Ukulele ladies will put a smile on your face on Satur­day

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

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.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Happy strings: The Grey Lynn Uku­ladies, from left: Rose White­head, Lu­cia Mataia, Jac­inta Mor­ri­son, Brid­get Fin­ni­gan, San­dra Palmer and Ali­son Fitz­patrick.

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