Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday December 15, 2015

Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday December 15, 2015 20121015_OurTown_JerryHolowaty_IMG_Ralph2819_c wlc

It was FUUUN!

Hello Strummers!

Everything went well tonight, indeed, you might say the evening slid along
as smoothly as an inflatable teflon sled on warm buttered runners. Big THANK
YOU to Marnie who spent hours with her hot-glue gun putting together many of
the glorious decorations. She was also responsible for most of the prizes
for the Xmas quiz. Re. the quiz: I won’t go into detail but it’s shocking to
me how little North Americans know of the Christmas hit songs that get
played relentlessly in the UK at this time of year. It’s like a totally
different musical world!

And what a great little musical world the ukulele circle is! Performance
time included a mash-up of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings by 3
generations of the Demos family (Jessica, Jordan, Audrey, Steven and John.)
Ed’s “beginner” uke group did a surprisingly proficient performance of
Silent Night – way to go guys! Jim and Miriam sang White Christmas. Derryl
did the Australian song: Six White Boomers, that is kangaroos pulling
santa’s sleigh instead of reindeer? I dunno – doesn’t sound very practical
to me – but then the whole Santa/Reindeer thing is more than a bit unusual
when you really start to think about it.

Staying on the animal theme, I sang my song Donner the Yodelling Reindeer.
Donner is one reindeer who I felt deserved his own song so I wrote it.
Jennifer, who we saw as Janis Joplin last time, took on a very different
style by singing the old (16th century) and beautiful song Coventry Carol.

Boaz sang Tom Lehrer’s “regifting” song called I Got it From Agnes. Tom M.
came with gloves-on-strings-around-neck to sing the Burt Bacharach/Hal David
song The Look of (G)love. And by remarkable coincidence the other Tom also
brought a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song, this one called What the World
Needs Now is Love Sweet Love – not really a seasonal song but definitely a
Christmas message.

And Ronin ended Performance time with Have Yourself a Merry Little
Christmas. He also mentioned what a large part of his life both the uke
circle and ukulele in general has become. I was also thanked by a couple of
others who wanted me to know how much they enjoy coming to this. That really
means a lot you know. It can be hard to tell from the stage how people are
doing in the audience and having you stand in front of me and acknowledge
what you’re getting out of it is really nice. So thank YOU for thanking me!!
Huron Carol and Fairytale in New York were great – I think I may stick them
in the new song book – just ‘coz!

Have a very merry festive season and I hope you take a little time to think
about all that is good in the world.

See you in January – if not sooner!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016!!!


Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday November 17, 2015

Hey there Strummers!
The ravages of wind, rain and power outages contributed to a slightly lower turnout than usual but it was still a VERY good time. A couple of highlights for me were having Jennifer singing Janis Joplin’s part on Bobby McGee and learning that tonight was Tom Saunder’s 10th anniversary of coming to uke circle AND he performed his 100th song. Pretty amazing.

Before I get to the other performers here’s a reminder that next month (Dec 15) is Jingelele night. We’ll be doing songs from the Christmas songbook which you can download here: and here are some additional songs to go with it:

Performance time in Dec will be seasonal songs so start planning if you want to perform!

As for tonight’s performances it got off to a great start with a very pleasing instrumental duet performed by Anthony and his young son Leo of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry.
Following the excitement of the election and a new PM we had two Trudeau songs in a row. Tom Moody sang Justin Time and I followed that up with Trudeau Gonna Show You a Better Way. It’s a song I wrote to capture the good feelings and words I’ve been hearing about the new PM. It’s been recorded so I’m planning to get it up on Youtube / facebook for you to have a look at soon.
(Here it is:

Uncle Bob sang Fly Me to the Moon with his faithful Baritone uke. Ed did an energetic take on the Beatles I Saw Her Standing There. I guess you pretty much HAVE to do that song energetically ha ha! Jennifer Joplin (that’s what I call her now) came back to sing Fare Thee Well – a lovely folk ballad. And by the way I was so happy I was able to get her to lead a song and I would love it if we could get more female voices leading more songs. What about it ladies?!!!

