Rita Braga (Portugal)
Saturday 3rd March, 8:00pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
Rita Braga is a singer, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Lisbon. She performs solo and sometimes collaboratively an unusual repertoire of songs in over ten languages, as well as original compositions and soundtracks.
She has also a background in the visual arts, doing illustration and animation, and a degree in Music Sciences.
Over the last decade she has performed in numerous clubs, art galleries and festivals across Europe, the US and in Brazil. She also navigates through specific international scenes such as burlesque, comics and ukulele festivals.
In 2011 she released her critically acclaimed debut album ͞"Cherries That Went To The Police" (produced by Bernardo Devlin) after 3 CD-Rs with low-fi home recordings. Her latest self-released work is the EP ͞"Gringo in São Paulo" (2015) and is comprised of original songs written and recorded while living in Brazil.
In Fall 2016 she wrote and performed the sci-fi minimal ukulele pop operetta ͞"A Quantic Dream" as a result of a 2 month residency in Graz, Austria. This new show combined a dream sequence, astrophysics, burlesque, animation and light hearted existencialism, extending Braga’s work to DIY musical theatre and more hybrid performances.
Rita Braga represented Portugal on ͞"EurNoVision 2016", an annual release of underground European artists, and she was one of the selected female ukulele artists for the CD ͞"Songs for the Sea: Ukulele Sirens" (released in May 2017).
Her many collaborations both live and on recordings include The Legendary Tigerman, Martha Colburn, Dorit Chrysler, Mary Ocher, Victor Coyote, Borts Minorts, Bernardo Devlin, Presidente Drógado, Felix Kubin and Ian Svenonius.
The Melbourne Ukulele Kollective
Sunday 4th March, 6:00pm - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
Since bursting upon the televisions of the nation in February 2006 with a 50 strong group of ukers of all ages performing a rousing rendition of "Long Way to the Top" by AC/DC, the MUK has helped the ukulele rise like a musical tsunami! When they began planning the first MUK Big Band shows back in 2004 there were no other ukulele groups in the country and it was hard to find a decent uke for sale in any local stores. Of course it's a different picture now!
As in the beginning, the MUK is an open ukulele group and has no restrictions for membership. They play at festivals, weddings, community gatherings, charity events, pubs, schools, chicken sheds, etc. Like most uke groups, their repertoire is a mix of old and new. They have free beginners classes at the Edinburgh Castle Hotel, 681 Sydney Rd Brunswick, every Wednesday from 6-7pm. Participants are encouraged to stay on for the MUK rehearsal which follows.
MUK is very proud to be a major financial supporter of the Melbourne Ukulele Festival since its inception in 2010 and many of its members give greatly of themselves to make the festival a reality!
Someone Else's Wedding Band
Saturday 3rd March, 4:30pm - Tago Mago
They say the best of things can be formed in the ashes and swamps of other things. Like that bit at the end of Planet of the Apes about we all really know where we came from and now we just have to work out how we got there and consider changing our ways or resort to primitive calculators.
Such wonderings brought together the duo that make up Someone Else's Wedding Band. Their attempt to break the formula for soundscapes brings about a melodic wheel of fortune - sometimes a pop, sometimes a hum, sometimes a harsh electric shattering twang. We'd like to tell you who the influences would be, but those who turn to their influences for help have no legs to call their own.
Jason swears beautifully into the microphone and brings about the deathly hallows from the space inside the ukulele strings, humming your favourite into something only Rowland S Howard could love. But fear not - there is always time for melodies and choruses. Naf resides in a seated position, commanding all appendages at the same time. Like some crazy arachnid he flails upon bass and stomp boxes in brutal choreography of sorts. Both form some mad kind of unison that must be seen to be heard to be believed.
Black Orchid Stringband
Sunday, 4th March, 7:00pm - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
Black Orchid Stringband is comprised of West Papuan musicians and activists currently based in Melbourne who use music to maintain the spirit of national unity in the West Papuan struggle for freedom. With an emphasis on rhythmic ukuleles and big harmonies, the group’s music draws on the rich backlog of songs written and archived in the spirit of cultural survival and political expression of West Papua.
