The Line Up 2017
Abe Lagrimas Jr.
This versatile multi-instrumentalist is primarily known as a jazz drummer and vibraphonist yet has a thriving career as an ukulele player. Born in Hawaii, he attended Berklee College of Music as a drum set principal on a scholarship, and started playing the ukulele halfway through his second year, doing his first gig just two weeks later. Since then, he has performed at ukulele and jazz festivals throughout the world and released multiple albums in the United States, Japan, and Korea. His award-winning album – Solo Ukulele – The King of Pop – pays tribute to the music of Michael Jackson, although his ukulele repertoire includes jazz, Hawaiian, pop, rock, and original music. An active educator, Abe has written instructional ukulele books for Hal Leonard Publishing and Consonus Music Institute. He continues to teach privately and present workshops at music stores and organizations throughout Los Angeles and music festivals worldwide. Abe endorses Koolau Ukuleles and Kaminari Cables.
Ooks of Hazard
Hoorah! The Ooks of Hazzard are back at our Festival after last year’s star performance, albeit in a slightly different format…meet Patrick, Charlie, Jay, Nick and Rick, five of the original band members who got together in Venice Beach in March 2010 at a local open-mic jam session. All professional musicians, they started just playing covers to have fun and make music with friends. Then came their video of Kids – it went viral and they haven’t looked back… As well as covers, they enjoy writing and performing original music and songs. The Ooks say that spontaneous actions with positive reactions got them where they are today. We saw a little bit of them last year… now let’s see the rest!
The Ukulele Uff Trio
The Ukulele Uff Trio – Chris ‘Ukulele’ Hough on ukulele, ‘Lonesome’ Dave Searson on guitar and ‘Brother’ Bill Leach on Hawaiian guitar – specialise in obscure late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century jazz, tin pan alley songs and traditional Hawaiian music with a skill and authenticity that is rare today. They hail from Liverpool, a city with a rich musical heritage, and have performed and presented workshops at venues across Europe, from Birkenhead to Barcelona, from Pembrokeshire to Paris, earning themselves a reputation as top entertainers with their high energy, skilled performances and relaxed stage presence. Expect to tap your feet furiously and maybe even dance when you hear these three play. May your spirits (and eyebrows) be raised as you return briefly to a time when dance music was played on string.
Always excited to bring you someone new, meet Kyas from Japan, who’s been playing the ukulele since 2005 inspired by watching George Harrison. His talent has taken him to many countries – Japan, Korea, Philippines, China, Taiwan – and seen him perform at the 40th Ukulele Festival of Hawaii in 2010 and the Thailand Ukulele Festival every year from 2011 to 2015. In Japan he is not only a well-known ukulele teacher, with several books to his credit , but also the leader of a pop band called ‘Song Sparrow’, for whom he writes all the songs. We were bowled over by his brilliance and you will be too.
The Poor Boys Of Worcester
In 2016 The Poor Boys of Worcester brought the festival’s Friday night on the Uke Magazine Stage @ The Norwood to an energetic close, with their mix of hokum, country and blues. And now, they’re back – six boys from the magnificent Severn. They are five ukes, one banjolele, and one double bass – with harmonicas, cajon and hammer and chisel thrown in for good measure. Their performances have been described as frantic and frenetic, with a catalogue ranging from American Civil War to the White Stripes, via Ronnie Lane, Leadbelly, Jimmy Reed and the American folk songbook. Don’t be fooled by their publicity shot – the Poor Boys are fun.
A singer/ songwriter and part of the Gloucestershire folk and acoustic scene since the mid ‘90s, Sarah has also become known for her passion for the fostering of ukulele at grass roots level, through her teaching business “UKE-CAN”-Ukulele Lessons, suitable for beginners of all ages. Alternatively, catch a performance, on ukulele, of original songs, old songs, contemporary songs but always true songs. Winner of the Ukulele Festival of Scotland’s Newcomer award and Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts Open Singing Classes Overall Championship Winner, “Sarah’s voice is hugely impressive bulging with tone, range and expression, delivered expertly with oodles of soul and personality”(Uke Planet).
Born and raised in London, UK, Katy now calls Minnesota home. She has written songs for as long as she can remember and is always happiest when singing. Her debut solo release, ‘Before I Forget’, is both a tribute to her parents, whom she lost as a teenager, and an embrace of her new solo direction after discovering the ukulele and the songwriting it inspired. Using her writing to move beyond the sadness of her earlier work, she explores the realities of life – the good and the bad. She has also used her enthusiasm and knowledge of the local ukulele scene to organise and perform at her successful Annual Uke Fest Concert, now expanded to a two night celebration and fundraiser benefitting Arc GTC.
As you know, we love to introduce you to talented performers from all around the world, but just as thrilling is bringing you a home-grown act which we’ve found right on our doorstep. Meet the Cheltenham Ukulele Ensemble – CUE – which grew out of Matt King’s ukulele classes in and around the Cheltenham area. His early classes focused on encouraging people to move on from strumming alone to melody playing, finger style and solo playing, and from this group of students, the first CUE was formed in 2010. The current line-up – Paul, Musty, Peter, Andy, Chris, Luigi, Bill and Judy – play Matt’s arrangements of music from Bach to Bond, Dvorak to Scott Joplin, and make regular appearances at local events . Prepare to be inspired!
Dead Mans Uke
Dead Mans Uke are a two man band playing Dirt Swing, Hokum and old blues tunes as well as crazy covers and anything else they fancy on double bass and a resonator ukulele that belonged to Tiny Tim… they play shows in bars, music venues, parties, festivals and theatres across the UK and recently in Prague, Dublin, Paris and heading to Austria and the USA this year too. They were nominated for BEST LIVE ACT in the Uke Magazine awards and are pleased to be heading to Cheltenham again this year – They have been playing at Cheltenham since the beginning and can’t wait to pop up and play all over the place again this year!