Three line bio
are a diverse group of women of varying ages and musical experiences who came together in 2009 in their love of the ukulele. Seven years on, they continue to bring a smile to the faces of audience members throughout the region. For them, this simple, yet complex and highly portable instrument bestows the gift of music, and the reward of pure joy.
are a five piece (4 to 6, actually, depending on the season) all female ukulele ensemble, a diverse group of women of varying ages and musical experiences, who came together in their love of the ukulele, playing a variety of different ukes
(soprano, concert, tenor, banjolele, baritone), of all shapes and sizes. They play mostly old time or traditional type songs from by gone eras, with just a smattering of more modern tunes.
Since their inception, they have grown in musical stature, perhaps due to the tutelage and determination of the leader of the group, and now sing all kinds of music throughout the year, but also can perform extended sets of material for several seasonal events (such as Christmas, St. Patrick's Day (Irish), Valentines Day (love songs), Mother's Day, Halloween and Weddings.
Current group members (in alphabetical order) are: Anna Chamberlain, Annie Grindstaff, Jo-Ann Lawton, Karen McLaughlin, Amber Raymond & Libby Wheeler. ( Annie spends her winters in Hawaii (poor Annie) so the group is undermanned
(or is that underwomanned?), during winters. )
More Band Information
Back in 2009 the Southern Ontario Ukulele (or S.O.U.P) started up and met (& still meets) once a week to learn and play the ukulele together. Several of the women of this fledgling S.O.U.P. group joined together with the idea of creating an all female ukulele performance band, a separate entity from S.O.U.P - and the Ukellettes
Check out Southern Ontario Ukulele Players here.
During their time together, the Ukellettes have played lots of gigs at a variety of venues, and continue to develop their talents as a group.
Satisfying a sizeable group of women with very different lives, temperaments and schedules has presented a challenge to the band and as in most groups, change of personnel is inevitable. New members have come along and although the present group membership has been stable for some time now, several members of the original Ukellettes have moved on. Regardless, the group as a whole, continues its passionate love affair with the ukulele.
The group's repertoire grows constantly. Each member of the group contributes their ideas and choice of material and collectively they develop harmonies and instrumental arrangements. There is no assigned lead singer. On a song-by-song basis who sings lead, who sings harmony, who strums, who picks--and on which instrument is decided as an ongoing process. Their music covers a wide variety of genres. They work hard, and they have a lot of fun
Although the essence of the group has been built on allowing all members to contribute equally to the direction the group takes, there has been one unifying factor - What is special about the Ukellettes is the leadership of Jo-Ann Lawton, who is an award-winning singer songwriter of exceptional talent. She inspires the group with her musical vision, and motivates each and every one of the Ukellettes to learn and grow. Jo-Ann guides them in a co-operative creative process through which they choose and arrange their music.
Currently the Ukellettes play regular gigs on the 1st Friday of each month (7pm-9pm) at the LifeSpin Living Room
, with all proceeds going to LifeSpin.
Every time they perform, someone new gets to listen to their joyful music, and doors are being opened. Libraries, retirement homes, private parties, county fairs and festivals are all showing high interest in bringing the Ukellettes combined talents to new venues. They even played at an outdoor wedding!
Some places where the Ukellettes have played
(In no particular order):
Life*Spin Living Room (ongoing)
East Village Coffeehouse
Covent Garden Market
Western Fair Market
Artemisia (Celebration of Women) Festival in Ingersoll
Ailsa Craig Town Hall (seniors club)
London Public Libraries
Aeolian Hall (for Old East Live)
Hilton Hotel & Marconi Club (Chocolate Sunday, Fundraiser for LifeSpin)
Christie and Coen's outdoor wedding
Horizon Place Retirement Residence
Kensington Retirement Residence
Richmond Woods Retirement Residence
Parkwood Veterans Hospital (New Year Bash)
Home County Folk Festival
London to the Max
Delaware Legion for the Chili Cookoffs
Wolf Performance Hall (for Maude Barlow event)
St. Pauls Cathedral (for Brio Music London)
ANAF #229 Legions BBQ
On Broadway (Broadway St. Wyoming) Car Show & Party
Mini Bio for each band member
: When I heard about S.O.U.P., I was not even sure that I knew what a ukulele was exactly. I wandered in, had a ukulele put in my hands, and started strumming. I have been strumming ever since! I call it my
happy machine. Really, give it a try; you just might surprise yourself...
: Being fortunate enough to spend winters on the island of Molokai, Hawaii, it was not long before I became immersed and in love with the local music and their major instrument - the ukulele. I started learning from chord charts & books and from listening & playing along with the Hawaiian songs. At home, in London, especially with the Ukellettes, I realize how this wonderful instrument can be used to play every kind of music, and that it always brings a smile to the face & the heart.
: With almost three decades of playing guitar, singing, songwriting and combining talents with others, in a variety of groups, trios and duos, I was musically battle weary. Then one fine day along came the ukulele. This supposedly silly little instrument brought its many layers of musicality with it, and opened a timely and welcome door for my ongoing creativity...
: Music has been a part of my life since I first heard the haunting use of a mandolin in PEI. I started to take mandolin lessons, eventually playing and composing songs on this instrument that became my 'soul' instrument. Looking to expand my abilities and to find simple joy in music, I started learning the ukulele. Then I fell in love with the baritone ukulele which is my 'heart' instrument and my joyful musical journey continues.
: I had wanted to learn to play a musical instrument for a long time so when the opportunity came up to learn ukulele I decided to try it. After my introductory evening at S.O.U.P. I bought my first uke first thing the next morning and I have been hooked ever since.
: In early summer 2012, a friend suggested that I try playing the ukulele. The idea 'struck a chord', and the very next day I bought my first ukulele, even though I knew very little about music. I avidly searched for free online lessons and spent hours learning to strum this magical instrument. The rest of the story is an ongoing musical adventure.