Ukestras happen in the Newcastle region 6 times a week (pre-COVID it was 9!). Ukestras are bit party, bit lesson, but performances are different. Performances happen once in a blue moon and are disciplined-ish.
The Ukastle Ukestra is the performing entity of the Ukulele Community from Newcastle Australia. This performance was our first festival appearance in two years, in the ‘post’ COVID era. We last performed at the Blue Mountains Ukulele Festival in 2020. 60ish vaccinated and masked ukestrans appeared in glorious Katoomba on a rainy afternoon in the main BMUF marquee on 12 February 2022.
Take it to the Limit – The Eagles
Emily Thomas takes the lead on this 1975 classic from the Eagles. Thanks to Emily who also did an Acknowledgement of Country.
Colors and Homecoming Queen
Two songs here, the first lead sung by Amity Yore lead vocals on this 2019 song from the Black Pumas, written by by Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada. Caroline Trail follows up lead vocals with a song by Thelma Plum, a Gamilaraay woman. Homecoming Queen speaks of the difficulties of identity for a young indigeneous woman in Australia in the 1990s/2000s.
Wichita Lineman and No Surprises
Another two songs in this video: Barry Hill leads the vocals on this cherished Glen Campbell song from 1968, written by Jimmy Webb. The second lead vocal on this video is by Will Sands. No Surprises is a 1998 song by Radiohead.
Our most ambitious song yet in our 12+ year ukestra history. Kashmir is a 1975 song by Led Zeppelin who are not exactly known for their ‘ukulele-friendly tunes’. All ukestrans applied themselves earnestly to mastering this song with multiple riffs and different rhythmic meters. Ruth McCrae does a superb job with the Robert Plant inspired lead vocal, and forges on regardless of some difficulties with the rest of us keeping proper time! Thankfully Jane brought us all back into line.
- To all ukestrans who put a lot of time into rehearsing, many of whom did the rehearsals yet decided to postpone their return to post-COVID public life.
- Our bass player, Bec Regalo who, despite many weeks of practice, had to drop out at the last minute after catching COVID from her 8 year old daughter.
- Of course to our lead singers
- To Mark Doro for operating this video recording, and for posting his own videos to our Facebook groups
- To Jane Jelbart for being a fabulous and hard-assed performance director.
- To Mark Jackson for base bass.
- To The Sum of the Parts (music), who make all of this possible.