In 2016 we opened this up to all Australians, creating …
We invite you to join us in performing songs in beautiful places around the world.
But let’s start with the Pacific.
And if you’d like to read a blog or view photos and video footage about our January 2017 Opotiki (New Zealand) Ukestralia trip – go here (before), here (after), or here (extensive photos and videos) .
Our performances include ukestrations – contemporary songs arranged for ukulele and which incorporate picked parts, great lead singers and easy chord parts. In our ukestrated performances we endeavour to get beyond the ‘wall of strum’, so that it is inclusive for experienced and new players alike.
I don’t live in or near Newcastle – how will it work?
We select and ukestrate the music, and provide instruction videos and sheet music to you once you are fully registered. You need to practice your allocated part, preferably with a group, and be able to attend the rehearsals (online or in person).
We rehearse in Newcastle and broadcast rehearsals live on the net for others to join in. When we arrive at our destination we tend to get in a rehearsal or two.
What does a Ukestra sound and look like?
At home in Newcastle we run nine different weekly ukestras (ranging in number from 10-50 people). Jane and Mark (pictured above crouching on either side of Hawai’i Ukulele Festival director Roy Sakuma) are professional ukulele leaders and teachers and our uke players range from beginners through to highly experienced lead ukulele players and singers.
Here are are few video examples of what we mean.
Royals – this is a lovely professionally produced video, but the music gives you an accurate indication of a well ukestrated song.
Nantes – Ruth McCrae is a sublime singer, lead singing this version with the Ukastle Ukestra at the Newkulele Festival.
Our version of Libertango is much slower than whizzkid versions. But even with a complex piece like this there is a simple line – one note for much of it! We taught these students (at a folk music camp in the USA) with just a few hours of tuition.