Tom S sang his 100th song which was about the greatest superhero of all time. Who happens to be Canadian…can you guess? That’s right, The Littlest Hobo!!
Boaz ended the evening with another TV show theme from the Unknown Stuntman (as sung by Lee Majors I believe!)

We actually got through all the planned songs tonight! The new ones went well and I’m looking forward to seeing you at the St. James Hall on December 15th for Jingelele!

Thanks to everyone who helped out: the Rogue folks and especially Susan who set up the chairs and tables pretty much single-handedly tonight. A feat that could probably only be matched by the Littlest Hobo.

Take care my friends, until next time, and keep on strummin’

Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday October 20, 2015

Greetings all!!! I just got back from Spookulele 2015. Many thanks to Marnie
and the volunteers for decorating the hall with orange paper ukuleles with
bats and other haunted bits and pieces.
The number of people in costume was huge. About 25, 30 people. Such an
array: a cook, a clown, a keg of Moosehead Beer (just picture it), Morticia
Addams, an octopus, a spider – too many creative things to count. Possibly
the most creative and definitely most obscure was Tom (with a beard) who
came as the guy who had mirrors on his jacket who crashed the uke circle
several years ago at Our Town. Tom tied bits of mirror all over his sweater
vest and the final effect was, well, interesting!! He won tickets to a
Bluegrass/Gospel concert on Oct 28.
Other prizes included Halloween candies (Coffin Crisp) and creepy
Mac+cheese. And a wine glass that holds a full bottle of wine – BELIEVE IT!
Also a pitch pipe and a felt pick.

I was dressed as a glam-Rock Keith Richards/Mick Jaggerish character and
ended Performance time by reprising my version of Jack Flash that I did with
Steve Dawson’s band recently. The first song of Performance Time was: If I
Only Had a Brain with myself as Scarecrow, Tom Moody as Tin-Man and Tom
Saunders as the lion (his costume was an amazing home-made lion’s tail!)
Deryl did a parody of I’ve Been Everywhere Man called “I’ve Seen Pubic Hair
Man”; you can guess the rest – but it was pretty funny.

If we had to name a Canadian town to be the centre of the ukulele universe
wouldn’t you pick Uclulet?! Judy is from there, she is Uclulet’s only
ukulele player and she came all the way to Vancouver just for tonight’s uke
circle. I love her!! It was her first time singing in front of people and I
was close enough to see her shaking! She did a fine job of Summertime and
got her first-timer’s standing ovation.

Tom S. then came out looking eerily like Leonard Cohen and did a brilliant
rendition of Monster Mash as sung by Leonard: “Whatever happened to my
Hallelujah twist?”
Next was Joey who sang The Snake – a catchy number!
Uncle Bob (he of the moosehead beer keg) sang Nobody Knows You When You’re
Down and Out.
Ronin did a mash-up of Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd) and London
Calling (The Clash) that was veritably haunting as it switched from on to
the other…
Ed sang Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. Tom was kicking ass on bass
tonight and really brought some songs out to shine.
Boaz sang a song written by his friend David Yakobi called Ants in the
Bathtub accompanied by Tom S.
And I finished it all off with Jack Flash. Now I am knackered and it’s time
to take off the wig and wash the eyeliner off my face. But I’m still smiling
– what a great time it was!!

Ralph Shaw

Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday September 15, 2015

Before we get going please note that Tuesday October 20 is SPOOKULELE NIGHT
– so come dressed as something! You don’t have to be in a costume but it’s
more fun if you are – and THERE WILL BE PRIZES!!

There’s a certain melancholy when the chilly winds of fall blow away the
warm summer days and this was reflected in many of the songs we played

Of course, September Song is a true classic of the “time is passing us by
all too quickly and death gets us all in the end” genre, (let me know if I
start to sound too cheerful btw.) but it’s such a good song and two separate
people brought it along to sing. So I placed them as bookends to the
performances which began with Tom playing and singing September song but
heavy on the playing and ended with Ronin doing the same song in a version
leaning more on the vocals.

