Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lots on: Announcements - Karuah, Brisbane, Central Coast, Sydney. Performances, classes and a bit on Vietnam

  1. Ukestra Performance - Karuah - 19 May.
  2. Other local(ish) performances (more into the future - Central Coast, Pennant Hills, Wollongong, Brisbane)
  3. Upcoming Ukulele Entree Course
  4. Banjo Circle - 12 May
  5. Beginners Class -  25 May
  6. Advanced Ukulele Course
  7. Cruise Ship welcoming - 26 May
  8. Do Riders news (and at Karuah)
  9. SQ3 support
  10. Facebook 
  11. Thanks to Danielle, Susan and Leigh
  12. Our time in Vietnam and Singapore (including Ukestration workshops and some TV reports and youtube links)
  13. (An ad for someone else). Andrew Clermont's Supper Club in Woodville (same weekend as Karuah).


1. Ukestra Performance - Sunday 19 May - Karuah Bluegrass Music Festival

This is a pearler of a little local festival just up the highway at Karuah (20 minutes north of Raymond Terrace).  Camping is recommended, though we'll be doing some driving that weekend. The festival runs all weekend (from Friday night).

The Ukastle Ukestra will be performing for 30 minutes at the Festival at 11:45am on Sunday 19 May. Participants get free tickets for the day (with some really great acts on, in a beautiful location next to the Karuah River, this is a top day out)

Please email Jane ( about whether you intend on performing.

We are conducting a uke workshop from 10.30.

Set List will be picked from ....

  1. Catch My Disease
  2. My Girl
  3. All I Want is You
  4. Price Tag
  5. My Island Home
  6. Somebody that I used to know
  7. I walk the line

2. Other Uke Festivals you might like to attend

20-22 September

Brisbane and Wollongong both have a festival scheduled for the same weekend (20-22 September). Of course Wollongong is closer, but the Newkulele Festival sorta made a commitment to go turn and turn about with Brisbane.

So the BUMS (Brisbane Ukulele Musicians' Society) has announced SPRUKE! A few people from Newcastle have already committed to go and we are looking for a few more. We had a lovely small group up there two years ago.

Decisions decisions!  Brisbane or Wollongong. Bloody 'ell.

23-25 August

In August the Central Coast Ukulele Club have their Uke Festival at The Entrance.

June 15

June there is Ukes in Tune in June at Pennant Hills Bowling Club.

Hawaii - July 21st

We are all locked in for Hawaii - we will start rehearsals soon, with a meeting scheduled for Sunday 25 May at 4pm at the Wickham Croatian Sports Club. If you have a last minute thought to join us, please do!

3. Ukulele Entree

We have a new Ukulele Entree class scheduled to start in the next week or so. It will be either on a Monday or a Tuesday evening night at a city (Wickham or Hamilton) venue. This is a great course for those who need to refresh their (beginnerie) skills over a six week structured class. Contact Susan ( for more info or to book in.

4. Banjo Circle

Hi there. Jane here. Finally I have got my act together and scheduled a banjo session for Sunday 12th May at the Wickham Croatian Sports Club (Albert St, Wickham).  There will be two sessions between 1:00 - 3:45pm.

Beginners - 1-2pm the first session starts at 1pm and this is for absolute beginners; people that want to learn 5 string banjo (note: not tenor banjo), either claw hammer or Scruggs style. I have a couple of banjos to loan for this session (must book for these extra cost $8). The cost for this session is $22 and also means that you can stay for the next session for free.

In the beginners session we will go over a few different rolls (Scruggs style), the claw hammer technique, explain slides, hammering on, pulling off, pushing off and "clucking". You will also start to learn to read banjo tab, which is how most banjo music is written.

Banjo Jam session
- 2:15 - 3:45pm. The second session is a jam on banjos and I imagine it will go longer but we will see. If you don't have your own banjo then you can bring a banjolele and play on that. I will bring some music for us to play and you can feel free to bring some of your own music but please photocopy enough for others (say 12 copies). I will coordinate this session, give a few tips if required, but it is not a teaching session per se, more just a jam. There will be some easy stuff for beginners but it is mostly aimed at an intermediate level. Cost for the session is $11.

For the  jam session it would be good to know your notes in the home position, be able to read a bit of tab, to know about eight chords and also how to use a capo. We will use just the open G tuning (gDGBD). For banjolele players you can have the usual ukulele GCEA tuning.

Contact Jane to book in (

5. Beginners Ukulele Class - 25 May

The next Beginners Class (with Jane) will be running on Saturday 25 May - generally the time is 1/2ish. Goes for two hours, cost is $22. We have ukes to loan and / or sell. Will be at the Wickham Croatian Sports Club.

6. Advanced Course started

An advanced ukulele course, using the James Hill course (Ukulele in the Classroom), has commenced at Charlestown with 8 students. Adults - all of them. Wednesday arvos. Contact Mark if you are interested (either as a latecomer or to express interest for future courses).

7. Cruise Ship - 26 May

Jane will be heading up a welcoming committee for a Cruise Ship on Sunday 26 May (morning - time to be confirmed).

