Treat for ukulele play­ers

Whanganui Midweek - - News -

There is a treat in store for Whanganui blues mu­sic lovers and for the re­gion’s ukulele play­ers.

Kiwi blues ukulele leg­end Paul Jon­son has teamed up with Canada based Man­i­toba Hal and are mak­ing a one night stopover at the Whanganui Mu­si­cians’ Club on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 7.

Folk Blues — The Leg­ends is tour­ing New Zealand from Christchurch to Auck­land with 13 con­certs and seven work­shops, cap­ping off with a three day Fes­ti­val in Kawhia, from Novem­ber 16 to 18.

Us­ing mainly unique res­onator ukule­les to ex­press the true feel­ing of the mu­sic of the orig­i­nal blues mas­ters, Paul and Man­i­toba will dis­play the ver­sa­til­ity of this hum­ble and af­ford­able four stringed in­stru­ment.

“I fea­ture blues, boo­gie, rag­time and tra­di­tional folk songs in a con­cert and/or work­shop for­mat to ac­quaint the keen ukulele play­ers with fin­ger pick­ing, al­ter­na­tive strum­ming, chord­ing and tun­ing tech­niques that make ex­press the feel­ing of these styles of mu­sic,” says Paul Jon­son.

He has fea­tured at ukulele and folk fes­ti­vals in New Zealand, Aus­tralian ukulele fes­ti­vals from Cairns in the north to Mel­bourne in the south, and re­cent trav­els in Europe in­cluded ukulele gigs in Italy and Spain.

Man­i­toba Hal has toured Canada ex­ten­sively with a ukulele. Now liv­ing in his 100-year-old cot­tage in Nova Sco­tia, he sounds like he grew up in the Deep South of the States and plays raw, swamp, delta, Ca­jun and zy­deco style blues. Hal de­vel­oped the blues sound when he lived in Win­nipeg Man­i­toba (where he also got his name). Win­nipeg, of­ten re­ferred to as the Chicago of the north, is in a delta be­tween the Red and Assini­boine rivers.

“I was born at the blues and when I found that mu­sic in­side me, I came alive and my soul started ex­press­ing it­self in songs that flowed with that mu­sic. The blues is where my soul came into this world. Where it will end up I don’t know but I’m ready for the jour­ney,” he says.

Man­i­toba Hal has been de­scribed as hav­ing cre­ated some­thing wholly unique and idiosyn­cratic out of sev­eral el­e­ments that al­ready ex­isted. He’s not the first gui­tarist to switch over to ukulele. Nor is he the first mu­si­cian to use loop­ing ped­als. And he’s cer­tainly not the first to play the blues, but the way he ap­proaches the com­bi­na­tion of those el­e­ments, and mixes it with his own mu­si­cal sen­si­bil­i­ties, is just per­fect. A tire­less live per­former, am­bas­sador for the uke, and all-round great mu­si­cian.

This com­bi­na­tion of mu­si­cians should be a night of magic and mu­sic.

PHOTO / MAN­I­TOBA HAL

Man­i­toba Hal teams up with Paul Jon­son in a ukulele blues spe­cial night.

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