In between we had Geoff sing Paul Simon’s Slip Sliding Away, Jennifer sang
Plea from a Cat Named Virtue (the Weakerthans.) Jordan and Jessica made
their Nan extremely proud by singing a beautifully harmonized version of I
Will Follow You Into the Dark (Death Cab for Cutie). Uncle Bob did Ain’t
that a Kick in The Head (famous from the original Ocean’s Eleven.) Joey then
sang Iggy Pop’s The Passenger which, he tells us, was written by Iggy and
Bowie – on a ukulele!

Boaz played an original tune which he told me before the performance was
simply called Tune although he completely refused to acknowledge this on
stage. Dunno why – but it was a neat tune! Then we had two visitors from
Mexico: Karla and Jimena. They played separately and both had lovely voices
– but especially when you consider they’re singing in a second language.
Karla sang Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley) and Jimena sang Yellow

Jen and Jacqueline, earlier seen pointing at each other to volunteer to sing
All About That Bass, were therefore dubbed The Pointer Sisters and together
they did a stirring rendition of Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours.

It was all good stuff! And the new songs were a blast too. Boaz had EVERYONE
fingerpicking As Tears Go By (see below for info about my upcoming Rolling
Stones concert). Mustang Sally was awesome and, as well, we did Don’t Fence
Me In, Ragtime Cowboy Joe, Hound Dog, All About that Bass and Irving
Berlin’s Always.
A.k.a. You’re all about ragging my hound dog by always fencing him in with
Sally’s mustang.

We didn’t get to some of the songs on the practice list but your practice
was not in vain we’ll get to most of them next time at Spookulele Night –
October 20!!

See you then!

Read on for
Rolling Stones & Abbotsford Homes…

On October 2nd and 3rd I’m performing at the Kay Meeks Centre in West
Vancouver where I’ll be reimagining the Rolling Stones on Ukulele. Here’s
the rest of the line-up: Steve Dawson, Barney Bentall, Dustin Bentall, Jim
Byrnes, Shawn Hall (The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer), Rich Hope, Craig
Northey (The Odds), Dawn Pemberton, Ndidi Onukwulu, Roxanne Potvin & Ralph
Shaw! Tickets are: $52 | $45 | $25. More info here:

I’m also booked for An Evening with Ralph Shaw – HOUSE CONCERT in
October 24, 2015 6.30pm. Tickets only $20 and only 30 seats, so…. If
you’re interested in coming you need to contact Brian soon at or phone him: 778 808 9878 to book and get the

Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday August 18, 2015

Hello Strummers!
Not only was tonight our 2nd anniversary of playing in the St James Hall, we
were also delighted to entertain my good friend Virginia Ise: the very
person who pushed me into starting this ukulele group in September 2000. And
our 15th anniversary is next month!

Warm climes bring tropical songs and many thanks to Gary Cyr for leading the
new Hawaiian numbers. And a shout out to Ronin for harmonizing on Everly
Brother’s Love Hurts. The great folks from the Rogue Folk Club were in fine
form tonight too. Lots of laughs and one of their number, Murray, even got a
standing ovation for performing a very creative rendition of Doo Ron Ron
with Ed on uke. Jennifer and Craig sang a Tango Ballad duet about the trials
of living together. Tom sang Ain’t That Peculiar – one of Marvin Gaye’s
first hits. It rocked I tell ya!

Derryl sang I’ve Been Everywhere Man. And I did page turning for him –
there’s a lot of pages in that song. Especially when the words are printed
big. Judy and Joey sang Dance Me to the End of Love by Leonard Cohen and our
friend Anna from Toronto sang the well known song Old Cotton Fields At Home
as made famous by Leadbelly, CCR and others.

Tom Moody always does something interesting and today he played Jobim’s,
Girl from Ipanema. Played in a very cool Bossa Nova style and singing in
Portuguese – WITHOUT A LYRIC SHEET. So definitely extra points for that.
Jess is heading away to music school but before going she sang Foreigner’s,
I Wanna Know What Love Is with Ed on back up. Joey sang the blues standard
Trouble in Mind (Nina Simone but sounding more like Johnny Cash.)