The Black Orchid Stringband acknowledges the past and present Papuan elders who pioneered in the role of arts and culture through music to inspire us today and future generations.
Ukastle Ukestra (NSW)
Saturday 3rd March, 7:00pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
The Ukastle Ukestra is a cross between a ukulele orchestra, a choir and a musical theatre experience from "Hair"! We play original arrangements of songs taken from all genres (including pop, folk, world music and jazz) but send them to new places and back again by arranging them for ukulele and voice. We believe in giving a show, more than just a collection of songs!
Tracey Jane and the Power Dressers
Saturday 3rd March, 9:00pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
Coming out of hiding after 30 years, Tracey Jane and the Power Dressers burst back onto the scene with their whirlwind world tour of Thornbury in 2017. Bringing their unique personal perspective on the ͚80s, Tracey Jane intersperse the songs you love (or would have loved if you͛d heard Tracey Jane perform them) with memories and tidbits from the peak of their career. From Madonna to AC/DC and all stops in between - all will be revealed! Photo credit - Brendan Bonsack
Miss Wattle and the Panton Hill Ukulele Club
Saturday 3rd March, 12:45pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
Miss Wattle and the Panton Hill Ukulele Club, also known as Miss Wattle’s Group Ukulele Class, hail from the bushy outer north east of Melbourne, and meet every Tuesday evening at 7 at Allwood Neighbourhood House, Hurstbridge. The inimitable Miss Wattle (aka Sue Arnold) is a colourful local character known for her yearly conquest of the Hurstbridge Wattle Day Beauty pageant (ever since 1910!)
Sue has a long history of ukulele love and has toured the world playing at Vancouver Comedy Festival, Glastonbury Festival, France, Holland, the U.K... you name it, she’s played there. She leads the Panton Hill Ukulele Club enthusiastically on their musical journey, using her many years of experience to impart quintessential ukulele-ness to many loved pop, rock, western swing, calypso and Hawaiian tunes.
Saturday 3rd March, 4:30pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
Cat House was built upon a shared passion for the ukulele and added their own musical accents of accordion, fiddle and clarinet. With a repertoire as eclectic as the kitties themselves, the diverse voices of Cat House bring to the stage sassy songs and sweet harmonies. These Melbourne based felines aim to sound purr-fect.
Choo Choo Toys
Saturday 3rd March, 1:30pm - Tago Mago
Choo Choo Toys are Bee Peruscoand Alan Gannaway. They formed Wilde & Free to perform for events at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. They have also frequented markets and parties at the Rocks in Sydney and a plethora of corporate events as well as Beams Festival and Mountains to the Sea in Wollongong. They love to perform classic popular songs from the 1890’s through to 60’s with Alan’s trusty Baritone Ukuleles and Bee’s delightful vocals. They are always striving to add to their range of classic and popular songs in French, Spanish and Bee’s native Italian.
Tyrone and Lesley (Brisbane)
Sunday 4th March, 5:00pm - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
Tyrone and Lesley play songs on the ukulele, double bass and U-bass, all instruments that must be held close to the heart. First meeting in 2000 in the show "Ukulele Mekulele" they've made music ever since, having released two albums Ukulele Heart (2012) and Bear with Me (2013), the soundtrack to the hit show of the same name, and performed to many audiences of the large and little kind.
Finalists in the 2012 and 2013 Queensland Music Awards for their songwriting, they've played the Sydney Opera House, New Zealand International Ukulele Festival, Melbourne Ukulele Festival, Cairns Ukulele Festival, Spruke 2013, the Brisbane Festival, and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Perth’s Awesome Festival, the Melbourne Recital Centre and many other far less reputable establishments.
Sunday 4th March, 12:00noon - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
Ukelicious is a great mix of music and ukulele fun.
Hosted by the Gippsland Acoustic Music Club, Ukelicious combines ukulele lesson groups and local strum clubs to form this band.
Based in Gippsland, they share their music in the community at a range of gigs. A feature of their performance is always their singing.
The group at MUF 2018 is lead by Di Stephens and Julie Bradley.
