Duke of Uke “Springfest!” Ukulele Showcase 31
Wednesday 5th April at The Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club
FREE ENTRY – WE’LL BUILD YOU UP BUTTERCUP!
Duke of Uke “Springfest!” Easter Special Ukulele Showcase 31
We’re delighted Spring has FINALLY arrived! Away with the darkness, our 31st Ukulele showcase is a celebration of all things green and sunny, with some tenuously linked “Spring” themed songs to sing along with! 50+ ukuleles getting bright and breezy to Dusty, Bruce, The Foundations and our first ever attempt at French Opera! Annie Lennox and Boyz II Men get a look in too, come along to hear those 90s hits like you’ve never heard them before!
With a passing nod to artists we’ve lost in 2017, we’ll be getting funky with versions of Young Guns by Wham!, Lost In Music by Sister Sledge and attempting a fabulous arrangement of Don’t Get Around Much Anymore in tribute to Jazz Ukulele Legend, Lyle Ritz. Our Ukulele bosses are sure to deliver a performance that’ll have you skipping away with a spring in your step!
Duke of Uke London has been host to countless ukulele courses, putting students new to the instrument and more advanced players through their paces for almost 10 years!
Both new and seasoned players will be performing pop favourites, sing-along classics, and spirited ukulele instrumentals at our 31st ukulele showcase.
For further details and to let us know you’re coming and invite your friends an family please check the Facebook Event Page
A Tribute to Lyle Ritz – Father of Jazz Ukulele 1930-2017
We were sad to hear news of the passing of Ukulele legend Lyle Ritz this week. Lyle was the first musician to consider the ukulele as a serious Jazz instrument, and his bass playing featured in some of the biggest selling singles in history. Read on for our favourite Lyle Ritz moments.
Lyle Ritz became interested in ukulele whilst working as a musical instrument demonstrator at Southern Californian Musical Company in Los Angeles. A chance meeting with Barney Kessel, a talent scout for Verve records, resulted in the making of two albums dedicated to ukulele, ‘How About Uke?’ (1957) and ’50th State Jazz’ (1959). Not big sellers at the time, the Verve recordings have gained many new listeners over the years, especially in Hawaii. They’re now regarded as must have classic ukulele albums. Lyle’s approach to the instrument is unique. The first artist to consider ukulele as a credible jazz instrument, he’s influenced anyone who’s taken ukulele seriously ever since. Unable to support himself financially solely through ukulele record sales, Lyle switched to playing predominantly upright bass for the next two decades.
Lyle Ritz was a long standing member of ‘The Wrecking Crew’, a loose collective of L.A. session musicians whose members were hired to help craft some of the finest West Coast pop hits of the 1960 and 1970s. Famously working with Beach Boy Brian Wilson on classic albums ‘Pet Sounds’ and ‘Smile’, Lyle was one of the bass players who contributed to the sessions. ‘Good Vibrations’ was one such recording that featured his bass playing. The song was painstakingly pieced together over many sessions, making ‘who played what’ rather hard to determine! Beach Boys detectives over the years have attributed the bulk of the bass contributions to Lyle, based on the dates of the sessions. Here’s that bass line in all it’s glory!
I Got You Babe
The Wrecking Crew provided the instrumentation for ‘I Got You Babe’, a debut single for two relatively unknown singers Sonny & Cher. The single was such a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic that the debut album was swiftly recorded and rushed to press later that year. Lyle Ritz is the bass player and this tune launched his career as go-to session bassist for some of the hottest vocal talents in the industry. Here’s his take on the story from the documentary ‘The Wrecking Crew’ (2008) – well worth a watch.
Tonight You Belong To Me
We posted about THE signature tune for ukulele recently in our Valentines Special (chord sheet included!). The definitive version of the classic ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ appears in the 1979 movie ‘The Jerk’. Steve Martin appears to have transferred his impressive banjo playing skills to the ukulele in this scene.. however it is none other than Lyle Ritz providing the ukulele arrangement and playing – who else!
Here’s Lyle in later life performing ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ with Jim Beloff.
With the ukulele regaining popularity, Jim Beloff helped spread the word about Lyle’s expert jazz ukulele playing in the late 90s. In response, Lyle released a new ukulele album, ‘No Frills’ recorded at home using Garageband in 2006. Hear extracts and Lyle’s story on ‘No Frills’ at npr.org. To coincide with the world’s renewed interest in ukulele, Lyle Ritz recently penned some fantastically arranged songbooks. If you’re into jazz ukulele these are must haves!
#WorldUkuleleDay Competition: change the world 4 strings at a time!
In celebration of ‘World Play Your Ukulele Day’ we’re offering up a fun prize in our ‘change the world’ inspired competition!
Ukulele is all about sharing, community, getting together and having a great time with music. It’s inclusive, anyone can learn, it can be simple if you like, or you can aspire to be Jake Shimabukuro and be a virtuoso.. anything is possible!
We want you to celebrate with us by entering our #WorldUkuleleDay Competition!
Today is a day for playing ukulele, teaching ukulele and sharing it with friends! In this so far uncertain and slightly scary start to 2017, the certainty of C, F and G sounds mighty fine to us right about now. So we want YOU to spend today playing ukulele.. and carry on ALL WEEK!
We’re running our competition for one week starting today, all entries must be in by midnight Thursday 9th February.
In the spirit of peace, love and all things ukulele we’ve taken inspiration from The Beatles! It’s a well known fact George Harrison was a massive ukulele fan, Paul McCartney wrote his experimental classic ‘Ram On’ on the instrument and there’s even footage of Lennon having a go..
Competition time! #WorldUkuleleDay
Play our (really easy) Duke of Uke arrangement of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to be in with a chance of winning a Beatles inspired ‘Cavern Club’ Soprano Ukulele and a Beatles Ukulele Songbook!
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Grab your ukulele
2. Download the Duke of Uke arrangement of ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon
3. Youtube yourself playing ‘Imagine’ and share it with us on Facebook by adding your video as a comment to our Facebook post (follow the link below). And be sure to use the #WorldUkuleleDay tag in the description.
(a) Submit your entry by midnight on Thursday 9 February
(b) Competition is open for anyone to enter, no age restriction
(c) Entries can be solo or group, but remember there’s only one of each prize!
(d) You don’t have to cover the whole song, a verse and chorus will do!
Tips (in case you’re wondering what we’re looking for)
(a) Be ‘IMAGINE’itive (haha) with your version
(b) Our arrangement is just a blueprint, go with your instinct!
(c) Keep it simple, keep it fun
Take a look inside the Duke of Uke. We have over 100 models of Ukulele in store in all shapes and sizes, and our dedicated staff are on hand to give you all the help and advice you need to choose your perfect ukulele.