Ronin and Camille sang the Bee Gees song, To Love Somebody. Very nice
especially when someone in the duo wears a dress covered in pictures of
cherries; a great idea that we can all learn from. The next song was called
Because and was beautifully harmonized by Craig, Boaz, Tomi, Vanessa and
Bonita. As I listened I thought to myself, “This sounds like the sort of
thing the Beatles used to do.” And guess what – I was right! It’s from the
Abbey Road album. I should give it a listen sometime. The Beatles are a band
I’m thinking of checking out when I have time.

Tom, Boaz and Craig sang Band on The Run by Wings another interesting song
with fine harmonies and neat changes in energy. Roan “The Girl with the
Golden Voice” closed the show with I Got a Date With an Angel and she even
wore her Ralph Shaw paper bowtie -for which she created the artwork for, no

What a fabulous show it was! Thanks to everyone who performed or supported
just by being there and applauding. Remember this event only exists because
you show up so please keep coming and being part of it all.

This Friday Aug 21st I’m performing at Steveston Cannery. Admission is by
I’ll be doing a 1 hour concert and mixing it up with some ukulele
singalongs. Please bring your book, a music stand and a couple of clothes
pegs to hold
your pages down. I’ll send the song list soon so you can practice.
(Steveston Details: Friday August 21. 6.30pm to 7.30pm. Gulf of Georgia
Cannery, National Historic Site. 12138 Fourth Ave, Steveston Village)

Enjoy the rest of what seems to be an endless summer and we’ll strum again
on Sept 15 for our 15th Anniversary!

Keep Strumming and Smiling!

Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday July 21, 2015

Hello Ukers,

The weather wasn’t exactly a full-blown theme but thanks to those of
you who brought along songs that included some of these meteorological
phenomena that we’re experiencing – or at least wish we were (in the
case of rain).

The new songs: Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone, Lovely Day, Mr.
Blue Sky, Bus Stop (Under My Umbrella) and Raining in My Heart sounded
pretty good but will be even better when more of us have a grip on the
chords. Next month I’ll have more awesome songs but with easier chords –
how about that!

We had a couple of first time performers who both happened to be
strong singers: Karen sang New Slang from The Shins and later Jennifer
gave us Angel from Montgomery accompanied by Craig. Joey sang St. James
Infirmary (Gambler’s Blues), Ed and his students from Squamish played a
nice arrangement of Lavender’s Blue. It sounded fine to me but Ed said
later he felt bad that he screwed up and messed the whole thing up. Well
whatever it was – the students seemed to cope with it just fine and
really, it didn’t sound bad at all!

Deryl and Amy did a very spirited rendition of Jackson (Johnny Cash
and June Carter). Amy’s voice is perfectly suited for the song and I
liked the way she attacked Deryl with her uke at the end of it. There’s
someone who understands the meaning of the song! Tom performed a Tango
called Kiss of Fire. As always he manages to find repertoire that is out
of the ordinary and very entertaining.

My pal Jim is a plectrum banjo player who plays by ear in that
old-timer’s way of being able to play any song in any key and all the
way up the neck. He joined me on the Formby song With My Little Ukulele
In My Hand. Ron sang Chaplin’s heartbreaking song Smile from a version
he learned from Steve McNie while visiting the Toronto Ukes.

Bonita’s niece is getting married and she’s a cop, a jock and a Lord
of the Rings fan. So Bonita wrote a song about all that and she’s going
to sing it at the wedding. But we heard it first and it was rather good!
Boaz accompanied her.
Craig sang Bowie’s Starman. Joan did the Stray Cat Strut and finally
Boaz (with Bonita and Karen) finished performance time with a brilliant
song about modern-day city dog ownership by Louden Wainwright III called
Man and Dog.

Enjoy the summer. Some rain would be nice but until then spend time
in the hammock with your uke and we’ll get together again on Tuesday
August 18th.

