Saturday, 7 December 2013

The N'Ukes at Halesowen- Lean on Me

Here, as promised, is a video of the N'Ukes with Barry Maz of Got a Ukulele blog, Corinne Finnan and the rest of the gang rocking it towards the end of their gig at Halesowen. What a superb show - and you can see for yourself how well it was received. If anyone is any doubt whether a bunch of ukuleles can rock it out as well as guitars,well.... think again!

And read more about them here!

Thoughts for the day - counting my blessings, and the gremlins in the fingers.....

The November miseries have left me as Christmas approaches and my mind turns to Christmas shopping and festivities. I do hate November - just one of those things - but now that the wind has left the trees outside our bedroom stripped of leaves, one of the joys of winter has returned - watching the birds from my bed as I snuggle down for an extra ten minutes under the duvet. This morning the sun has got his hat on, and sky makes a blue backdrop behind the branches of the horse chestnut in the front garden, and the huge ancient oak across the road. And as LSH read out snippets from the weekend newspaper, I watched a flock of redwings fluttering about, pale fronts and tomato-red side flashes lit up in the sunlight not four yards away from me, and in the oak across the way I could plainly see a great spotted woodpecker scurrying up the side of a large branch. It never fails to cheer. What a privilege. I think of the friends and relations who are battling with life-changing and life-threatening illness, and know that I am so lucky to be well, and able to do the things I do. And what a waste it is if I don't get on with it.

So I thought of today's list of activities and chores - among them, deciding whether or not to go for a performance of Mr Sandman at a mid-week Christmas "do" ... it's the version that I featured on here on 13th February by ukulelezaza, Remco Houtman-Janssen, and I started having a go at it in April. From the start, it's been the tricky, quick chord changes up the neck that have derailed me; first as I fiddled about to find the right frets, then to switch them round quickly enough, and last but not least, to play them cleanly. Not easy. Now, after months of practice, once I'm warmed-up and relaxed, I can do it. Just about. But in front of an audience, even a friendly, home-grown one? Nerves have always been my worst enemy when it comes to playing instruments. Gremlins get hold of my fingers, I swear they do.

But maybe, just maybe - this weekend sometime, I'll do a video of my effort with Mr Sandman, and post it for you on here, just to show you how I'm getting on. And I promise I'll tell you truthfully how many takes it took! Yeah - why not.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The N'Ukes rock up a storm in Halesowen! What a great band!

A Ukafrolic in Halesowen last night, just down the M5 motorway, not too far away from me... playing, Barry Maz of Got A Ukulele blog and his N'Ukes.

I decided to go. At the last minute, LSH (Long-Suffering-Husband) decided to join me... I was confident the band would be okay, I was confident it would be an enjoyable night out... they weren't just okay - they were absolutely fantastic! What a rockin' band....

Where shall I start... the whole band was slick and tight, their presentation completely professional and the pace never slackened; every number was well-rehearsed, from the first with "Bad Moon Risin'" to the last with "Should I Stay or Should I Go". The overall sound was good on the ears and well-balanced - I honestly cannot find a single word of criticism!

The band comprises several ukes, with bass guitarist and drummer. And they were wonderful, the lot of 'em.

Most lead vocals are carried by Barry - most ably. Nice voice... but I have to say, the performance that really stood out was that of Corinne ("Blues Queen") Finnan, on lead uke and vocals. What a voice, great instrumental leads - she should be a star, she really should. For once, LSH and I were in complete agreement about that. Something that doesn't happen THAT often!

Read more about Corinne here. Interestingly, she tells how she and Barry Maz fell in love with the ukulele after the George Harrison Memorial Concert - just like me!

If you get the chance to see this band, don't miss it, you'll be in for a real treat!

Coming up - a Youytube video of the N'Ukes. Gotta choose my favourite one first! :D