I wanted to create this blog as a place where I can store and retrieve information for future reference. I chose the name Humble Uker Ramblings because I have started out strumming my father's 1950's painted Harmony ukulele. I think that the greatest appeal of the ukulele as "the people's instrument" is it's humble simplicity. My contact email is HumbleUker@gmail.com. I have also been working on a blog for the Baritone Ukulele called Humble Baritonics.
I just went to Burning Uke 8 (Sep 16-19, 2010) and had a great time. It is an amazing convergence of so many things and it is at times like these I wish I had a better command of the English language (even though it is my language) to express the dynamics of this event. I want to convey how much the concept of Burning Uke is a social, enthusiastic and giving time conceived in such a way as to spread comraderie and the love of music.
The cost to attend BU is precisely $35. The site is reserved for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It is in and end area of the Plaskett Creek campgrounds and isolated from the other campgrounds by a very large thicket of impermiable vines, brush and trees. There’s a large common area which is at a mild slope. All of the benches are carried to the top to create a main eating area around a fire pit. The middle and lower areas are used for various free classes throughout the day or for smaller groups that spontaneously gather. But the middle area is converted into a “stage” and seating area for the evenings sing-along and open microphone activities.
Beyond the geometrical logistics there is the feel of being in a valley between the thicket at the north and a small hill to the south. Looking westward there’s the Pacific Ocean or fog that seems to come and go as it pleases. Looking eastward and up between the redwood trees we see the moon rise in the evening and fill the sky with a soft light.
Burning Uke is not a Ukulele Festival set up with various amazing super talents and their workshops. I feel that this is a celebration of people getting together, making musical connections as well as singing and playing for hours on end. I could feel my calouses grow on my fingertips. It carries forward the same inviting and accepting spirit of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz. All levels of players are welcome and accepted. Also many come with other instruments, so diversity is welcomed.
This year I recall: baritone ukuleles, harmonicas, mariachi guitarone, concertina, dobro, lap steel, bass guitars with small private amps, upright bass, upright galvanized tub bass, banjos, dulcimer, violin, and a small saxophone. Oh yes, and Eileen S. brought a box-drum and an African drum.
People brought music to share and the UCSC songbooks were used quite frequently with song numbers being called out. The classes were also broadly scoped and entertaining. I did not attend them all but I know there were the following:
1) Ukulele and the Blues 2) Playing with Barred Chords 3) Playing in Small Groups 4) Country Western Songs 5) Hobo Songs 6) Music Theory 7) Playing the Harmonica
8) Bluegrass Music Jam
Around the perimeter of this isolated area are about 30 tents against the thicket and about 30 campers and vehicles along the road. But on the other side of the thicket there are probably 15-20 other campsites with the musically inclined. I know the was a large bluegrass contingent there. These people appeared to be regular campers and had nicely stoked trailers. I don't know the exact amount of participants but I guess somewhere between 125 and 150 people attended.
I found some images taken by Emily504 from Burning Uke 5