The Hotspot Ukes release single to help homeless charity
‘THE HOTSPOT UKES’ HAVE RELEASE DA SINGLE TO SUPPORT A HOMELESS CHARITY, WRITES MARY FOGARTY
PAT Byrne put a poster up in the Hotspot Cafe when it was on the Main Street in Greystones.
‘Does anyone want to join my ukulele group? It only has one member.’
That was two years ago. About five people turned up that first Saturday morning.
‘Some could hardly play, some could play very well,’ said Pat. ‘We played, and still play, purely for the joy of playing music.’
They have just released their version of The Stunning’s ‘Brewing up a Storm,’ for the homeless charity Trust.
An uncle of Pat’s was murdered on the streets in Dublin 20 years ago. ‘He was murdered for 50 quid,’ said Pat. ‘He should never have been homeless.’
Pat vowed on New Year’s Eve that he would do something for the homeless this year, and Trust provides free medical care to those in need.
The cover has the blessing of its composer Steve Wall, who has re-tweeted the Youtube video.
The video was made in one evening at the Hotspot’s new home over the Beach House.
The group meets there every Saturday at 11 a.m. and anyone is welcome to get involved.
‘We can organise a ukulele, or lend one, if anyone needs one,’ said Pat.
The group has been to the Westport Festival, and played there on the John Creedon show with some of their friends from the renowned Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Pat had five ukes with him, and told John if he could round up five people they could all be taught to play a song in five minutes.
True to his words, the budding musicians were playing the one-chord ‘ The Lime and the Coconut’ in the swing of a lamb’s tale.
This is the spirit of The Hotspot Ukes. Fun, fun and more fun.
However, there is also some great musicianship, singing and now contributing to charity.
‘I’m playing the uke myself three years now,’ said Pat, who used to play the guitar and traditional music.
There is a ukulele festival every July in Dun Laoghaire and Pat went and was enchanted by this dainty little instrument.
‘I hadn’t played in years,’ said Pat, describing his guitar playing days as ‘another life.’
He owns two soprano ukes, his prized 1920 instrument which he describes as his ‘Stradivarius,’ and another he bought for $100 in New York.
That was a week after the Dun Laoghaire festival and the first one he purchased.
‘It goes around all our members,’ said Pat, who keeps the almost-antique uke for himself.
Pat advises against starting with the very cheap, €25 or so ukuleles. ‘ They’d drive you nuts tuning them,’ he said. ‘ They are more a toy but you could get a good one for at least €50 or €60.’
The group has members of all ages, including a seven year old, a member of 12, and one aged 15. Their bass player is Waterford resident Nick Banks, whose brother Jaunty Banks plays bass with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, yet another link between the two.
Indeed, Pat is friends with the leader of the famous group, George Hinchcliffe.
Fireworks Video did the filming free of charge, and Jim Doherty and Aidan Smith gave their time to record and mix the song.
Pat is very grateful to them as well as to all those who have and will go through the link on the Youtube page to buy the single and support the cause.
While the song has come out as the weather gets cold and Christmas approaches, Pat hopes support for the single will continue. ‘Homelessness is all year round,’ he said.
Pat Byrne of The Hotspot Ukes.
Ben Hickmott and Mick Hartney at the Ukulele Sessions on a Saturday morning in Greystones.
Orlaith Whelan and Mary Cusack.