Thanks for joining Ukestralia in Hawai’i July 2017!
All of the files and videos in here are accessible to you only as a member of the Ukestralia performance at the Hawai’i Ukulele Festival on 16 July 2017.
The resources contained herein are available for educational and rehearsal purposes only. We are not necessarily brilliant players, so there may be some inconsistencies. Take it as a guide, not as gospel. We firm up gospel in the rehearsals.
Notes on maximising your enjoyment and musical learning
Here are a few points about arranging, postcodes and single chord thumb strums. This will help you get the most out of this musical experience.
Parts and Arrangements
Our ukestration philosophy is an inclusive one that provides easy parts for beginners, and challenging parts for those who like to stretch themselves. We believe in arranging for the audience, not just for the strummer. We also believe in lead singers (which isn’t us!). Lead singers do not have to play the uke, unless they are really competent at doing both simultaneously.
Try and learn all parts (chords, singing, picking parts), and then nominate yourself for one with which you are comfortable.
We will ask you to do a part that is within your own goals and within our arrangement goals. Please stick to your selected part, and tell us if you wish to deviate from it. It is important in our arrangements to also play the parts when directed. When not doing your part, you could probably do some else’s (and/or a single thumb strum). No flat out strumming or singing unless instructed to (which is often!).
Sometimes we express some of our chord shapes in what we call ‘postcodes’ – 4 digits that convey fret numbers of each string. In Australia our zipcodes are 4 digits and are called postcodes – hence the word ‘postcode’. The four numbers run in the order of fret numbers on each of the G, C, E and A strings.
Here are some examples:
C=0 0 0 3 (that is, the G string is open (0), as are the C and E strings. The A string is fretted at the 3rd fret).
Am=2 0 0 0
F=2 0 1 0
G=0 2 3 2
Bb7#9=5 6 5 8
As you can see by the last chord, postcodes are an easy way to express difficult chords!
Whilst we do use postcodes sometimes, you’ll also see chords written out as chord diagrams (on the lyric sheets) or in tab/notation form.
Single Chord Thumb Strums
It is so easy to get carried away with frantic strumming. It so easily expresses our joy!
BUT, in these arrangements we use strumming as an integral part of the song. Yes we all strum away when required, but Single Chord Thumb Strums (SCTS) are really the underpinning that create a beautiful bed for the other parts of the song that are being played and are generally driving the song. The name says it all – played slowly with the thumb, usually one or two per chord change.
So don’t be afraid to ‘just be doing the Single Chord Thumb Strums’. They are a vital part of the formula.
We may refer to certain strumming patterns – this sheet might help you decipher some of this, and to practice your strumming.
The Facebook Page
If you are on Facebook, then we have a Ukestralia Hawai’i 2016 Facebook page. Be a part of the conversation (both before and after!). Sign up here.
We will be performing 3 songs as part of the Main Stage Festival Program. We perform them again in the luncheon tent, plus another few songs.
We have looked at the various skills of the 2017 Hawai’ian Ukestralians, and as usual, there is quite a diversity. This year though we have some very highly skilled players in Dennis Bourke and Ian Porter. Considering this, we have pencilled in the following repertoire selection.
Main Stage Songs
- Under the Milky Way
- Exes and Ohs
- Spanish Harlem
- How Bizarre
- You Never Can Tell
We are still a little undecided on the main stage songs. At this stage we are pretty certain about Libertango, and Apache, and Exes and Ohs. But we will confirm at rehearsals.
This is a fabulous song made famous in the 80s by Grace Jones. It is originally an Argentinian bandoneon tango written by Astor Piazolla. We were inspired to do this by 1980s disco dancing, the Langley Ukulele Ensemble (LUE) and the fact that we have some highly competent players who can play the difficult part. The LUE does not do the vocals. We do.
Our version is arranged with seven parts.
- Uke 1 – the REALLY easy part which holds the clave rhythm
- Uke 2 – the most challenging part
- Uke 3 – the melody
- The chords
- Backing vocals
Ruth Allen from Port Macquarie has been allocated the lead vocal for this song. It is perfectly within her range, and she has a degree in French.
The sheet music is in two parts
Libertango Instruction Videos
- Libertango – Instruction video for chords and strumming pattern
2. Libertango – Instruction video for Uke 1 – the REALLY easy bit
3. Libertango – Instruction video for Uke 2 – the challenging bit
4.Libertango – Instruction video for Uke 3 – the melody
Click here for an audio of Libertango to play along to (right click to download)
A ukestra performance of Libertango (with two beautiful tango dancers) at Lark Camp in California
There is also a very fast Langley Ukulele Ensemble version on youtube.
Extra Libertango resources for the ambitious
YOU CANNOT PLAY THIS IN THE UKESTRA VERSION AT THE FESTIVAL.
But if you feel like an extra challenge, here are the links to Arnaud’s tablature and video. We arranged our version based on this one, BUT WE MADE IT TO BE PLAYED BY A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHO ARE OF DIVERSE SKILLS. By all means though, try it for yourself. We can’t do it!
