Sunday, 24 August 2014

Trimpell Family Fun Day

Today the Morecambe Ukulele Club played at the Trimpell Family Fun Day. It would seem that we went down well from the feedback that was received. The players enjoyed themselves anyway, and for the second time in the last few months I heard that we could have been louder. That has to be a compliment!

The Trimpell is a sports and social club in Morecambe and also happens to be where we have rehearsed every Saturday morning for the past couple of years. Prior to that we rehearsed in the Park Hotel until it closed but when the club formed over five years ago the meeting place was Morecambe Fire Station. Five years may not seem long but in ukulele club terms it makes us one of the oldest clubs around.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Chonkin' Choons Day

Chonkinfeckle is a group from Wigan. I first came across them in September 2012 when I went down to Radio Lancashire to watch Sally Naden's show. I didn't need much persuading as I had read that ukuleles were involved. It was a really enjoyable show and with free entrance too. I didn't know it at the time but the three people who were sat in front of me in the audience were from Hebden Bridge and had (and still have) a large part to play in organising the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival. I know now because Tim Cooke (on the left in the photo below) told me at this week's Chonkin' Choons Day.
10170679_823888017624891_1485681582_nI came across Chonkifeckle again at the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival last year and I have seen them at other festivals since then but this week I went to their open mic, Chonkin' Choons Day which is held every Tuesday at The Raven pub in Wigan. I had been told about it by a fellow ukulele player who had been there the previous week. What I hadn't realised was that this had been their first ever Chonkin' Choons Day. I received a report that it had been a great night and my experience of the second event couldn't have been more positive.
There are two things that stand out from Chonkinfeckle's open mic night and that is firstly that guitars are not allowed and secondly the group were very happy to support any participant. They didn't even need the music as a quick photo gave them all the information they wanted. Isn't technology wonderful! 
I had taken my eight-string ukulele which sounds like a mandolin but is tuned like a ukulele and it seemed to go down well as three people told me they enjoyed my playing! There are open mic nights everywhere. There are even open mic nights like my local pub on Wednesdays that are mainly ukulele based. However you have to go a long way to find an open mic night which is led by such a great group which makes the journey from Morecambe to Wigan very short indeed. No doubt I will be making further visits to the Raven in the future and I can look forward to seeing Chonkinfeckle in a few weeks at the next Grand Northern Ukulele Festival. 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Over Kellet and Preston

I have two ukulele events to report on today. The first was held in Over Kellet at their village hall when the Gillow group from Lancaster were playing for a 'Vintage and Craft Fair'. It looked like everyone, players and listeners, enjoyed themselves but that's generally what happens when you play the ukulele. We didn't have our usual leader, Sue Parish but we didn't play too badly. The starts and ends could have been a bit sharper, and for the first time I heard a comment that we could have been a bit louder but that must be a good comment!

This evening I went to the Preston Ukulele Strummers Society and was made very welcome. I play with four clubs on a regular basis and have visited quite a few more, but the music choice this evening was different from what I usually expect. We started with Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd and went on to play Brain Damage and Eclipse. We played a Robert Palmer song that I'd never heard previously but it reminded me of Supper's Ready by Genesis. I'll take this one with me next time I make a visit. It made my first choice of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Universally Speaking, look quite tame.

They all enjoyed their music at Preston but the thing that impressed me the most was the way they played together. It looked like they all had an in-depth knowledge of the music that they were playing. It may well be the case that there are people in every club who like this type of music but today it looked like they all did.