Archive | November, 2018

Ukulele skills development anyone?

Five years ago I first picked up a ukulele, having bought a wonderful Collings pre production concert uke in New York. After 18 months of playing around with it, I decided to get some proper instruction. I eventually found a local teacher, but I was amazed at the lack of available teachers for a 1 – 1 basis.

I have often blogged about how the uke can be mostly a focul point for social meet ups and strum alongs and there’s definetely a place for that. In fact this Friday I’ll be sound engineer for a local uke group playing an evening of cover versions. I’ve done this many times before and its a fun night.

I also read today that Sore Fingers were struggling to get more than four people to attend their skills development workshop in 2019. They need a minimum of ten people to make a class viable and so far only four have shown definate interest. In a country where there seems to be a “uke festival” every few weeks, this seems like a terrible response but it does confirm my theory that many who pick up the uke, do so just to learn a few chords and strum along with friends. Most festival acts play cover versions and some attempt the comedic quirky route which personally I’m not a fan of, but there seems to be a real appetite for that. Yes, there are some workshops, but these are usually 60 minutes only and at the last one I attended the presenter commented “I really thought we be a lot further on than we are” during his slot, clearly surprised at the lack of musical skills from the audience.

There’s a lot of uke discussion online and an abundance of questions asking for advice. Many seem to think that watching youtube videos is the way to go, but I would always advise seeing a live human being. Phil Doleman remains a beacon of hope for ukulele education and wrote an article for the site here –

Matt Stead also is a driving force in teaching the uke in the UK and his Uke Room is a great place to learn and develop skills. You can find him here

Overseas James Hill has been a driving force in showing people the possibilities for the instrument and is once of the few ukulele players that crosses over to attract wider publci appeal.

Personally I think the ukulele is a brilliant instrument, and my hope is that the UK ukulele community can generate enough enthusiasm so a 2019 Sore Fingers workshop can take place. I guess we’ll know by the Friday deadline…


Christmas Steve

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Le Temps d’une Etincelle

Le Temps d’une Etincelle is a French band telling stories through french world songs. They write inspiring lyrics, and make the crowds dance with tight ukulele patterns and sharp percussion rhythms.

Live Concert :

Live session:


A Great new platform for Musicians – Drooble

I generally don’t recommend platforms or services unless I’m impressed, so this does not happen often! That said, for the last week I have been trying out a new platform for musicians called Drooble

This is proving to be a really interesting space for musicians to interact. The main plus points are that in order to showcase material artists need to contribute in some way and generate “karma points” This means over enthusiastic folks can’t just blast out endless material and monopolize the platform. Also you can just buy exposure like on some platforms where folks just crank their visa cards to get attention. Instead you get rewarded for various interactions including inviting other members.

Its possible to upload songs (once you have enough points) and my own experience to date is that its a friendly place and crucially on topic rather than a medium for people to rant about all manner of thinking that is often not that interesting!

There’s a Drooble chart which shows how diverse the interest actually is and it looks like the platform is getting good momentum and crucially great customer engagement.

Go check it out HERE