From their photo, can’t you tell that Ukelicious would love to see you at their gig.
The Loveys (NSW)
Sunday 4th March, 3:45pm - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
"With swooning five-part harmony and a cocktail-hour arsenal of instruments including guitar, ukulele, bass guitar, bassoon, drums and percussion, The Loveys have concocted a sound with shades of palm-fronded bandstands of old, elegantly sliced with the wit of the thoroughly modern woman" — Michael Dwyer, writer, Fairfax Media
"Nailing the piss-take on all things modern circa 2017, from transgender marital departures to personality disorders – even the pursuit of happiness isn’t spared from their material. But they’re not popular just for their good humour, they’re a festival highlight because they’re absolutely gorgeous and very bloody good" — Elizabeth Walton from https://timberandsteel.wordpress.com/
Saturday 3rd March, 3:00pm - Tago Mago
Karin is a high-energy ukulele player with a unique combination of powerful heavy-metal, pop and rock songs. So if you need a strong dose of Led Zeppelin, Queen, Kiss, Patti Smith and Joan Armatrading, Karin is for you. Most recently, she was a lead act at the Sandringham Music Festival and performed at the infamous Bearpit in Berlin. Come and rock!
Jack n Jel (with Ruth n John)
Saturday 3rd March, 3:00pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
Mark Jackson & Jane Jelbart are influenced by the rich tradition of folk and jazz music from USA. They are accompanied by Ruth Mc Crae on uke and John Wallace on bass, who together, create beautiful four part vocal harmonies. They all write their own original music and enjoy the banter of live performance!
Sunday 4th March, 3:45pm - Tago Mago
George O’Hara is a poet, musician and recorder of other poets and musicians. He has produced several CDs of poetry, ukulele songs and electronica over the last few years of his own and others work. He loves reading and listening to all types of music as well as creating music. He has performed with the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective and at a number of music festivals including the Australia Day Parade. He is also a member of The Bitter Disappointments and The Temporary Adults combining poetry, music and visual art. His ukulele songs of love, loss, biting social commentary and humour combined with his poetic electronica will make you laugh, think... and hopefully buy him a drink.
Saturday 3rd March, 12:00noon - Tago Mago
Dino Divo sings songs of beauty and sadness, desperation and fear, friendship and betrayal, love, loss, debauchery, murder and redemption. He is often moved to tears. He laughs loud and is quick to anger. Demons and angels inhabit his soul. He loves to sing and play his uke.
My name is Dean Walter Denham but I go by the name Dino Divo when I perform because it’s what you do when you go on stage - you give yourself a name that is not yours but which you think says something about you. Or it looks good in print. Or it sounds interesting or funny or funky or something. My father was Douglas Methley Denham and he never went by any other name except when he and his brothers used to perform they would call themselves the Denham Brothers; which, considering they were brothers and their surname was Denham, is kind of different to taking on a new name. They didn’t call themselves The Blue Shadows, or The Broken Wings, or Genesis, or The Beatles, or U2, or ... you get the idea.
And I think it’s kind of strange how when you write a bio like this you are meant to write it in the third person. "Dino Divo sings this and that."; "He is a washed up has been whom you will love and adore." Etc. And not "I am Dean Walter Denham and I call myself Dino Divo because ...". Because ... Because I write really terrible songs, if I ever do write a song that is, which isn’t often, I only play other people’s songs. But even though the songs I play were written by someone who may also have called themself another name other than the one their parents gave them I often feel very connected to the song; like it was mine, or about me or someone I knew. Johnny Cash said that when he does a song by someone else he plays it and plays it and plays it till he makes it his own. I really admire Johnny Cash and I don’t care if that was the name his parents gave him or not because he was really good! I bet he never wrote a bio about himself in the third person!
