Archive | May, 2017

Crispy Jones

Crispy Jones started 2009 as a Rockabilly-Trio but are a Ukuleleband since a few years now. Crispy plays as an One-Man-Band or with other musicians from his area. They played shows with Dick Dale, Hugh Cornwell (Stranglers), The Peacocks and many more. From big Festivals with The Creepshow, Buster Shuffle or Agnostic Front, to busking or even garden party gigs. His parents brought him his first Ukulele from Hawaii and he immediately fell in love with the Ukulele. He is supported by Baton Rouge Ukuleles, Logjam Stompboxes, Farmer Foot Drums and Pyramid Strings


Dan “Dankulele” Amgine

Written by Yours Truly, Dan “Dankulele” Amgine ©2011
(Based on a true story; there was a day I left the job in Manhattan headed to Brooklyn as usual, however, I fell asleep on the train. When I awoke, I noticed I was at the end of the line on the Q train at Coney Island/Stillwell Ave stop… usually this is the last stop before the train turns back North to Manhattan, however, on this day I saw there was a stop marked on the electronic Map beyond Coney Island,.. it was THE MOON! )


Chuck Wilson


Chuck Wilson is from the USA and writes great ORIGINAL songs

Retired lawyer, loves in Kansas City, MO, Now in the embroidery and ukulele accessories business. I am the father of the Uke Thong. My store can be found by going to Etsy and search for “harpdude1”. I am totally gaga about the ukulele.


Josh Goodman

Josh Goodman is a singer/songwriter who fell in love with the ukulele about 8 years ago after playing guitar for about 15 years. He doesn’t play guitar much these days because he can’t put the ukuleles down. He’s going to need a bigger wall to hang them on.


Jim Persky

I’m a ukulele player in the Boston area. I’ve been playing the ukulele since 1976. Twenty years of trying to get a little more oomph out of a Martin soprano led me to develop a personal style that on a bigger uke has a percussive sound. Now I play mostly tenor, and I often add electric effects to the uke.

When I started playing, there was no Internet and it was hard to find out about any ukulele music that was out there. I didn’t have much interest in playing ’20s music or Hawaiian music. So I wrote songs to create my own ukulele repertoire. I also wrote songs on keyboard, which tend to sound interesting on the uke because they use chord progressions I wouldn’t have thought to use on the uke. My “Original Songs” playlist
on YouTube has songs written as far back as 1978. In addition to writing new songs, I am trying to finish up several songs that have sat half-written for years (sometimes decades).

When I play covers, I have a particular love for playing ’70s progressive rock on the uke. I’ve covered a ton of Genesis and Procol Harum songs. As part of the Ukulele Underground user forum’s “Seasons of the Ukulele” weekly challenges, I have played hundreds of different covers on YouTube. Other bands I’ve covered extensively include Fairport Convention, R.E.M., and the Moody Blues.


Kate and her Baritone

I am a Salisbury based singer songwriter who currently does a mix of originals and covers but I am slowly doing more and more covers. I love writing my own music as it can be really good catharsis when I’m stressed or down. Music has always been a passion of mine, I’ve been singing all my life, but I only really picked up a ukulele 4 years ago but when I did I got hooked. I am currently working on an album and hope to release that within the year


Difference dictates – the importance of being original

Since setting up The Original Ukulele Songs platform and running the OUS stage at GNUF 2017, I have talked a lot about “differentiation” This has (and I’m putting it mildly) provoked a great deal of discussion, some miscommunications and even some online tantrums. I have had folks shout “You are being negative”, totally missing the point of the importance of provoking discussion. I have always consistently maintained that whether you are writing a song, running an event or creating any piece of work, consider making something new as opposed to just copying what has gone before. In all marketing “difference dictates” and I speak from 25 years in business having personally learned this truth on some occasions the hard way. If you don’t stand out, you are in danger of blending in with everyone and everything else.

In 1980s I ran a number of reasonably substantial events and in 1990s set up and ran some substantial business concerns, some at a multi million pound level. In all these instances I learned some tough business lessons and some even tougher marketing lessons. I have also been fortunate enough to know a number of professional musicians who decades on still play at an international level. All these artists have had a very strong work ethic and crucially have created and maintained a unique identity. This differentiation has meant that they are globally recognizable and their work has stood the test of time. Its of course the same for all successful businesses and in my day job I am fortunate to meet with people from literally all over the globe that reconfirms this view. Striving to create something new means taking a risk rather than playing it safe. I always make a note of anything that gets my attention whether its a song, advert or live performance. I may not even like it, but at least it got my attention and that’s usually through differentiation.

