I’ve been trying, half-heartedly, to learn how to play the ukulele for months now. I have my son’s old high school uke, a tuner given to me by my friend Bob, and a couple of books far too advanced for my skills.
So I’ve tinkered along, not learning much, letting dust accumulate.
Then I went to see a fabulous concert by James Hill and Anne Davison. They are such a sweet act and so lovely to watch together, on uke and cello, respectively.
At that concert I met a fellow wanna-uker who said she wanted to go to the monthly Halifax Ukulele Group meeting at the Celtic Corner pub in Dartmouth, NS. We promised each other we’d go together, and now that I was actually going to be playing somewhere in public, I started practicing in earnest, got a couple of more appropriate books, learned about six chords, sort of.
And then it was off to the H.U.G.
We thought we’d go a bit early to be sure we’d get seats.
We barely wedged into the room. There were fifty people, give or take, at least fifty-three ukes, and song books flying all over the room. The fearless leader, heaven help him, called out the song names. There was the sound of frantic page turning, then random chords here and there for a couple of minutes as everyone stretched out their fingers.
Then he counted off, and we flew into the songs. If you’ve never been in a crowded space with fifty people playing ukuleles and singing at the top of their lungs, well, all I can do is recommend it. I laughed so hard while I was playing I nearly fell off my bar stool.
Everyone is at a different level with their playing – many newbies who play the chords they can and hand-synch the others, people who can actually play the instrument but are learning the songs, and experts. Plus a few people along just for the singing and foot-stomping. It’s madness, but we all ended the songs on time, and I got pretty comfy with a few chords and strumming by the end. My heart was full with gratitude that such a thing as the H.U.G. exists.
But it’s not your gentle uke strumming like the above wahine. No, it’s a bit more like below.
So now I’m wondering, where can I get a leather suit?