Sunday 4th March, 1:30pm - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
Dafka is a fun, vibrant duo performing on ukuleles and vocals who play what they call Cosmopolitan Mediterranean, a range of genres from Gypsy, Klezmer, Blues, Jazz, French chanson and more. David charms and enchants his audiences with his performances. He is a dynamic multi-instrumentalist, a member also of the bands Klezmania and Belle Musette and a widely travelled professional performing musician, composer/arranger and educator for lessons, workshops and ensembles. Rebecca combines her lifelong love of music with a strong and vital rhythmic approach to the ukulele, leading the audience along a magical journey through Dafka’s diverse musical styles.
Sunday 4th March, 3:00pm - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
Sarah Carroll plays waltzes, two-steps, rhumbas, swing and rock; original songs with that sparkling quality only the ukulele can bring. She sings with a clear, passionate, honest voice about cars, crime, drinking, dogs and love, and is a well-travelled performer who counts Tim Rogers, Azo Bell and Mic Conway amongst her fans. Sarah’s new album STAR PARADE is out now on Sugar Rush Music!
Two and a Half Wise Men
Saturday 3rd March, 3:45pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
The Two and a Half Wise Men are a live jam duo based in Melbourne consisting of Edwin (ukulele, violin), Jan (ukulele, guitar, keyboard) and half a guest player of the day, whom we call Frank.
Edwin is a British former violinist who has performed in major concert halls around the world. He brings classical musicality to ukulele playing in order to create a beautiful ukulele voice and make every note he plays special.
Jan is a talented and versatile musician from the Czech Republic who always carries a soulful and jazzy touch with him.
Together they improvise and play a wide range of instrumental music on the ukuleles as well as other instruments.
The Brass Traps
Saturday 3rd March, 2:15pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
The Brass Traps will put a smile on your face, a tap in your toe and a tune in your voice! Featuring Bernard and assorted special guests, the Brass Traps have lately been making a feature of lyrical and melodic determinism. Aspirations have become transpirations, predictions have eventuated, and intangibles have materialised. What does the future hold? Come along to the Brass Traps massed fortune telling, and you'll be the first to know!
Saturday 3rd March, 3:45pm - Tago Mago
Ma Petite is Melbourne born musician Indiana Avent’s solo project. After spending over a decade in the music industry playing violin for artists such as Bon Iver, Soko, Dan Mangan, Gotye, and Amanda Palmer, Avent decided to put her own originals out into the world. With guitar or ukulele in hand, Avent paints tales of her dreams, experiences and aspirations, the little stories within the songs are brought to life with charmingly honest song writing, which creates a whimsical tapestry for Avent’s stories to be told.
Avent moved to Canada in early 2011 to record her debut album ‘The road that led me to Fall’, an album written during her time spent in Canada in 2010. The concept was to create a cross collaboration project, encompassing Avent’s own unique Australian style, while capturing the essence of the Canadian independent folk/singer songwriter scene, which along with the vast natural beauty of Canada, influenced and inspired many of the songs on the album.
This vision came to life with the help of Vancouver based Producer Paul Beochler and a plethora of talented local musicians, including Aidan Knight, Kenton Loewen (Dan Mangan, Gord Gradina), Jordan Klassen, and Matt Kelly (City and Colour, Yukon Blond).
The road that led me to Fall was released in April 2014, followed by a Canadian/European tour. Avent returned to Australia in October for more performances in support of the release, and festivals.
Saturday 3rd March, 12:45pm - Tago Mago
With musical beginnings as a full time busker on the streets of Melbourne, Zahra Kassem is a songwriter who fuses elements of folk and pop music with a strong emphasis on melody and stark lyrical honesty. Performing with her ukulele, Zahra's unique sound and infectious smile is captivating.
Emerald Primary School Ukulele Band
Saturday 3rd March, 12:00noon - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
The Emerald Primary School Orchestra has been performing for 5 years. Its original members have all gone off to secondary schools around Victoria. However, there is a new group in town and inspired by their predecessors, they are eager to show the world what they can do.
Saturday 3rd March, 2:15pm - Tago Mago
Señor Quinn Classic tunes from the 60's through till today reinvented on the electric ukulele with looper, drum machine and fx pedals - a modern one man band!
