Last year I bought myself a ukulele but I have to confess that most of the time it looks really cute hanging on my wall. On the rare occasion I pick it up, I try to follow songbooks but sometimes, well most of the time, the chords just seem too complicated for a beginner like me.
London-based Fringe cabaret veteran Tricity couldn’t have been more patient, charming and funny
Tricity Vogue’s Ukulele Workshop at the Rae Macintosh Musicroom promised some fun learning so, uke in my rucksack, I squeezed to the back of the class and took my place. Soon the space filled up with about 40 people of every age; from teens to grandparents, some with their own ukes and some with borrowed instruments. Plenty of music stands were provided, holding the words and chords for about half a dozen songs and so we started with one very simple chord and an easy strumming rhythm.
London-based Fringe cabaret veteran Tricity couldn’t have been more patient, charming and funny and soon we were on to the next song, with more chords and then - look mama! I’m playing! - some rhythmic strumming. The workshop ran for a generous two hours with a short break (with biscuits, hurrah!) and I would recommend arriving early to ensure a space since this is a free (or by donation) event and also very popular. Rae, the Musicroom owner even offered a discount to those who wished to buy their own uke.
Tricity also has a cabaret show, Songs for “Swinging Ukuleles” and hosts the Uke of Edinburgh Awards (a play-off competition between the best players and open to all) both of which are part of the Free Fringe in case uke newbies need inspiration.
I had been a shy soloist up until today. But with the other work-shoppers, I felt part of an enormously powerful and skillful ukulele orchestra; the sound was quite something. The simple steps towards our confident finale, a jaunty rendition of the Bobby McFerrin hit, Don’t Worry, Be Happy, left us all rather more joyful than we had arrived on this wet Saturday. Don’t think I’m quite ready for entry into the Uke of Edinburgh Awards just yet though.