Also please mark your calendar for Friday August 21 – that’s when
I’ll be doing a show at Steveston’s Cannery where I’ll be including a 20
minute ukulele singalong as part of the set. Should be a fun evening!
Details are on my website: and I’ll tell you more as we
get closer.

Keep Strumming and Smiling!

Ralph <br

Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday June 16, 2015

The evening began with a little boy (3 or 4 years old?) called Owen with
his red ukulele rocking out to Brown Eyed Girl. We went on to sing a six
song tribute to Judy Williams. It’s kind of neat that one of Judy’s
oldest friends (since they were 15) has started coming to Uke Circle to
take Judy’s place.

Performance Time was sensational.
There seem to be more groups popping up and this sure creates a dynamic
variety in the sound we get to hear.

First up was Steven,
a nervous first timer who did a more than creditable job of Lennon’s
Imagine. Derryl and Amy did a duet of a song called Sweet Pea. Derryl’s
story of how he and Amy met on a bus and ended up playing this together
was really enjoyable. Ed and friends did a beautiful instrumental
rendition of Spanish Melody, I believe from an arrangement by Guido

Jessica, Molly and Craig rode the funk train to
Groove City with the Bill Wither’s song Use Me and then Boaz took is in
a very different direction with Love is a Rose. Tom and Craig came out
to join in the harmonies and with all of them wearing cowboy hats it was
surely the missing Soggy Bottom Boys song from Brother Where Art Thou.
Ronin sang Someone Like You (by Adele) and then Geoff gave us Stevie
Wonder’s You Are the Sunshine of My Life.

Tom Saunders is
on a bit of a Country bent it seems to me. Not long ago he covered Tammy
Wynette and today it was Mama Tried by Merle Haggard with Russ on lead
uke. Tom Moody was next with a banjo instrumental first recorded in 1906
called St Louis Tickle by Vess Ossman – very neat how the tune sounded
exactly of the era from whence it came.

Introducing his
song Trev gave us an explanation of how he finally remembered the
untitled song he played last month. It was Rosita apparently. And then
today he played Crazy. We were a little short of time so he did an
up-tempo version which was a good idea. Craig (with Tom and Boaz backing
him up) sang Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed and we were suddenly at

For some reason performance time went on longer
than usual leaving us almost no time to play at the end. I guess there
were some long intros, long mic setups and some long songs but it was
all really good. So I’m not sure, in retrospect, if I’d change anything.
Sometimes that’s how it goes. Last month it all went by much quicker
than usual. It is what it is!

We ended by all singing
Jamaica Farewell with Peter, a real-life Jamaican, singing it for us in
Jamaican dialect. Very cool moves too!

See you at the
next one: July 21 and until then keep on Strumming and Smiling!

Ralph Shaw

Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday May 19, 2015

Doesn’t it feel like summer has come early? It sure felt like it in the
warmth of the St. James Hall tonight. Things got off to a very positive
start when Steve Edge of the Rogue Folk Club announced that the hall is
going to be sold by the United Church to the St. James Society which is good
news for the Vancouver Ukulele Circle – it looks like we’ll be playing there
well into the foreseeable future!

I wore my Ukuleles United t-shirt (check out my facebook page if you’re
curious to see that) but true to form I also wore a matching bowtie. I’m
convinced the t-shirt + bowtie look will catch on and be the next big thing.
My most recent e-newsletter was in defense of Tiny Tim so I started
Performance Time off with his classic Tiptoe Through the Tulips.

A most interesting performance time. An unusual assortment of songs with
three of them being instrumentals. After me came Craig (home from Halifax
for the summer) who did Hey Bulldog by a British ’60s pop group called the
Beetles (not sure if I spelled that right – ha ha). Then Ed played a Chinese
instrumental tune called the Flower Drum.