UFO: Uke4Kids Family Orchestra
Saturday 3rd March, 1:30pm - Thornbury Theatre Ballroom
The UFO (Uke4Kids Family Orchestra) just keeps getting better. This 11-strong group of some of the most talented and enthusiastic students from the Uke4Kids program never fails to impress and entertain audiences with its contemporary repertoire, sophisticated arrangements and high energy performances. After playing at many previous MUFs, other national festivals, and putting out some impressive recordings and videos, the U.F.O. is ready to rock MUF '18! All ages friendly.
Sunday 4th March, 3:00pm - Tago Mago
"Oh, je t’adore", said the singer to the ukulele.
Amie and her small stringed friend bring you fabulous songs in seductively vintage style. Recently spotted in Paris with her ukulele (that’s ukulélé in French), she sings an eclectic mix of French chansons, vintage jazz, and other tunes that cross her path and take her fancy. After a terribly serious music degree at the University of Melbourne, Amie has journeyed through classical, jazz and cabaret to discover an imaginative place where simplicity rules. What she really loves to do is sing great songs, tell interesting tales and have some fun with the audience. What else can you do with a repertoire that includes Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, 1920s swing, New Orleans blues, Cole Porter, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and flamenco?
Sunday 4th March, 12:00noon - Tago Mago
"If you go down to Abbotsford
You’re in for a big surprise
On Tuesday nights in Abbotsford
The music reaches the skies.
The Yarra YUkes all gather there
To sing and play and share good cheer
On Tuesday nights the Yarra YUkes do their ukin’!"
The Yarra YUkers are a diverse bunch of ukers from across Melbourne drawn together by a love of making music. Harry Harrison and Betty France help them direct their prodigious energies into great ukulele playing and singing
Sunday 4th March, 2:15pm - Tago Mago
Di and Julie met through Gippsland Acoustic Music Club’s Ukelicious group and realising a passion for the ukulele joined forces and began workshopping a few songs. They explore the range of techniques that this fabulous instrument can offer and how it compliments the voice. They offer an eclectic collection of songs, a mix of folk, ukulele, original and contemporary tunes.
Sunday 4th March, 2:15pm - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
SKULL: St Kilda Ukulele Lovers League
Sunday 4th March, 12:45pm - Tago Mago
SKULL was formed in 2015 to fill the ukulele void in Melbourne's southside with some DIY community uke fun.
Come to our free SKULL Tuesday Night Uke Jam every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month upstairs at St Kilda RSL in Acland St.
Balla Balla Ukes and Chantelle Riordan
Sunday 4th March, 1:30pm - Tago Mago
Balla Balla Ukes started as a project of the Balla Balla Community Centre in Cranbourne in October 2017. Since then, it has flourished and now includes over 30 members. The group is very social, with members coming together fortnightly on Sunday afternoons in a fun environment where they learn and help each other, playing through a variety of songs.
Chantelle Riordan has a passion for music that first began while playing percussion for her local community band. In March 2016, she began playing the ukulele and a year later started performing regularly at open mics throughout Melbourne.
In January 2017, she was selected from a day of open mic performances to perform on the evening stage at Gigarre Moosic Muster. Other performances planned this year include Bayles Festival, Lentil as Anything Restaurant in Thornbury and Hills Ukulele Festival.
Her soft and sweet vocals cover a wide range of easy listening repertoire, while often engaging the audience in singalong.
For more information, please like her Facebook page "Chantelle & Uke": www.facebook.com/chantelleuke
Sunday 4th March, 12:45pm - Thornbury Theatre Velvet Room
Young souls, old music.
The Bandits was born one Sunday afternoon on a veranda in a little country town. Gabriel had just picked up a mandolin and Lucie decided slap bass was her thing. Mary pulled out her fiddle and taught them some tunes, which left Amie no choice but to learn bluegrass ukulele. So while all the other kids are playing computer games, Gabriel and Lucie, with Mary and Amie (both old enough to drive to gigs), are playing bluegrass tunes, singing good old songs and writing a few originals.
Gabriel Mallinson (12) – mandolin, voice
Lucie Mallinson (10) – bass, voice
Mary Duff (> 21) – big fiddle, voice
Amie Brûlée (never ask a lady her age) – ukulele, voice