Wight Ukers in tune
Mention ‘ukulele’, and many of us, particularly the more senior members, will no doubt recall the playing of the instrument, and the songs to accompany it, by George Formby.
But here on the Isle of Wight, the ukulele is very much for the modern generation. Playing of the stringed instrument is flourishing since the Wight Ukers were formed back in the spring of 2014, after taking part in a ‘Beginners and Improvers ukulele’ session with J.C. Grimshaw at Quay Arts.
Verity Bird, a founder member of Wight Ukers, explained: “Following the beginners course we all said how much we loved it and must carry on, but of course nobody had any contact details and nothing happened. Near the end of the improvers sessions I sent round a sheet for contact details; we first met at the end of April, and the group grew from there.”
The Wight Ukers play at many events across the Island, and have already held a Ukulele Festival in Newport. Acts were local, national and even international, with visitors from as far away as Sweden and the US. Now they are hoping to stage a second Ukulele Festival in 2018.
Verity said: “We play because we love it and I hope that comes through in the music. Anyone can join Wight Ukers, and new members very quickly start to feel part of the group.
“We don’t audition people, and with reasonable numbers at a practise/jam-session, mistakes just get hidden in the crowd. If people aren’t confident about a particular chord or chord sequence, they simply play what they can, and a good time is had by all. Confidence and skills build with playing, so people find they can play more and more as time goes on.”
The group meets on Monday evenings at the Waverley Inn, Carisbrooke, from 7.00pm, and also the first and third Saturday morning of each month. They also have a new group based in the community rooms at Sandown Railway Station, next door to the Gaslight Cafe. The Sandown group meets on a Wednesday, starting at 1.30pm for learners, and then for anyone else who would like to go along from 3.00pm to 4.30pm.
You can find Wight Ukers and the Isle of Wight Ukulele Festival on Facebook, or email [email protected].
By Peter White