Meeting The Lincoln Ukulele Band

Adopt a Composer 2015, Angela Slater on her collaboration with the Lincoln Ukulele Band

On 26th September I drove to Lincoln to meet the whole of The Lincoln Ukulele Band in their usual rehearsal space and to see and hear them in action. I found the room just as Catherine had said, next to the fish monger section at the back of a large supermarket in a community room.

I was met by a sea of friendly faces all grasping what looked like tiny guitars, which were of course Ukuleles or ‘Ukes’ as I have learnt they are called for short! Having said that there is a surprising amount of variation in the world of Ukuleles with large and small ones, bass ones, and soprano ones – I still have much to learn.

After playing a variety of songs and pieces from their usual repertoire they showed me another that showed off some of their finger picking technique – the song Rasputin – which suddenly took me back to a random memory of GCSE history and the one lyric which has always stuck out to me ‘There was a cat and then it was gone’. Funny memory aside, this song showed me the different types of playing the group is used to normally, some of which I hope to incorporate in my own piece for them.

A little way into the rehearsal Will Dunlop seemed keen to try some of the ideas I discussed at the launch day as potentially unusual ways to play the Ukulele to create interesting textural effects. I briefly insisted that they should just do a normal rehearsal as I was just here to see them in their normal environment, but the group seemed excited to begin to have a go at new things.

So, Will directed them to try some things such as the Z chord – a pitchless percussive chord, Bartok pizz, strumming near the tuning pegs amongst other things. With a bit direction and encouragement, the group created some fantastic sounds. This has certainly made me excited to see what will be possible with this group and I look forward to exploring more new sounds with a group that are open, engaged and excited to explore new possibilities with their instruments.

The Lincoln Ukulele Band are a lovely and enthusiastic group of people who have been very kind to me by giving me a Uke as a gift and life membership to the Ukulele Band. Apparently I will be getting my membership badge next time! I am looking forward to our first official workshop session!