Do you remember In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry? Well Derryl did a version
of that except it was called Ukulele Time. Full marks for being entertaining
although the musicianship faltered a little because he decided to put it in
a new key mere hours before the performance – not usually a good idea! Amber
sang Black Sabbath’s Crazy Train – I feel I should say something about that
but there’s really nothing to add. Ozzy Osbourne on ukulele – who’da thunk
it? Trev did an instrumental of a song that he clearly learned by ear since
he has no idea of the title. Someone thought it might be called My Little
Coquette. I thought it sounded like Tom Jones’ Delilah. Oh well.
[from Wendy: Trev sent along this note:

Rosita My Love [is] a song that appeared in 1965 and offered
on Youtube by The Crazy Five and Crazy Rockers, among others. After
listening to the Crazy versions I realized that this song was indeed
what I had chosen to play for the Vancouver Ukelele Circle but my
rendition (or rendering)  was somewhat different to what was originally

Tom (not Tom Jones but Tom Moody) played Gnossienne (#1) by Erik Satie – now
THAT’s a seldom heard ukulele song! Jessie then sang Octopuses Garden with
help from Ed. Tom (Tom Saunders, not Tom Moody or Tom Jones) sang Mad World.
It was Tears for Fears first (minor) hit. Again, not a song you often hear
at uke get-togethers. And finally Boaz played a folk story song by British
folkie Richard Thompson. It was clearly a tricky number to play with some
fast fingering (he had 2 false starts) but he pulled it off superbly and got
a standing ovation.

Wonderful energy in the room tonight. Thanks to everyone who was there as
well as the crowd of Rogue Folk club volunteers and everyone who helped out
with the music (Tom, Gary, Ron etc.)

I’m off to Toronto this weekend where I’m headlining the first ukulele
festival by the Corktown Uke group. And they’re calling it “Weekend at
I’ll let you know how it goes!!

So see you next month and until then… (that’s Tuesday June 16)
Keep strumming and smiling!!!


Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday April 21, 2015

Hello Strummers,
We had quite an impressive turnout for a Canucks playoff night! Steve Edge
(head honcho at the Rogue Folk Club) gave us some tentatively good news: the
United Church congregation who own the St James Hall are unwilling to sell
to a developer and want the community complex, which includes childcare and
other facilities, to be sold to the St James Society who currently run the
place. So far so good – but it still remains to see if the selling price
will be affordable. We’ll keep you posted!

Two songbooks have been left behind: the names in the books are Kaz
Amaranthe and Susan Hyde. I have both books at my home.

Derryl kicked off the show with a hilarious rewrite of the Cohen classic
called Hallelulalele. All about a new uke player trying their damndest to
make it in the ukulele scene. Tom Moody did a nice short instrumental (in a
night of long songs) called Manha de Carnaval from the film Black Orpheus.

An old friend of mine (since 1988 when I first came to Vancouver) called
John Lyon did a beautiful rendition of tonight You Belong To Me. No trumpets
or kazoos, just plain old good singing. Then Larry, visiting from Kamloops,
gave us the Hapa Haole classic: Princess Pupuli Has Plenty Papaya (and she
loves to give it away). It was a fully signed-up performance time and Uncle
Bob gave up his spot so that Alison could sing and play A Life That’s Good
(I’m guessing that’s the title. It’s from a hit TV show, she said, but not
one that I’ve seen.

First timer Dotty sang a sad, sweet song called Anchor and got her well
deserved first-timer’s standing ovation. Boaz sang a David Crosby song
called Almost Cut My Hair backed up by Russ. Apparently Mr Crosby joined the
prison band and sang this song every day while incarcerated in the Texas
State Penitentiary because the warden hated it (No wonder if David Crosby
was singing it EVERY day!)

Stacey, a uke circle regular, but a first-timer on stage, challenged herself
to get up and sing I Only Want to Be With You. And she did it! There is a
lot involved with performing onstage and you don’t truly know what you’re
dealing with until you actually take the reins and do it. My hat goes off to
anyone who dares to throw themselves into the fire of performing for an
audience. Way to go Stacey!!

