Not a ukulele

As is the way with blogs, I have several that don’t get updated very often. Like a lot of people I dip in and out of them as my interests wax and wane. Just noticed that it’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this one. And this isn’t even meant to be a post about ukes really.

I’m having a go at learning to play the cavaquinho. So I started a new blog at for that. Not because I feel the need to document my progress but because there are hardly any English resources for it. Most of what I have found on the Internet in Brazilian Portuguese, and I’m not much good at languages. It might be useful to the handful of other people who might be in the same situation.


As regards the uke, I am still very active with it. We’ve done loads of stuff with Moselele over the last year. I just don’t tend to blog about it much.
I also realised, when I attended the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain recently and saw a lot of very impressive acts, that there doesn’t seem to be that much point in trying too hard to be good at uke. I’m competent enough now, and it works in the context of our group. I’d rather focus my efforts on learning and improving on other instruments like my mandolin, guitar, cavaquinho or even banjo.

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Holy Smoke – we’re on a proper album.

You should listen to this. You’d like it. Remember nearly a year ago when I posted that Moselele had done some recording with a proper band, Gurdan Thomas, in a proper recording studio for a proper CD album. Entitled This Beautiful World of Ugliness it got released a few weeks back. You can and should go buy it at Amazon. You can also have a listen on Spotify to the track we were on called Holy Smoke. Listen out for the “tsunami of ukuleles”. That’s us!!

I’ve listened to this album quite a lot since receiving my preview copy and really enjoy it. It’s got to the point when I’ve got past the bias of our brief appearance on one of the tracks so can be listening to it and then suddenly our ukery comes in and it takes me by surprise. I like that. Oh and yes, we’re in the credits. That’s kind of exciting too.


Finally, they’re in Birmingham for an album launch on 29 August at the Yardbird.  I’m going.

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God Save The Queen

Moselele are off on a tour playing at street parties and pubs on Sunday 3 June. Find out more on our website or the Facebook fan page.

We won’t be playing this one though.

God Save The Queen
Sex Pistols

Chords used in this song
Ab 10xx
A 2100
D 2225
C# 1114
Eb 3336
E 4447
B 4322
F# 3121

[Ab][A] x5
[A] [D][C#][D] x3
[Ab][A] x2

[A] God Save The Queen [D][C#][D]
[A] the fascist regime [D][C#][D]
[A] they made you a moron [D][C#][D]
a [Ab][A]potential H bomb. [Ab][A]

[A] God Save The Queen [D][C#][D]
[A] she ain’t no human being. [D][C#][D]
[A] And there is no future [D][C#][D]
In [Ab][A] England’s dreaming [Ab][A]

[E] Don’t be [B]told what [Eb]you [E] want [Eb] you [E] want
[E] don’t be [B] told what [Eb] you [E] need.
[E] There’s no [B] future [Eb] no [E] future [Eb][E]
[E] no [B] future for [E] you.

[A] God Save The Queen [D][C#][D]
[A] We mean it maam [D][C#][D]
[A] We love our Queen [D][C#][D]
[Ab]God [A] saves… [Ab][A]

[A] God Save The Queen [D][C#][D]
[A] ‘cos tourists are money [D][C#][D]
[A] and our figurehead [D][C#][D]
is [Ab][A] not what she seems [Ab][A]

[A] God save history [D][C#][D]
[A] God save your mad parade [D][C#][D]
[A] oh lord God have mercy[D][C#][D]
all [Ab][A] crimes are paid [Ab][A]

[E] When there’s no [B]future how[Eb]can[E] there [Eb] be [E] sin
[E] We’re the [B] flowers in the [Eb] dust-[E]-bin
[E] We’re the [B] poison in your [Eb] Hu-[E]-man [Eb]ma-[E]-chine
[E] We’re the [B] future, [E] your future

[A] God Save The Queen [D][C#][D]
[A] We mean it maam [D][C#][D]
[A] We love our queen [D][C#][D]
[Ab]God [A] saves.. [Ab][A]

[F#] [B] x3
[F#] [E]

[A] God Save The Queen [D][C#][D]
[A] We mean it maam [D][C#][D]
[A] And There is no future [D][C#][D]
In [Ab][A] England’s dreaming [Ab][A]

[D]No [C#] fu-[B]-ture
[D]No [C#] fu-[B]-ture
[D]No [C#] fu-[B]-ture [A] for you
[D]No [C#] fu-[B]-ture
[D]No [C#] fu-[B]-ture
[D]No [C#] fu-[B]-ture [A] for me
[Ab][A]no future [Ab][A] no future for me.

performance notes – There are some quick changes from one chord to another. Easy version is just to play the last chord of those changes. You can tell where these are because the chords are right next to each other. eg [Ab][A] or [D][C#][D]
Sorry, I didn’t have chord pictures for some of these but the numbers are just the frets each string should be fretted at from gCEA – you know what I mean.

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Corktown Ukulele Jam perform Big Bottom by Spinal Tap

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Lick My Love Pump

To celebrate the fact that it’s Nigel Tufnel day, 11/11/11, here’s a recording I’ve just made of Lick My Love Pump on the uke.  It’s in Dm, the saddest of all the keys.

For the curious the chords are Dm Bb Am G.

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Big Muffin Serious Band – Learn to Play

The Big Muffin Serious Band have a great new way to learn to play the ukulele with their play along videos.

Discovered these via fellow New Zealanders, the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra’s Facebook page.

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Spookelele – Tonight, Prince of Wales


Tonight is Spookelele, the Moselele Hallowe’en special. We made a new songbook and everything especially.
Amongst songs like Bobby “Boris” Picket and the Crypt Kickers’ Monster Mash, Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer and Blue Öyster Cult’s (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, all of which we know will work, we’ve sorted out a full 9 minute version of Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. It’s going to be epic. Whether that is epic epic or #epicfail remains to be seen. You should probably come along and find out. Do print out a songbook first though. Fancy dress is encouraged.
Join us, 8pm in the Prince Of Wales.

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Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Corktown Ukulele Jam

I do keep an eye on what my friends at the Corktown Ukulele Jam in Toronto get up to. Last week’s meet was their Hallowe’en night and I was stoked to see this brilliant version of Bela Lugosi’s Dead in my feeds this morning. Really impressed by the sonic manipulations of David Olson, the Robert Fripp of the uke.

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Bela Lugosi’s Dead

Great uke cover of the Bauhaus classic by Gus and Fin.

Anybody got a clue what they’re playing though?
Think the descending bit is descending barre C (5433) B (4322) A (2100)

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How not to spend Halloween

At home, alone, learning to play John Carpenter’s creepy Halloween theme. It’s the odd time signature and that Devil’s Interval that does it.
Same goes for Tubular Bells’ use in the Exorcist (probably)

And as I write this the cat who was curled up on the bed suddenly sprang up alert, staring at the light fitting. The light shade is made of lots of shell disks suspended from a frame and these started to tinkle, but the window wasn’t open and there wasn’t a breeze…..

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