National Centre for Early Music

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Youths, Lutes & Ukes

Two hundred young ukulele players from York schools had the exciting opportunity to work with members of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and the Theatre of the Ayre in a unique collaboration.

The project began in May with workshops for pupils from Yearsley Grove, Clifton Green, St. Barnabas, St. Aeldred's and Elvington primary schools led by local ukulele teachers and members of both ensembles. The young people then spent several weeks practicing the music, with the help of their teachers and ukulele players from the University of York's Music Education Group.
The project explored music by two musicians called Robert Johnson - one Shakespeare's lute player, the second a bluesman. The young people learned about the chord patterns of early seventeenth century music and experienced how they are related to similar patterns in blues songs.  Joined by lute and ukulele professionals, they performed their own blues song, and music from the seventeenth century - including a lively dance.
This project was also supported by SHM Foundation.