The Hotspot Ukes re­lease sin­gle to help home­less char­ity


Bray People - - NEWS -

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.

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