Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Ukulelezaza and his Ludwig banjo-uke - "Twilight Shuffle"

I posted yesterday about Peter Moss, ace ukulele and banjo-uke player - whose playing history began with the George Formby Society but didn't end there - he plays all sorts - well, Remco Houtman-Jannsen (AKA Ukulelezaza) is another such player, another one of my favourites, whom I've featured on here many times. Like Peter, Remco only plays instrumentals.

Here's his latest video, "Twilight Shuffle", once more showing that delightful ditties can be played on a banjo-uke! I love that Ludwig. If you haven't got several thousand to spare, dollars, pounds, it makes no difference, don't waste your time looking for one - they're uke-gold....

And you'll see at the end of the video that Remco has a new tab book out - "The Glory of Love", complete with a new DVD. AND he writes about Ludwigs in there... yes, I've got mine! Silly question....! Get yours here and I'll talk more about that later... meanwhile enjoy.......

Before you do, I must say that the videos I enjoy the most are the ones that are simply produced - just the uke and the player, self-recorded, where it's just like someone sitting down and playing just for you. So here you are, it's Ukulelezaza, playing JUST for you!

Beautiful! Such a pretty ditty! And have you noticed how Remco lets you see exactly what he's playing on the fret-board? Superb! Thanks for dropping in.... see you next time!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Peter Moss - US mini-tour starts 15th November!

Peter Moss - the name is spreading... and so it should be!

You know Lil Rev? He's quite a name in ukulele circles. Well now, at Lil Rev's request, Peter Moss is going to be appearing on the same bill at the 6th Annual Milwaukee Ukulele Festival on the 22nd November... and before that he'll be in Florida, doing concerts and workshops in Bonita Springs and Fort Lauderdale, then near Orlando,) and after Milwaukee he'll be in Dayton and Cincinatti, Ohio!

If you want to know what I think of Peter Moss as a performer and workshop leader, just type his name into the search box on the right, to find previous posts! He's just fantastic!

Here's the whole itinerary - the fun starts on 15th November!

If you can get to one of these events, seriously, do not miss - I mean it, do not miss!

Have fun, Pete - and Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Johnny Foodstamp, my Kiwaya KTS-4 and a bit of Roy Smeck - what a combination!

I told you that Johnny Foodstamp (from Nashville, Tennessee) made the pilgrimage to a George Formby Society convention in Blackpool again... just a week or so ago...

He was interested in my Kiwaya uke, knowing how George Elmes (read about George here on Uke Ireland ) thinks so highly of his Kiwaya ... and as he wanted to play it, and I wanted to hear him play it, the result was this lovely impromptu performance of Roy Smeck's Music Box Waltz.

Pure magic.

Please enjoy....

Mmm, delicious!

Thanks for dropping in....

Monday, 29 September 2014

Carter Picking - bring it ON! Tutorial by Aaron Keim, The Quiet American

Two or three weeks ago or thereabouts, I was scouring the net, looking for a tutorial on Carter-picking. Uke players come in two kinds, one with a huge background of guitars, and the other with little or no guitar experience. I'm from the latter, and had only just become acquainted with the term - but when I did, I wanted to be able to do it on the uke. Nothing doing - but I did see Aaron Keim (AKA The Quiet American) pop up somewhere in the search, saying that he was preparing some tutorials on it. Well now he has, and it's really exciting....

Carter picking is a finger picking style where you pick out a melodic line with the thumb, and flick in strums with the first finger. Although Maybelle Carter didn't actually invent the style, it was she who became well known for using it and brought it to prominence. It's a lovely catchy, bouncy style that just gets your feet tapping right away... think Johnny Cash!

Aaron gives four pages of help and tabs - for that and videos click here

I've featured Aaron Keim on these pages before, he's a fantastic uke player - just check out the tag cloud at the bottom. If you're in the UK and want to see Aaron live - well, he'll be coming to the 2015 Grand Northern Ukulele Festival in Huddersfield next year! I've got my ticket already, oh yes!

(Pssst - that's a Mya-Moe uke he's playing. Beautiful American luthier-built ukes. Fred (the rooster song) from Quebec was playing a Mya-Moe banjo-uke in my post from the other day, too... see that distinctive headstock....)

Thanks for dropping in! Now to practise that Carter picking.....

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Just between ourselves, we call ourselves The Gibson Girls... Caroline, Lesley and Kate - GFS Blackpool September 2014

I always have a great time at the George Formby Society Convention in Blackpool. You know I do. I tell you all the time. But last weekend was even a bit extra-special.

Here's one reason. My very good friend Caroline Stewart became Chairman of the society. My first convention in June 2102 was her second, and we quickly became pals in the "thrash" when she advised me that the reason my uke sounded out of tune was that it should have been tuned in D, not in C - and we have been good friends ever since. Caroline sings adn plays very well, and that, together with her love of George Formby have made her very popular with the GFS audiences, as has her willingness to get involved in the society and do her bit - a very able and lovely lady, is Caroline, and a stalwart friend - someone you want in your corner.

Another such is Kate Howard, who attended her first convention, traveling all the way from her home on the Isle of Skye with a Long-Suffering-Husband in tow last year. She loves Formby and the tricky syncopated banjo-uke solos - and my goodness, can she play - yes she can! The three of us have all become good mates, all the proud owners of vintage Gibson UB2 banjo-ukes, and even the three Long-Suffering-Husbands, uke-widowers all, have become great pals and now take themselves off during the conventions to find their own amusements in the local hostelries! Such is the power and appeal of the GFS to bring people together.

Back in March, Caroline suggested that the three of us could perform a medley together, a medley of jazz standards that George performed on TV in 1958 with the Deep River Boys. We all live too far apart to be able to practise together, but we found the chords and learned these three songs, and finally on Saturday we ran them through a couple of times during the mid-afternoon break, ready to perform them during the main concert on Saturday evening. It's not a lot of rehearsal, is it, but we got through it ok.... these girls are such lovely performers, it was great to be up on that Formby stage with them!

Caroline, Lesley, Kate
Photo thanks to Jonathan Mallalieu

And here's a video! Thanks to another good pal, Pauline Aitken!

The band are fabulous. Just tell 'em what your're doing, what key you're playing in - and they're away! Matt, Tony and Dale, that time...

So now I must learn another Formby number, complete with solo. There's challenging...

Thanks for dropping in! Lots more to come...