Aloha – New Year, New Beginnings

Hello you beautiful strummers – and Happy New Year to you all.

Thank you to those who joined us last night, as we re-launched the season. We decided that we could not top all the bonkers gigs we did last year, but we would try to beat our £1940 charity donation. To this end, we already have two performances on 31st March (busking in Lewes High Street) and 20th May (Lewes Spring Fayre – we are now being paid for this). More dates will follow, and we are trying to set something up at an Eastbourne supermarket.

We have decided to “re-launch” and began to brutalise our songbooks. We have hacked Book 1 down to the songs we really wanted to save. Next time, we will have a look at Book 2. Our criteria for saving songs is that they must be songs we love, and songs we want to perform in public (once that second measure was agreed the songs started to fall). This will give us plenty of space to add lots of new songs once we have gone through all the books.

We will be concentrating more on strum patterns, and looking to showcase some of our talents by allowing people to solo or play in small groups.

And we spoke a lot about the singing being more important than the playing, so really need to encourage people to raise their voices. To this end, probably a quick win we can make is to ask people not to bring banjo ukes to our fortnightly jam, as we really need to listen and hear the voices. So, with the obvious exception of Andy and his glorious bass, acoustic ukuleles only for indoor rehearsals. Do continue to bring kazoos, shakers, bells etc though.

We also spoke about introducing homemade instruments into our performances, and really want to encourage people to have a go at making their own. So next time we meet we will bring along a stack of homemade stuff to inspire you, most of which has been made by our resident recycling Womble, Great Uncle Peter. Bring along any and all homemade instruments you have.

When we next meet, bring along a transposition wheel (you will find one in the “Cool Stuff” area of our website). We will transpose Jolene together, to teach people how to use a transposer. You just print out the two circles, stick them to some light card, and then pin them together through the centre, with one wheel on top of the other, both faces showing. You should then have a double clock-face in front of you. There are oodles of good websites all about transposition wheels. Have a look at :

http://www.instructables.com/id/Key-Transposing-Wheel-for-chords/
http://ukulele-wikiwiki.com/uw/uww_goodies/Twheel_flat.pdf

And just a little whinge from me – when we play in public we always put out a really good sized group of players, but never seem to match those numbers when we meet to practice. We would dearly love to see more of our strummers when we meet, and rehearsals will be very important going forward as we are chucking out lots of songs (I think 3 songs survived the Book 1 cull) and adding lots of new stuff – please do come and join us at the fortnightly rehearsals if you can. We loves ya.

And we spoke about doing another summer ukulele camp – provisionally I would suggest 20th–22nd July to get the weekend in before the great summer get-away starts.

So, we are out of the starting blocks for 2018, and there is some great stuff ahead. Next time (24th January) we are transposing Jolene together (bring transposing wheels). We are looking at homemade instrument ideas. We are attacking Book 2. We have performances booked for 31st March and 20th May. And who knows where else we will go with this little instrument.

Peace, Love and Ukulele to you all…
Jason

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