Tomi, Bonita and Vanessa sang the Crosby, Stills and Nash song Helplessly
Hoping with some fine vocal harmonies. I introduced a song called Moonlight
by Australian Aboriginal band The Pigram Brothers. It’s an awesome 2-chord
ukulele song and I was backed up by Tom, Gary, Ron, Russ and Boaz. Tom then
sang Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man and the evening was finished off by
Ed and The Common Bond Ukulele Ensemble who played Heart and Soul.

One woman came and told me she had to come alone tonight because her husband
preferred to stay home and watch the Canucks (lose again probably). I’m
amazed by this. How could anyone prefer to watch people with sticks sliding
around on TV over people playing live musical instruments? Is there some
kind of mass brain-washing going on? It just doesn’t make sense to me!

I look forward to seeing you all at the next meeting on Tuesday May 19.

Keep on Strumming and Smiling!!

(Videos of the April 21, 2015 Performance time through the end of the evening are on YouTube at [Part 1] – and [Part 2]

Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday March 17, 2015

Top o’ the morning after St Patrick’s Day to you all. Wendy here, since Ralph is doing who knows what down in Australia, where he has posted not a word on Facebook since March 11 and seems to have forgotten all about us. Well, we have remembered us, and Tom Saunders did a wonderful job helping us entertain ourselves, thank you very much. We even sang an Irish song – words were something like     doodle-e doodle-e doodle-e doodle-e,
doodle-e doodle-e doodle-e doodle-e, …
You know the one. (Videos of Performance time through the end of the evening are on YouTube at [Part 1] and [Part 2] )

Performance time was quite varied, starting with Deryl’s rendition of Finnigan’s Wake (does Deryl always speak with an Irish accent?) and Allan’s Another Irish Drinking Song (with the best green wig of the evening). Barry changed the pace with a lovely rendition of Raglan Road. Ron sang That’s an Irish Lullaby, which seems to be a song we all knew. We did not know his great-grandmother, but the song was in honour of great-grandma Sarah’s sesquicentennial birthday today. Gary from Kelowna was so pleased to be in town on our night; he was on his way to Vancouver Island. His song sounded like “I love you” but it was “I love U-kuleles” by Bryant Oden.

Russ, with Tom and Ron, performed Little Wing, which Russ explained was a traditional Irish song by Seamus O’Hendrix. I guess not. Some very fancy playing there.

Ronin teaches beginners (and others) right here in our St James Hall (have you signed the petition to demonstrate community support for keeping the building from being sold for development?). The bravest members of his beginner group sang Surfin’ USA. They all lived through it and were smiling after it was all over.

Paul sang Otis Redding’s Dock o’ the Bay, with an accompaniment of all 4-finger chords. Boaz, with Tom and Ron, closed up performance time with After the Goldrush. Also nice instrumentals, with Tom on harmonica. Speaking of fancy instrumentals, Ronin did an accompaniment to one of the sing-alongs he led that was very impressive.

Ralph is back next month. Yay.



Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday February 17, 2015


A truly stellar evening of love and laughter!  (Video here: )

I started off performance time with a song related to my knee injury (sustained from last month’s ill-fated Elvis dance) Irving Berlin’s Walking Stick song. Then, once things got going, I threatened to use my cane as a “hook” to yank sub-par performers from the stage – but I never needed to.

Uncle Bob kicked things off (another leg reference there) with the song Crazy. And then first timer Mel sang Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps, a nice song done by Doris Day and she got a well earned first-timers’ Standing O. This despite a very uncooperative Mic stand that had a wandering mind of its own.

Ron, always up on the latest news, gave us the song It’s My Party (and I’ll cry if I want to). The original singer Lesley Gore passed away this week. Only 68 and her death seems particularly poignant somehow because of her sad teen song. Ed did the Monkees’ I’m a Believer. Followed by Ronin with an original called Ukulele Blues aided with some fine uke shredding from Russ. Derryl sang Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs’ ditty Little Red Riding Hood. And then it was time for Roan – Aaah Roan, the girl with the golden voice! She was able to grace us with her presence tonight and her voice is as golden as ever (unfortunately her school keeps her pretty busy but she comes when she can) and she sang Happy Go Lucky You – Broken Hearted Me from 1932. Roan brought me a gift of 6 buttons of various ukulele-circle related things. In fact, keep checking my facebook page – I’ll post them there tomorrow!