Exes and Ohs
This is a fairly new one for us which we are enjoying. It has:
- Lead vocals
- Zed chording
- A simple riff
- More complex chord inversions with some tricky timing
- Quite tight off beat strumming (in the chorus)
Exes and ohs – chord inversions explained (possibly poorly explained)
Exes and ohs – simplified to play along to
Chord Inversions for Em & B7
Don’t focus on the G string (as in, focus on the A string)
Inversion 1 – 0 4 3 2 – your ‘normal’ Em
Inversion 2 – 7 7 7 7 (really an Em7, but that’s ok when you ignore the G string)
Inversion 3 – 0 11 12 10 – you’d know it as a Gm shape
Inversion 1 – 4 3 2 0 – your ‘normal’ B7
Inversion 2 – X 6 5 6 – the x means do not play the G string
Inversion 3 – 8 9 7 9 – this is what you’d know as an ‘E7’ shape or F7 shape – if you ignore the G string (the 8), then it is like a G7 shape ‘stretched out’.
Under the Milky Way
This is a bit of a last minute replacement song. Arpeggiations are important. There are the simple ones, and then a more complex one (only for those who are more proficient).
Scorpex’s sheet music is here.
We all sing the last verse and chorus. We hope that all is revealed in this video.
Spanish Harlem has:
- Lead vocal
- Chords – latin strum
- Descending C scale riff
- Melody in the instrumental
Spanish Harlem (video is from Opotiki Ukestralia) – chords n lyrics on our website.
Spanish Harlem – riffs and to play along to
This was a world wide hit in the 1990s for Kiwi band OMC. You can play along to their version as what we have written out is in the same key. Note that the descending harmonised C scale is quite similar to Spanish Harlem.
The key elements of this song are:
- Off beat strums
- Descending harmonised C scale riff
The descending scale can be played as a one string line (select one of the two), or 2 strings at the same time (harmonised).
We need a ‘rapper’ for this song, and we all sing the chorus.
A video of our first ever run through
You Never Can Tell (Teenage Wedding)
The Chuck Berry song – might be good to do this as a tribute. This song has:
- Lead vocal
- Backing ‘brass’ riffs (stabs)
This is a two chord song, so the lyric sheet has no chords on it. We do it in C, so the chords are C and G7.
Lyric sheet for You Never Can Tell
Rehearsals will be held at Mark and Jane’s house – 10 Hillcrest Rd, Merewether. If you are travelling from afar, and would like accommodation, we could ask other local Ukestralians if they are prepared to put people up. Having the rehearsals at our house gives us the best chance of Facebook Liveing them to those ukestralians who are elsewhere. See below for more details.
We have three rehearsals scheduled in Australia, and three and a bit scheduled in Hawai’i. And then we have plenty of regular ukestras to attend on Mondays and Tuesdays if you feel so inclined.
Current schedule is…
3. Rehearsal dates and times
Not everyone can make all of the rehearsals
1. Saturday 6 May from 3pm til 4:30/5 – our place in Merewether and on Facebook Livestream, then posted to vimeo when completed. If you are coming from somewhere else for this, you are also welcome to attend our ukestras whilst you are in the area (no charge).
2. Sunday 4 June from 12:30-2pm – our place in Merewether and on Facebook Live, then posted to vimeo when completed.
3. Sunday 11 June from 11:30-1pm – our place in Merewether and on Facebook Live, then posted to vimeo when completed.
Perform at the Zoo – Wednesday 12
Thursday 13, Friday 14 and Saturday 15 July, and possibly just prior to walking up to the festival on Sunday 16 July. Not entirely sure of the venue as yet. With 20 people going, the foyer of the Royal Grove is probably doable It may have to be in a public park, or someone else’s hotel foyer.
Wednesday 12 July
Zoo performance is at 5:20pm. Ruth Allen is leading this and has selected:
- Spanish Harlem,
- Under the Milky Way
Of course not everyone can make this performance, including us. Ruth plans to catch up with people at the Royal Grove for rehearsal and has flagged late Tuesday (11th) afternoon, and first thing Wednesday (12th) morning.
Thursday 13 July
2. Kanikapila at Da Racks is on in the evening (on the foreshore near the Duke statue), where the surfboards are stored in the racks (Da Racks!). Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/kanikapilaat.daracks. This is a participation uke-singing-hula circle. Join in! Bring a song!
Friday 14 July
1.Kimo Hussey Workshop –
Rehearsal – .
2. Welcome Dinner 5:30 pm – Ala Moana Hotel – Hibiscus Ballroom – Buffet dinner, entertainment and door prizes.
Saturday 15 July
1. Kimo Hussey Workshop – Waikiki – 10-1pm (tentative time, we may start at 9am).
2. Rehearsal in the afternoon?
Sunday 16 July
1. Hawai’i Ukulele Festival – we may fit in a brief rehearsal in the morning, prior to walking up to the festival.
2. Kanikapila at Da Racks (evening)
Monday 17 July
1. Evening – Kanikapila at the Royal Grove Hotel (where many of us are staying).
Tuesday 18 July – Mark and Jane leave for home