A lack of differentiation means you are in danger of being lost in the crowd and although it can be seen as a safe option its often not going to result in long term success. In the music business, I’m acutely aware that I have a definite personal taste but appreciate that there is scope for all kinds of entertainment. I massively respect those artists and promoters who encourage new talent, rather than recycle the same artists, songs and event formats. We may agree to disagree on what constitutes “great entertainment” but all my experience suggests that the work that stands the test of time, does something new to stand out from the crowd. Adopting a position of differentiation also means inevitably being a target for all kinds of personal attacks, some quite hilarious

I’ve also learned the value of working with folks who have shared values. Since setting up OUS I have met some extraordinary artists who have become good friends. At the heart of OUS is a spirit of collaboration and selflessness. There’s no place for divas or folks with poor manners and that is IMO 100% a great strength. There are some great plans ahead and I think people will be surprised at the scale of the project. In the UK there will be an OUS stage at GNUF 2018, even more extraordinary than 2017.


Wrestling with the kraken, joys and frustrations of songwriting

I often talk about the process of writing songs as like “wrestling with the kraken” in that its at times a joyous and frustrating experience, but one that with some perseverance can yield great results. I’m a big fan of original songs and creative ideas can of course appear in many forms at any time. Sometimes a set of lyrics might appear and sometimes a musical idea might emerge. In my experience its always best to have some “data capture” tool, whether this is an audio recorder, phone or simple pad and paper. For this reason I am often armed with all the above items, especially as once an idea starts to emerge, it can be like a full data download.

Songs songs can be inspired can be inspired by real life events or people and some just appear out of nowhere and don’t come from any conscious reference point. With my own band “The Small Change Diaries” tracks like “Rona” and “Birdman” were inspired by specific people I had met. Other songs like “Draw you out” were inspired by the Paris terror incidents. In all cases its as it a song want’s “to get out” and as an artist I’m simply the channel for making this possible. The reason why I call it “wrestling with the kraken” is that it can be an equally exhausting and inspiring energetic process. Its then somewhat surreal to hear a track on the radio or being well received at a live festival. Sometimes a song can appear really quickly and is fully completed. Other times it can be a real battle to get something that “feels complete” and usually this means literally walking away from it and returning later. Its a bit like a sculptor gradually creating their work. There’s IMO a definite sense when its finished and a definite sense when its not quite right,,,

Working with a band is also very different to working solo. With The Small Change Diaries there are four distinct personalities so the end result has some of all of us both metaphorically and literally in the mix. Its an absolute delight to work in this way and of course the more we play as a band, the more I write with the band in mind. This November we release “Lullabies for Cynics” the second Small Change Diaries album which has a number of guests including Phil Doleman on lap steel, Laurent Zeller on violin and Sleepy Kev Bishop on Harmonica. We also have the excellent Carl Rosamond as producer ensuring we get the best possible sound.


Photos by Karen Turner Photography


Plastic Jeezus

Plastic Jeezus are a three-piece from Bournemouth. Simon plays ukulele (usually a Kala 8 string), Aaron plays bass (and occasionally a home-made U-bass) and Dave drums (usually on…er…drums).

We write toe-tapping tunes with hummable melodies and drily witty lyrics to make audiences chortle. We’re very passionate about performing original songs – there is no better feeling feeling than being onstage, watching a crowd dancing, smiling and singing along to song that YOU wrote.

You can endure more of our self-promotional waffle here, if you really want to:


João Tostes Trio

With an unprecedented work in the country, João Tostes has been perfecting himself in the ukulele, at the same time that he develops his authoral work, helps the growing brazilian ukulele community, besides giving workshops and making shows, already scheduled for Czech Republic Ukulele Festival in July, this year.

What was a solo work became a duo, with Diogo Fernandes on the acoustic bass, then trio, with one of João Tostes master’s, Felipe Moreira on the keyboard.

João graduated, like Diogo, in Bituca – University of Popular Music, with the masters Ian Guest, Gilvan de Oliveira, the own Felipe Moreira and the group Ponto de Partida.

The ukulele is the starting point for the development of songs in different styles, from lullabies, through dances, to choro and maxixe inspired by great brazilian composers.

While the songs are created, the trio presents their own songs and makes versions of remarkable songs in the history of world music, privileging artists respected by critics, always valuing the brazilian music.

João’s work extends nationally through his project called “Toca Ukulele”, one of the largest projects related to the ukulele in Latin American, having already started the “Global” version, still to be released all over the world.

João got even more respect and admiration after being endorsed by an Italian string company (Aquila Strings), and another American instrument maker (Ohana Ukuleles). He also works in the development of products related to the ukulele of the national industry.

Diogo Fernandes studied and specialized at Bituca for 8 years, having studied in the same institution with Ivan Corrêa and Enéias Xavier, and will finish this semester his graduation in Music by UFSJ (Federal University of São João del-Rei), and was recently endorsed by the national instrument manufacturer, Marquês Musical .

Felipe Moreira graduated in music from UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) and teaches piano, keyboard, musical perception and joint practice at Bituca – University of Popular Music, having already participated in countless recordings and shows, with artists such as Milton Nascimento, Amaranto, Lincoln Cheib, Renato Teixeira, Armandinho etc.

The trio is intensely united in search of authentic songs, presenting innovative arrangements, created with great care and love, providing a full and contagious musical experience to the listeners.