Shaw, our Illustrious Leader, writes:
My purpose in starting this uke-log of the meetings and
activities of the Vancouver Ukulele Circle is to give those people who are
unable to be at the a meetings a chance to get a flavour of what they
missed. I can tell you now that not all the information will be entirely
accurate. As I sit down to update this uke-log in the days after any given
meeting I will be sure to have forgotten some key moments and one or two
worthy performances and I hope that feelings won't be hurt. I will do my
best but if you notice any omissions or major inaccuracies please feel free
to email them to
Wendy Cutler so that corrections can be made.
Note from Wendy: Ralph has been keeping this blog
since the very first meeting in September, 2000. The full set of previous
years' entries is available in the
And another note from Wendy: Hansol Kim has
been documenting the events in photos. Many of the photos on the page
are his, but not all of his are shown here. You can find all the ones
he's posted in
Hansol's Vancouver Ukulele Circle collection on flickr.
Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting - Tuesday April 16, 2013
Although Canadians are getting more adventurous with
the way they look it's pretty certain that when someone manages to look
super stylish in an orange coat and orange hair they are probably
European. Three beautiful young Croatians joined us at Our Town tonight
and Tinka (the one in orange) was not shy when it came to joining me
onstage to sing harmonies to Suspicious Minds and the Tide Is High.
She's an accordion/ukulele player as well as a lovely singer and
obviously a lot of fun!
Thanks to all the people who got up to lead songs
tonight: Peter, Tom, Carol, Anne and Steve and of course Ron for pumping
out the bass all evening.
Before I tell you about the performances tonight I
just want to clarify things about the vanukes email list. To prevent
misuse please only email about events that involve a ukulele in some
capacity or other. For example Adam (who is too new to know this rule)
recently told us about his new play. That is only allowed if the play
mentions the word 'ukulele' or if an actual ukulele appears in the play.
Get the idea? Say "Yes Ralph!"
To unsubscribe: There is an unsubscribe link to
click at the bottom of the emails and then the system sends you an
email to complete the process (yeah I know it's a clunky way to do it).
If this still doesn't work for you then just contact Wendy at
email@example.com or via the vanukes website and she'll do it
Not too many performers tonight; which was kinda
nice because it gave us more time to play together at the end. First, and
because Fleetwood Mac will be in Vancouver this Month, Boaz and Bonita
sang their song 'The Chain' (that's the one that goes: If you don't love
me now etc....). It has different parts to it, and I imagine not easy to
play and they did a great job.
Young Steve once again towed his drum kit to uke
circle by bicycle. He sang a song that he recently wrote on a topic you
don't hear very often: the subject of sharing a joint with Jesus on a
road trip. 'Joints forJesus' was a real winner as I'm sure you can
Ed skillfully played a very nice rendition of Eric
Clapton's 'Tears in Heaven' with instrumental parts he got from Aldrine
Ron sang John Prine's 'All the Best' written after
he got divorced from his wife, that is after John Prine got divorced, not
Ron, but funnily enough he sang it at his ex-wife's next wedding, that is
John Prine's ex-wife, not Ron's. Jill on her Silvertone Baritone uke and
her sassy friend Fairlith sang Jonathan Coulton's song 'Still Alive'
based on what the deceased character of a computer game called Portal
might sing if she weren't dead and could sing and wasn't a now expired
persona from a computer game (I'm so out of my depth with this stuff I
hardly know where to begin.) Anyway, I describe Fairlith as 'sassy'
because Steve, wearing sweater, was making comments about what
she was saying and she rebutted, "well aren't you a little green peanut
gallery." It made me laugh, I wish I could think of things like that!
sang a lovely song called 'Safe and Sound' by Hawksley Workman. I ended
the set with my song Movie Stars, High Rollers and Big Shakers. a
number from one of my two new CDs (produced by Steve Dawson)
and, exciting news, I took delivery of the CDs today. Soon I'll be
letting you know how you can get them and all about my June 20th CD
release concert!!Meanwhile I'm heading off to tour California in May and
I'll strum with you when I get back. Until then, keep on strummin'!!!
