Ukulele ladies will put a smile on your face on Saturday
The ukulele is undergoing a worldwide revival – and not just among schoolchildren.
It’s also putting smiles on the faces of a group of Auckland mums who’ve banded together as the Grey Lynn Ukuladies.
They’re are among acts performing at New Zealand’s second Ukulele Festival tomorrow.
“There’s a huge revival internationally for ukuleles and it’s especially being picked up in schools,” says band member Jacinta Morrison.
“They’re small, they’re portable and anyone can play.”
Lucia Mataia, Sandra Palmer, Alison Fitzpatrick, Rose Whitehead, Bridget Finnigan and Jacinta have been performing as the Ukuladies for less than a year.
The women began strumming together while their children played at the park.
They’ve built up a strong local following since their first gig at the Grey Lynn library.
“For the first one we did it was just us and our families,” says Bridget.
“We did another one this year and the whole place was just jam-packed, from front to back.”
They’ve also performed on television, at the Play It Strange fundraising concert with Graham Brazier, and recorded an original song.
Their usual repertoire features a mix of country and rock, with tunes by Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks and Dolly Parton.
Band members say it’s a happy instrument to play.
“You can’t play the ukulele without smiling,” says Rose.
Some of the group are also volunteering to help teach the instrument at Herne Bay’s Marist School and Westmere School.
Their pupils will be among 800 children performing at tomorrow’s festival as part of mass ukulele orchestra The Kiwileles.
They will perform original music as well as Kiwi favourites with special guest Jordan Luck.
Veteran Kiwi musician Mike Chunn will host the festival, which also features musicians from around the country and overseas.
Performers include American indie-punk artist Uni and her Ukulele, and Australian Azo Bell with band The Old Spice Boys.
Workshops will be held throughout the day and ukuleles will be available for sale.
The festival runs from 10am to 4pm at Mt Smart Stadium on tomorrow. Entry is free.
Details at www.kiwiuku lele.com.
Happy strings: The Grey Lynn Ukuladies, from left: Rose Whitehead, Lucia Mataia, Jacinta Morrison, Bridget Finnigan, Sandra Palmer and Alison Fitzpatrick.