Andy Eastwood's 2015 EP 'Three Classics for Ukulele'


Andy Eastwood

Three Classics for Ukulele

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Andy's 2015 EP featuring his newly-composed suite of classical pieces for solo ukulele...
1. Dance - based on Danse des Mirlitons from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker
2. Étude - based on Chopin's Étude Op 10, No.3
3. Because - based on the song buy Guy d'Hardelot
4. William Tell's Ukulele ('Live' Version) - ukulele-banjo showstopper

Andy Eastwood - from the promo video

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my Grandad playing the ukulele to me.
He taught me vaudeville songs and strummed the chords while I sang. Music captured my imagination.

Shortly before Grandad passed away he gave me a uke of my own. It wasn’t much more than a toy (well I was only
six) but it set me on a journey that continues to this day. If only he could have known that I would on day travel the
world earning my living as a ukulele player!

When I started playing in the 1980s, the ukulele was not popular in Britain. Back then you had to travel many miles
to meet other enthusiasts - that’s if you were lucky enough to find them! But I combined the musicianship that I
learned from my studies on the violin and piano with the tips I gleaned from other uke players, and managed to
develop a decent ukulele technique.

It surprised me that very few players tried to use the ukulele for anything more than a rhythmic accompaniment for
the voice. To me that seemed a waste of a wonderful sound, so I learned to write and perform ukulele solos that
would be a little more challenging! It was an exciting moment for me when, in 2000, I gained a music degree from
Oxford as the first musician ever to perform my final recital on the uke. In my whole time at the university, I didn't
meet one single uke player there.

Today things are very different: the ukulele scene is thriving! Every major town has a gathering of uke players.
Gradually people have learned to love the ukulele again, as they did back in the jazz era. Yet the huge majority of
players still treat the instrument as a bit of fun; they’re happy just to learn a few chords and strum basic rhythms.
Don’t get me wrong - I love the ‘fun’ aspect of the uke, in fact most of the material that I perform is light-hearted if not
comical. But let’s remember that the ukulele, although small and simple, also has the potential to be an instrument
of the most beautiful music. My hope in writing and recording this little suite of classical-style pieces is that I might
help encourage people to recognise it as such, and invite you to appreciate the ukulele’s possibilities in the context
of another musical realm.

----------------- Andy Eastwood, 2015

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