Some words just make you smile and ukelele is one of them, hooley (Irish slang for party) is another. So what a perfect combination when you throw them both together. After all what could promise a better afternoon than a whole bunch of tiny instruments strumming under the sun?
So on Sunday afternoon I met up with my American gal pal and after wandering around an antiques market and a spot of lunch we strolled down to the Peoples Park in Dun Laoghaire, just outside of Dublin. As we passed the gates the unique sound of ukeleles sang out to us and we couldn’t help but smile.
Once a year the lovers of the tiny Hawaiian instrument invite everyone to a festival by the sea to celebrate the ukelele. Of course it is an interesting, colorful crowd that comes together to sing and dace along to the strumming of the guitars tiny cousin.
Like every year there are workshops and stalls, food and drink and f course musicians from around the world. This year the cute Les Poupees Gonflees (Inflatable Dolls) came from France delighting us with Chansons and a ukelele twist. Minnie and the Illywackers gave us swing, cabaret and some jazz and the wonderful Janet Klein jetted over from LA to deliver her quirky speak-easy style ukelele music.
But for me the high-light was the duo turned trio Gus & Finn. These Scottish dudes, dressed in Motorhead t-shirts, lumbered onto the stage, their miniature ukeleles dwarfed in their big hands and played songs from the Ramones and other rock greats.
The only problem with the yearly Ukelele Hooley is that I’ll now have to wait for another whole year until it comes around again. But while I wait I can at the very least listen to some of my favorites on YouTube.