8. Do Riders

The Do Riders are performing at the Karuah Bluegrass Music Festival, Friday night at the pub (with a number of no doubt far more talented people than we!), then Sunday arvo on the main stage in Longworth Park (2:50pm).

We also are performing at the Tea Gardens Hotel on 29 June.

By then we really should have something happening with our CD that we recently recorded!!!!

9. SQ3 - Danielle, Mark & Jane

SQ3 are making a rare appearance on 18 May. We are supporting Kristina Olsen at a fundraiser for the Greens. Kristina is a folk icon/siren from the US.

Kristina Olsen, international singer, songwriter, and Woodford favourite.
18 May. Gallipoli Club, Beaumont St, Hamilton.
Doors open at 7pm for 7.30 start. $30 (or $20 concession). Tickets available through (subject: KOlsen gig tickets) or call John on 0411 154 004.
Greens fundraiser for the coming Federal election.

Tango Dance Workshop, conducted by Kristina Olsen
Wesley Hall, Beaumont St
Sunday 19 May 11am-1pm
$15 each or $25 per couple. Tickets available through (subject: Tango workshop tickets) or call John on 0411 154 004.

10. Facebook

Another way for you to get information, and to interact with fellow ukestrans is to 'like' one of the Ukestra Facebook pages. We have had a Ukastle Ukestra page for a while, but we've now set up Tomaree Ukestra (which is fairly well 'liked'), and ones for Paterson and LakeMac. If we get enough interested local 'likes', then we can add some extra admins to it.

Is that confusing?

11. Thanks to Danielle, Susan and Leigh

Our small business - which is all about helping people to play music together - is a fantastic group effort. But this particularly is driven home for us when we are actually able to take holidays, or head off on other projects. So whilst we were away in Singapore and Vietnam, we were very lucky to have Danielle and Susan keeping things running back here at home. Leigh I'Anson is also becoming familiar to more of you.

Thank-you so much for helping us have somewhat normal lives amidst the mayhem of what we have created!

12. Vietnam and Singapore

We had a great time in Vietnam for 10 days, and then Singapore for a couple of days. If you read through this blog (in other parts), you'll find snippets about trials, joys and tribulations.

We had a great uke time, in a number of different ways.  Travelling is where the small size of the uke comes into its own. I reckon it is vital to have a musical instrument when travelling - it is such a fabulous tool for relating to others and especially to other cultures. I particularly found it useful to fend off the rampant H'mong saleswomen in Sa Pa (North West Vietnam).

"Where you from?"
"You buy from meeee???"
"You buy from her! You buy from me now!"
"Me poor, you buy from meeee?"

A surefire way to stop the constant haranguing is to sing them a song. I don't know if they were gobsmacked, or just totally confused.  But they sure shut-up. Here are a couple of photos to give you an idea.

H'mong women are short. Jane is tall.

Subduing the sales pitch. Note the different ways of dealing with the heat!
If you travel in Asia, then I think it is important to learn 'Hello' by Lionel Ritchie, but Let it Be by the Beatles had to suffice for our tour guide - self-named Jackie Chan. Have a listen / watch.

And we worked, delivering a pretty much beginners workshop in Hanoi (North Vietnam) and two sold out Ukestration workshops in Singapore (at a great shop called Ukulele Movement).

This is a 5 minute news report from the Hanoi workshop.

And this is a youtube video of a Somebody That I Used to Know ukestration in Singapore.

A comprehensive bunch of photos and video links is here on Ukulele Movement's Facebook page.

13. An advertisement for someone else!  ANDREW CLERMONT’S SUPPER CLUB COMES TO WOODVILLE (nr Maitland)

Andrew Clermont is a legend on the Australian music scene. He is performing at Karuah Bluegrass Music Festival as well. Here is the blurb I was sent. Talk to them, not Mark or Jane!

Social entrepreneur, Lucie Bruvel, invites you to the initial presentation of her inspiring concept for contemporary village life in an agricultural landscape starting here in the Lower Hunter.
For your enjoyment the evening will feature a Folk/Bluegrass Concert, showcasing the talents of Andrew Clermont’s world-class musicians with song:

Montz Matsumoto (Japan) – banjo
Brian Dover – 40’s ukulele
Tim Rickards (Alice Springs)– guitar & Stories
And multi-talented Andrew Clermont – fiddle, mandolin, guitar, didgeridoo, and Appalachian Dulcimer

Bring your friends and come prepared to share a musically eclectic  experience in a vibrant and convivial atmosphere at historic Woodville.

Friday 17th May
Woodville Hall, Paterson Road Woodville 2321
6.30 pm for 7pm start
Contribution: $28 per person payable at the door will include a savoury supper at the interval

Tea, coffee and cakes will be available after the show.
Macquariedale organic wines also on sale by the glass

Bookings preferred to Lucie Bruvel/ Phone 4938 5880
Mobile (SMS) 0412 355 63 /   Email

Boy. That was a long one!

Keep on uking on,

Mark and Jane

1 comment:

  1. Wahoo!!!
    I can see you both need a roadie and I am volunteering for your next overseas journey
    Greg (Somebody that I used to know)