For Book, DVDs, CDs:
Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting - Tuesday March 19, 2013
Hey ukers, here's the March report:
began performance time by not doing a performance but she did lead
the song Easter Bonnet. And she wants everyone to know that you're
welcome to join the Vancouver Walkers Meetup Group for a day! Help Wendy
kick off the Cherry Blossom Easter Parade by singing Easter Parade with
your ukulele. 1:55pm March 31 at Burrard Skytrain Station. Let Wendy
know if you'll be there -
Eric did an instrumental he wrote for a
movie called Clerks 2 that
doesn't exist. Shame really because it was
a nice tune. Craig and
Vanessa sang Beatles song We Can Work it Out.
Steve, who joined us on
bass last time, showed up with drums that he
brought through the rain on
his bike. What dedication. I was a little
nervous that drums might mess
things up but it seemed to go pretty
well. A sensitive drummer - nice.
Ken sang Baby Please Don't Go.
Stompin' Ed Dorosh gave us Stompin' Tom Connors' song Rubberhead in
memory of the great singer who passed away March 6. Then we all played
along with Keegan's "Jam Song". Bill sang Princess Pupuli Has Plenty
Papaya and She Loves to Give It Away. Adam, dressed in an incredible
pink suit and red tie, sang the Joe Jackson hit Is She Really going Out
With Him. Jeff sang Tree by the River (Iron and Wine).
newbies tonight were Nadine and Melanie who earned a (deserved
actually) standing ovation for their medley of Ho Hey and Fly. Boaz and
Bonita sang a very funny John Prine song In Spite of Ourselves and then
Tom and myself finished things off with the classic anti-discrimination
song Short People. We even managed to incorporate the My Dog Rover theme
into the Song by ending it with: Oh Short People, people are great,
people are great etc hee hee.
Thanks to those who helped lead
songs. It's the 2nd anniversary of our
songbook. And Peter gave us
four of his favourites and Tom, Craig, Carol
and Anne also jumped in
to lead some songs. Faves included: Creep, My
Way, Mr Bojangles, Over
The Rainbow, Amazing Grace and Love or Leave Me.
Tom got an awesome
funk groove happening with Feelin' Alright towards
the end and I
danced my ass off. One or two pretty fine moves there
though I say so
Now we're collecting songs for the next book so start
Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting - Tuesday February 19, 2013
I know it's supposed to be March Madness but we got
an early start at
Our town tonight. Before I begin - there's some
info about the Vancouver
Ukulele Festival opening concert (Friday
22nd) at the end of this email.
There are still tickets left (I'm in
the show so it'll be nice to see
you there if you can make it.)
I was proud to be playing my new 8-string taro-patch ukulele. It's
time in public. And we were honoured to have luthier Yusuke
join us. It took him nearly 5 years to build my uke and I'll
the story in one of my upcoming newsletters (which you
have to sign up
for on my website if you haven't already.)
Steve's back! Some of you who've been around for a while will remember
Steve. He's been coming to Our Town since the age of twelve. He and his
mom were regulars. He's now 18, lives independently and did a kickass
song that he wrote about the sort of food he's eating these days. Song
is called Eating Like a College Kid. But the best part was that he
brought his bass (he has a punk band) and while Ron was keeping things
rock steady with his Kala bass Steve's distorted bass thrummed around
the melody to songs like Lovely Hula Hands and My Blue Heaven. Cool!
Our Town was packed to the rafters once again: great energy and good
laughs all night long.
Ken started performance time with an
original called Christy Taylor, a
Leonard Cohen type of ditty I
thought. Craig and Vanessa did a medley of
Abbey Road songs with
harmonies. Craig also did a nice job of
songleading with a mostly two
chord Rolling Stones number: You Can't
Always Get What You Want.
Wren got onstage for the first time and sang Dream a Little Dream
got a heartfelt standing ovation. Adam, who enjoys watching TV
two year old, sang the theme tune to Mighty Machines. Cool
especially if you have the inner age of a 2 year old (like me.)
the Ringo Starr song: It Don't come Easy with some nice
Russ, backed by Tom, sang: We're All Alone.
I'm not sure who did it
originally but The Carpenters comes to mind.
