Ukes Rule!

January 31st, 2019
Ukes Rule!
Ukuleles are just toy guitars right? Not quite.
You can find out how nuanced these instruments can be with Ink Pot Arts and the Adelaide Hills Ukulele Group.
Ink Pots artistic director Jo-anne Sarre said any level of musical talent is catered for with their ukulele program.
“We have workshops for progressive learning that start with an absolute beginners class all the way up to joining the ukestra acoustic ensemble,” Jo-anne said.
“We have performances throughout the community.
“When people who have been part of the program get confident enough in their abilities they can come along and perform in public.”
Not just limited to playing traditional Hawaiian music, the ukulele can be used for a host of musical styles.
“There is a very eclectic range we play,” Jo-anne said.
“We do 21st century pop songs, folk songs, rock songs and more.
“One of our ukulele ensembles plays Celtic songs.
“They have a musician who's rather enamoured with that style of music.
“Ukuleles are diverse instruments.
“People might just know that have four strings and think it's limited but actually ukuleles can be played in interesting ways.”
Learning an instrument and performing in front of people is invaluable for personal growth according to Jo-anne Serre who helped found Ink Pot Arts in order to provide wider scope for performance art in the Hills.
“Art is really empowering,” she said.
“It provides skills for all facets of life like the confidence you get from acting or performing in front of people is easily translatable to other parts of your life.
“All sorts of artistic activities give people so much on well-being, social and artistic levels.
“It's also a great way of connecting across communities.”
Another big project underway by Ink Pot Arts is a series of historic art pieces based on buildings in Nairne.
Jessica Foster is leading the Whispering Walls: If the Walls Had Ears project which started by researching the history of Nairne.
“Then it has been a matter of finding what human stories and interesting stories are connected to that site,” Jessica said.
“There are going to be nine different installations, projections, sound installations, live performances and small scale puppetry and models that the audience moves through and learns the history of the town in the process.”
The project focuses on the hundred years from 1836 in Nairne and the Adelaide Hills.
“For me it's about looking at whose voices haven't been documented and then looking at the bigger picture of colonialism and capitalism and its impact on groups like Indigenous people and women,” Jessica said.
“That makes it sounds political but it's about finding those voices who haven't been as present in the written history.”
Jessica's interest in the urban development of the Adelaide Hills has led her to want to share stories that bridge gaps in the communities that have formed since European settlement.
“We don't always have shared stories or an understanding of place even if we have lived in the area all our lives,” she said.
“I want to help create works that develop those stories and connect people with the places they live.”
There is a current callout to audition for parts in Whispering Walls.
And if you have an interest in augmented reality, multi-media projection or puppetry, Ink Pot Arts can help you develop those skills as part of the project.
Whispering Walls will take over Nairne during South Australia's History History Festival in May.
If you are interested in trying your hand with a ukulele, workshops are held at the Ink Pot Arts Creative Hub in the Mount Barker Town Hall.
The absolute beginners workshop is on Saturday, February 2 from 2pm to 3.30pm.
Beginners sessions begin on Monday, February 4 from 6pm.
An intermediate group will meet on Wednesdays beginning February 6 from 6pm.
And the ukestra acoustic ensemble is on Tuesdays starting February 5 from 6.15pm.
For more information on any facets of Ink Pot Arts activities phone 0429 673 327 or email

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