George Formby and any preconceptions about ukuleles, these instruments are played as you may never have heard ukuleles played before.” – Unicorn Magazine (Folk magazine)
A Touch of Purple
Dumfries and Galloway’s amazing ukulele orchestra ‘A Touch of Purple’ performs rock and pop hits and more using a blend of harmonies and layers of ukulele loveliness. Repertoire includes hits by: George Ezra, Showaddywaddy, The Drifters, The Beatles, Eddie Cochran, Cher, Chubby Checker, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Bobby Darin, Abba, The Shadows, Katy Perry and many more…
Stuart is a musician, teacher, conductor and composer of some thirty-years-standing. He started teaching the ukulele in 2010 and currently teaches over 100 students of all ages each week. Most of Stuart’s ukulele work is in his home county of Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland but he is also in demand as a workshop leader UK-wide. He is the founder and leader of D.U.K.E.S. (Dumfries and Galloway Ukulele Strummers and Singers), he directs the ukulele band ‘A Touch of Purple’ and is the Creative Director of the Ukulele Festival of Scotland. His latest book – A Ukulele Player’s Introduction to Chord Melody Solos – is available now.
For workshops and teaching visit:
RISING STARS 2019
Eccentric double uke duo performing original songs of passion and desire with quirky humour and harmony. Earworm melodies and poetic lyrics in a crazy uketastic soundscape!!
At Dan’s first open mic in a new city, he watched Jessica perform her song about a mermaid and, attracted like the captive in her song, he knew he wanted to collaborate with her. Since then, Jessica’s ukulele evangelism has made another convert.
Dan is a classically-trained multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. ‘Jessica’ Lynn is a previous winner of Glasgow Music Festival’s Gervase Elwes trophy and has sung in diverse capacities – from classical soprano to karaoke host and covers band. She calls her ukulele her ‘mid-life crisis’ having taken it up and commenced song-writing in April 2018 and is delighted to find herself reclaiming her creativity and musical passion!
Jessica and Dan have been collaborating together since December 2018. They are regular performers in Glasgow’s pub music scene.
Ukulele Juke Box
Ukulele Jukebox are an established 3-piece band who describe themselves as playing covers from across the generations and from a variety of musical genres: ‘an eclectic mix of punk, rock, psychedelia and folk music’. Their eclecticism doesn’t stop at the music itself either it segways into their visual style too, through a variety of instruments and their physical appearance.
Ukulele Jukebox are Mike Gradwell on concert Uke and vocals; Kizzy Felstead on Tenor Uke, Banjolele, melodica, percussion, hammer and chisel and vocals; and Bob Sapey on Bass. They thoroughly enjoy what they do and you can tell!
Ra is the stage name of Dumfries-born Laura Currie – a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist with a unique and memorable voice. She plays both originals and covers, with an added bass accompaniment (Sean McNally) for extra depth: a nice compliment to the treble tones of the uke.
Peter learnt to play Leonard Cohen’s Susanne in 1972, Cavatina in 1982 and Eagles’ Take it it Easy in 1992. In 2002 he moved to the Scottish Borders. In the last 10 years he has penned over 200 songs and learn a few more covers. Today he plays a mix of his own material along with a few covers.
He is releasing his album ‘Roots & Wings’ just before the festival. Any sales made over the festival weekend will be shared 50/50 with our charity Ukulele Kids Club.
OUR SIMPLY WONDERFUL COMPERE!
Paulus (AKA Paul L Martin) is our brilliant compere who will keep you laughing as he seamlessly links the acts together!
Paulus burst into the nation’s living rooms on Saturdays in 2018 as the new hard-to-impress TV talent judge on BBC One’s ‘All Together Now’ and has since appeared in ‘All Together Now Celebrities’ as part of the BBC Christmas Eve schedule. Series Two of the show is due to air early 2019, with Paulus back in his chair – and probably staying in it!
Having previously worked on ‘Bigger Than…’ for Sky and with Mary Portas for C4, Paulus is known for his unique brand of straight-shooting and witty quips that has also been showcased at live events including Drag Idol, Burlesque Idol and Pride’s Got Talent as well as corporate and private events.
As a host and compère, Paulus, has become a familiar face at festivals, jamborees and hootenannies in the past decade, holding pivotal roles in the 2012 Olympics wrap party and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
In recent years Paulus has also been part of the team at the hugely successful Festival Of Thrift and Ukulele Festival of Scotland.