Monthly Archives: July 2012

Ukulele Dreams

i woke up this morning after a bizarre ukulele-related dream and googled the cost of flights to hawaii. yes, i have ukulele dreams at the moment. and no, i can’t afford to fly even a quarter of the way to hawaii! one day…..!


then i thought i still haven’t posted link to ALOHA OE for you to practise to! so here it is ALOHA OE MP3 no excuses for monday!!

So hopefully see some of you on monday and if it is a nice evening again it will be ukulele orchestra al fresco and maybe a refreshing pint afterwards


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Week 11 (23.07.12) hello sunshine!

nothing like a little bit of sunshine to keep the great mood going from the gig yesterday (it was so cool – photos to follow!). but i wish i had taken a picture of us all playing together outside tonight in the courtyard as it was such a lovely evening.

when i was thinking about starting to learn a new song, i knew it had to be something lovely, something different but a little bit challenging . naturally i went for  a traditional hawaiian song! you all know “aloha oe”…but do you know anything about it? i didn’t until today….


meet queen liliuokalani (born sept. 2, 1838, honolulu, hawaii —died nov. 11, 1917, honolulu). she was the first and only reigning hawaiian queen and the last hawaiian sovereign to govern the islands, which were annexed by the US in 1898. queen liliuokalani was head of the Oni pa’a “stand firm” movement, whose motto was “hawaii for the hawaiians.” despite her fight against annexation of the islands by the US, annexation occurred in July 1898 – the same year that she composed “aloha oe,” on the ukulele, a song synonymous with the islands ever since.

ok history lesson over…. “aloha oe” is a beautiful song. the traditional swung strum pattern is a difficult one to master as you need to mute the strings with your palm. however, by the end of the hour we were sounding pretty on it! we also looked at the tab (the ukulele’s playing the melody) in a lot of detail. i want people to lose their fear of tab and notation…so i have tried to present it in the most non-threatening way possible. you can find music from tonight here ALOHA OE.

i found music theory really difficult at school and it totally put me off. but there is no denying it makes more sense than the tab i have written previously. like i said this evening…it is worth putting the time in as it can only get easier and easier the more we do together.

audio/video to follow!

see you next week


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Our First Gig! Sunday 22nd July 2012…

SO excited about getting the opportunity to play our first gig at the ANNUAL OTLEY STREET FESTIVAL! We will be performing 4 songs starting from 3.30pm in the Market Square. the weather forecast is unseasonably SUNNY + WARM!! so there is no excuse to not come down and see us do our thing for the first time. it will be an historic moment!

yesterday, me and bob went to see a stage set up that will be similar to the one on sunday. we met mick and discussed the sound and the nightmare that is mic-ing up ukuleles! we tried out a few different options (this is sounding slightly nerdy i know) but we agreed that the best sound came from little mics that stick on to the actual body of the uke. we don’t have enough of these to go round but some of us will gather around the other mics that sounded great too.  you can just make out the stick on mics in the photo below….

hope you can come down and show your support for the OUO….it’s going to be fun for us (but also i imagine slightly nerve-wracking!)


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Week 10….it’s about time we looked at endings!

there’s nothing like a last minute opportunity to play in public to make you think ‘how are we going to end this song’?! or start it for that matter! luckily there was a room full of people to help me make those decisions (go team!). we made some great progress on the structure of 4 songs last night and i for one cannot wait for people to hear all the hard work we have put in. more details to follow about the performance soon….

it was lovely to welcome three new ukers last night and see them just join in with those of us who have been around for a few weeks. we will be meeting every monday (apart from 6th august) throughout the summer so keep coming along to practise those skills. i won’t be doing any new songs as i appreciate people will be away and things.

i had the last session with the juniors tonight until september. here comes the sun is sounding really great and i am hoping to get them recorded in september so you can hear the hard work they have put in…

keep playing and watch this space for details about sunday!


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Week 9 – Practise really does make perfect

thought you might like to see a cool picture of guys in grass skirts playing their ukes!!


ok back to last night…. so maybe practise doesn’t make ‘perfect’…who wants to be perfect anyway?! but i thought we made some really great progress last night. i was slightly apprehensive about getting people to play the same chords round and round (hopefully people will be back next week!) but it really is the only way to develop that muscle memory and improve our dexterity. i am sure i am not the only one who heard the improvements by the end of the session. so keep practising because the songs are sounding better and better every week. the singing is also getting louder too…woo hoo!

so for those of you who missed last night (or are thinking of coming along for the first time) we are working on the same 5 songs (all of which you can find the resources for by clicking on the tag menu down the right hand side of this page). but we will be focussing on it’s Now or Never CHORDS and LYRICS, STAND BY ME and THREE LITTLE BIRDS over the next few weeks. have a look at the RECAP  page to find the chords and stuff we have learnt too.

also i thought i would mention the incredible work the Junior OUO have been doing on HARD DAY’S NIGHT and HERE COMES THE SUN. (they requested the songs so i cannot be accused of forcing beatles arrangements on them!) they really are working hard on the arrangements and always impress me with their enthusiasm and commitment. i am hoping that more young people want to join them in september so please spread the word. Beginners (age 6-9) meet 4pm-4.30pm and Junior OUO (age 10+) 5pm-5.45pm.

keep practising and get in touch with any ukulele related questions/trivia/awesome photos


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It’s Now or Never – video tutorial

It’s Now or Never – Video Tutorial



ok so ‘tutorial’ seems rather grand for this video…however, if you weren’t at last nights orchestra then you may find it useful to get the strumming pattern and chord fingering.

happy playing x


July 3, 2012 · 7:49 pm

Week 8…Back to the Future!

i have to say i am having a little love affair with the 1950’s at the moment….i am listening to a lot of gene vincent and ray charles, trying to imagine myself in a cool dress singing along and playing the uke!!

so that’s what led me to this weeks song “it’s now or never” (ok so strictly 1960…but i know you will forgive me the 7 month difference….). it was released 52 years ago this week but still sounds totally timeless to me.

i just love the sound of the record; the vocal harmonies, the guitar lines and all the reverb. i just knew the OUO could do an amazing version of it…so i set about arranging it. Find the CHORDS and LYRICS here it’s Now or Never CHORDS and LYRICS we had to learn 2 new chords… A major and B minor (another bar chord!) but everyone persevered and by 7pm we were all singing the chorus at the top of our lungs!

my idea for this song was to try and replicate a few of the lovely melodic details that are on the elvis recording…such as the guitar line in the verse. i have notated it for the uke so have a look and see what you think It’s Now or Never NOTATION and TAB…it might just make sense if you have a listen to a little home recording i did of it earlier (i got a bit carried away!) and follow the music. anyway…there is half with vocals/lead uke parts and half that just has the chords so you can practise/sing a long if the moment takes you….! find my audio version here….It’s Now or Never mp3

so that’s all for this weeks instalment. and so i will leave you with the words of marty mcfly as we lead the ukulele revolution….”nobody calls me chicken!” sorry i mean….. “i guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet…but your kids are gonna love it” (this is my other geeky obsession….anything back to the future related!)

see you next week for more ukulele fun!


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