‘The Unknown Punter’ welcomes you to this page featuring every performance of the Ukastle Ukestra at LakeMac Autumn Fair on Saturday 1 May in Speers Point Park. It was our first public performance of a massed ukestra since February 2020. Boy we’ve missed it and it was delightful.
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. (There were no blue moons during COVID). We had a performance scheduled for March 2021, but it got rained out. Luckily, after all of those rehearsals and expectations, we were able to secure another gig.
Picnics, fine singing, great playing, and some sartorially elegant backing vocalists.
Below are the recordings of each song, with thanks to Penny Creighton who set up in a prime spot (much to Trevor’s delight) with a nice camera and microphone.
First time public performer, Jayra Drummond, has thrilled us with her gutsy voice for a while now. The Black Keys wouldn’t be a first choice for a ukulele orchestra, but we grew to love this song and hope that we did justice to Jayra’s suggestion and magnificent voice.
To Love Somebody
Jules Pavlou-Kirri’s fabulously emotive voice has not been heard anywhere outside of a car or shower. We feel so privileged to have her voice grace our performance on this great Australian song.
Gold on the Ceiling
John Norris of Toronto Sunrise Rotary Club sinks his considerably experienced teeth into another Black Keys song. The man was born to perform. Sam Reich brings his blues harp skills to the microphone.
Not Pretty Enough
Caroline Traill, a superb singer from the Newcastle Chamber Choir, takes the lead on this Australian classic, with Sam Reich on blues harp.
Midnight Train to Georgia
With the sartorial elegance, fancy dance moves, and sweet backup vocals from Caroline, Alastair, Kat, SJ, and Jane, Kate Lofting does sweet justice to this Gladys Knight and the Pips standard.
Jane Shields lead the pack with a beautiful and vulnerable performance of the Nine Inch Nails song that Johnny Cash completely transformed and iconicised in 2002. Watch out for that devilish tritone which appears occasionally. Be sure to watch at 1:15 for a very special appearance by our male model who represents how we are all hurt to greater and lesser degrees.
Are you gunna be my girl?
Emily Thomas, also a first time singer with the Ukastle Ukestra, closed off the set. We suspect that Emily has done more than her fair share of ‘professional’ singing before.
The day ended with lovely picnics listening to the Clyde Street Band (also borne of our local ukulele movement). And then we walked into the sunset, satisfied.
- To all ukestrans who put a lot of time into rehearsing, many of whom couldn’t make the rescheduled gig
- To Bec Regalo for her superb solid bass playing
- Of course to our lead singers
- To Penny Creighton for these videos, and to Martin Davis who also provided videos for our Facebook groups
- To Jane Jelbart for being a fabulous and hard-assed performance director
- To Mark Jackson for, um, er……
- To The Sum of the Parts (music), who make all of this possible.