Vancouver Ukulele Circle Meeting – August 16, 2016

It’s so interesting to me how every performance time at the Vancouver Ukulele Circle seems to have a flavor all its own. Last month I couldn’t get a full slate of people to perform. Then along comes this month and not only was there a full slate but it all seemed to be made up of supergroups and fabulous solo artists.

It was my informal book launch as my new book The Art of Ukulele went on sale. Thanks to all of you who bought copies and lined up for signatures. It’s available from

We also had visits from great friends from around the globe. Jim D’Ville (USA), Mark Jackson and Jane Jelbart (Australia). It was personally very cool to meet these people who I’ve only ever met in faraway places and who I got to see right here in my home city.

A real highlight was to hear Tom Saunders sing and play Led Zeppelin’s Going to California. He totally captured the essence of the original song which is pretty amazing for one guy with a uke. The other solo acts included Alison singing the song Stronger Beer which offers funny comparisons between Canada and the USA. Tom Moody did a wonderfully understated rendition of It Might As Well Be Spring and Johnny gave us Cohen’s Tower of Song with his bari uke.

Duos included Anna and Jess singing Lightfoot’s In the Early morning Rain. Australia’s Mark Jackson and Jane Jelbart did a hilarious and bluesy Do Right (Like Some Other Men Do) accompanied by Mark on a small cornet. Btw. They are touring USA and Canada with their Ukestration workshop where you learn to play different parts of a song on ukulele. If you want to sign up you can, but do it now! It’s tonight – Weds Aug 17 at Our Town Café. Signup and details here:

Craig and Jennifer sang Bleeding Heart show from the New Pornographers. They each have big voices and to hear them together was quite phenomenal. They made a big and beautiful sound. Wendy made a rare appearance onstage. She has been attending since the second meeting in October 2000 and performs only once every few years! Her beautiful and haunting song was learned at a uke camp, backed by Gary and was called Ka Pilina.

And then there were the super groups. One was led by Gary who sang Under the Moon of Love with a fabulous and tight combo of players. Gail fronted the same group to sing Lover Come Back with equally polished results. And tonight was goodbye to Vanessa night. She is off to work in California. It’s been a true delight to hear how much she has enjoyed making music at the uke circle and we’re going to miss her music and her talent. Tonight her group included Craig, Jennifer, Lisa, and Boaz and together they sang Cinnamon Girl. Ronin joined them at the end for the finale number Age of Aquarius.

It was a great show and it goes to show you that you just have to keep coming back because you never what’s going to happen next!

See you next month on Tuesday September 20.

Keep Strumming and Smiling!
Ralph Shaw