William was next. I know for a fact he’s only been playing a uke since Saturday (although he does play guitar) and he got up to do Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together. Which, I’m sure you’ll agree is a lovely Valentine’s sentiment. Tom and Boaz with their jingle jangling ukes and lovely harmonies did Buddy Holly’s Words of Love. And Gary (another gold-voiced dude) finished things off with A Sleepy Lagoon by Harry Nilsson.

An awesome night. And next month on March 17 you’ll be treated to similar but different. Everything is happening as normal except Tom Saunders is going to be running things while I tour Australia for a month. I won’t be giving those Kangaroos much competition, although my hop is definitely improving!

G’day and see you when I get back!



Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – Tuesday January 20, 2015

Hello Strummers!

Noel Coward said, “Work is more fun than fun.” It’s true! It takes some work

to play ukulele and our last get-together at St James proves that it is

indeed more fun than fun.

Highlights included Karen Sommer who answered my request for a flautist for

Nights in White Satin. She stepped in without a rehearsal and played an

awesome flute solo along with 150 ukuleles (most of whom momentarily lay

down their ukes to applaud before continuing.) btw. Here is the Moody Blues

video of the song from 1967. Even by 60’s standards it is comically cheesy

(to me anyway!)

Peter, the Rogue Folk Club volunteer who you rarely see and who sets up and

takes down mic’s every month created two little mute boxes. With the click

of a footswitch you can now unplug your uke onstage without causing

electronic noise havoc. That is cool.

It was a thrill to try out the 6 Beatles songs: Money, Can’t Buy Me Love,

Here Comes the Sun, Nowhere Man, Norwegian Wood, Penny Lane. I have never

intentionally listened to a Beatles song. They have always been forced into

my ears by our great and lovely media complex. HOWEVER those songs are truly

awesome to play as a group. Ronin and Gary did a great job of helping lead

the songs and adding harmonies. The biggest surprise for me was Nowhere Man.

It’s normally a dull and drab sounding song to me but it kicked A&$ when WE

did it ha haa.

Performances: Derryl was Walking Round in Women’s Underwear (but only in

song thank goodness!) The Ukettes , a sextette or was it a septette (?) of

delightful ladies in black with purple and orange wigs came onstage, handed

me a purple feather boa to wear and sang CCR’s Proud Mary (which is kinda

how I felt in that boa.)

Russ (with a little help from his friends) sang the Beatles’ song Anna. One

that I’ve never heard before. Ronin did his own distinct musical take of

Leaving on a Jet Plane with Russ helping out on uke and harmony. It was nice

to hear it done differently. Ed and his gang (Boaz on skinny travel uke,

Gary uke/vocals and myself on harmonica) did a rollicking version of the

trad./CCR song Midnight Special that had everyone clapping along. See it



Our Abbotsford friends are always extremely welcome and 3 of them performed

for us. First was Ken who sang his original Leaving on the Early Train with

a fretless bass player. Nice!

Boaz and Bonita sang a haunting and original song about crows called Life

Ain’t No Justified. I think the cool sound owed much to the open tuning Boaz

uses. When asked if it was DGBD tuning he said that it’s actually WTF tuning

– figure it out for yourself!

Geoff sang the Beatles’ In My Life. Then Adam, with Jane on vocals, sang a

beautifully polished rendition of the Ed Shereen song Thinking out Loud. And

Jane got her first timer’s Standing O.

Abbotsford Jim led the crowd in Mr Bojangles. It was very cool because he

messed up the tempo at the beginning but jumped forward to the second verse

and settled the situation down. An excellent demo of how to recapture things

when they fall apart. It really is no big deal folks so come and perform

sometime! And then Abbotsford Bill sang his vividly delightful song about an

unfortunate skiing expedition!

See you on FEBRUARY 17 and remember:

“Ukulele is more fun than fun!!” Ralph Shaw

Keep strumming and smiling,