Keegan went next with a
BRAND NEW SONG. Called The Jam Song. It
begins with a short lyric (I
like to jam, It brings people together)
and after that you just jam to
the 12 bar blues! Which is what we
Roan sang: I Don't Mind. She sings with such poise and
control it's no wonder she got herself a standing 'O'
even though it
wasn't her first time. Way to go Roan!! Ed sang an
original blues song,
one of the contenders for the Ruby's Ukes video
contest. It's called The
Sad Hat Blues and was played while wearing a
hat featuring a frowny face
on the front. All about the dilemmas
involved in wearing a sad hat. Yep,
we've all been there and ain't it
Tom gave us The Littlest Hobo theme song: Maybe
Tomorrow. Being that I'm
from the UK I have never heard this song and
it was quite something to
see the audience nearly weeping with
nostalgia. Tom even wrote his own
verse for non-hoboists like myself
to explain who he was: Tom described
the dog as being like a Navy
Seal but with Mother Theresa's heart. Isn't
that great! Tom even
managed to lever the My Dog Rover melody in there
another first timer, finished things off awesomely by singing
Jaffe's song Clementine. After that Ron, Steve, Tom, Russ and
performed Wild Thing in honour (although that could be the wrong
in our particular case) of Reg Presley of the Troggs who passed
Here's this weekend's uke fest Concert info:
February 22nd ~ For full info visit Ruby's Ukes website:
(scroll halfway down)
The Vancouver Ukulele Festival opening
Concert ~ 7pm
St James Hall,3214 W 10th Ave Vancouver, BC V6K 2L2
Tickets available $18 in advance or $25 on the door.
Oh, and I
forgot to mention: I looked really spiffy tonight :-D
strumming and smiling and we'll do it all again very soon my
The Ukulele Entertainer - Powerful Pointers for
Players and Performers
Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting - Tuesday January 15, 2013
After a night like tonight it's fun for me to think
back to the first
two years of ukulele circle when almost nobody
performed. A dozen of us
would literally sit in a circle and play
songs together. And sometimes
we'd have a spcial guest like a very
youthful James Hill or Bruce
Bissell (Tiny Tim's Road Manager) come
to visit. What energy we have
now, what fun, what a crazy bunch you
turned out to be!
I'm actually a little embarassed by my
performance tonight. I'm doing
some major recording on my two new
albums this weekend so I put new
strings on my uke this afternoon and
then brought it to lead the uke
circle; mistake! My instrument just
wouldn't stay in tune. And I should
know better. So my rendition of
The Clash's 'Hateful' was out of tune,
very "punk" and somewhat
humbling. (If you want to see a much better
version of me playing it
Ken did Heard It
Through the Grapevine with all of us doing backup.
from singing his soon to be hit: My Dog Rover and gave
us Old Lang
Syne instead - blues style with Eric on blues harp. Next up
we had an
all-girl group called The Ukalovelies. Tiffany was their lead
singer/uke player and the other three: Nataly, Dasha and Aletha (my own
daughter) did backup support on You Always Hurt the Ones You Love.
Ed did an awesome Blue Suede Shoes (with me on harmonica) plus 2
ukalovelies. He now wants to be known as Edvis!
Alone by the group Heart. And for a guy singing a 'chick'
song did a
highly admirable job. Then Craig got up and sang Come On
Midnight Runners) which, in a fit of nostalgia, took me
to the lawn
behind the 6th form building where we hung out during our
exams. Ahh my youth!
Ron Kushner, all the way from New York, was
in town and loves the circle
and played piano with us all night so we
let him do a song by himself.
What else but New York New York. Matt,
wearing a lovely shirt decorated
with lobsters, sang You Must Be Out
of Your Mind by Magnetic Fields. 2
facts about lobsters: 1) when they
reach their teenage period they are
awkward and gawky. 2) Older
lobsters lead younger lobsters around by
holding their claws.
Tom and Russ deserve special mention for their awesome duet of Paint It
Black. Russ brought his amp which has some cool effects; and their song
rocked! Then, in a move that was kinda pre-planned, I got the audience
to demand a second song - which turned out to be: My Dog Rover. The
biggest delight for me was to see the utter delight on Keegan's face as
he heard his song being sung by someone else. Priceless!
instrumental stylings keep getting better and better. But what's
really neat are the mischievous looks that he gives to the audience
while he plays. A highly entertaining instrumentalist - you don't see a
lot of those! He sang too.
Lisa, reading the tiny lyrics from her
friends iphone, sang White Winter
Hymnal by the Fleet Foxes. And Eric
finsihed off the show with another
Clash song: I Fought the Law and
the Law Won. We had a Clash sandwich!
It was a long show; only
time for 3 more playalongs after all that. But
my god it was worth
it! I look forward to seeing you in February.
Till then keep
strumming and stay warm,
Help me create Love and