It strikes me that for any event all you need to do is add the letters
a-lele onto the end and it immediately becomes an altogether more warm, more
friendly and more festive get together. Marnie of the Rogue Folk Club
certainly gets the concept. Whether it’s Rogue-a-lele, Valentine’s
Luv-a-lele or the Christmas Jinglelele she’s there to anoint the evening
with a fun name.
And tonight wasn’t just Alohalele – it was also BEER-a-lele!! The Vancouver
Ukulele Circle has been a “dry” event for nearly 3 years simply because of
the technicalities of BC’s strange liquor licensing laws. Nevertheless a way
has been found and Marnie was able to procure a beer license for tonight.
The fact that the license is only for beer (not wine, not cider.) is
somewhat hilarious. I didn’t know a license could be so beverage specific.
It got us thinking that for our August meeting we should get ourselves a
Mai-Tai license. Waddaya think of that?
In any case it was a success. Marnie’s beer sold briskly enough and for next
month she is thinking to expand the license to include wine and cider.
Lots of great work tonight from all concerned. Whether it was Rich (our
sound guy), Ron on bass, the Rogue Folk Club volunteers or the people who
showed up to simply play and sing. All contributed to making it a lot of
fun, for me at least! It was wonderful to see Gary Cyr again. His abilities
on ukulele and vocals add so much to our stage sound. He kicked off
performance time with the Hawaiian War Chant. Next up was Jordan who did his
first solo performance, a song called New Slang by The Shins. He has a very
pleasant yet understated voice that makes you want to hear more and I hope
Ron sang a song from a band called Up With People. He then told us the
remarkable story of how, as a teen in the early sixties, he played tenor sax
in this band, which he describes as “semi-cultish”. But it sounds like they
were very popular and Ron toured with them for many months. A good thing
about the group was that they were multi-racial despite this causing
difficulties when touring in the southern states. Ron picked the song What
Colour is God’s Skin as a timely thought regarding the racial problems we’re
seeing in the US right now. But a weird part of the story is that a 16 year
old Glenn Close was the lead singer of Up With People and wrote a large
portion of their repertoire. I told Ron he should do a TED talk on this – it
Allison sang the Everly Brothers song Devoted to You. She is a lovely vocal
teacher with an incredible voice and her concert will be on August 9th in
her own back yard (she sent a poster through vanukes a couple of days ago).
Five years ago tonight Boaz did his first ever performance in front of
people when we were still at Our Town. It was Life on Mars and tonight he
celebrated his fifth anniversary with another Bowie song Drive-In Saturday.
Johnny sang the Nina Simone song Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. It’s a very
powerful song and until tonight I didn’t realize that Nina Simone wrote it.
There weren’t too many tropical songs tonight but Tom Moody did his best to
remedy this with Bali Hai from South Pacific. His uke playing on this number
was terrific and the sound of his plugged-in uke had the perfect sound for
the song. The final song was another epic from Craig and Boaz and a gang of
female singers that included Tomi, Bonita, Magda, Vanessa, Jennifer and
Lisa. I closed my eyes and just let the harmonies wash over me. It was
stunning to have so many people singing so well. Oh yeah and Craig’s bass
and Boaz’s ukulele playing were pretty good too!
The Baritone ukulele group continues to get together and work hard and I’m
hoping we’ll hear something from them in August. So keep strumming and
smiling and see what next month brings!