Month: August 2014

Venue: Flying Ukes Night @ the Moonshine Café, Oakville

The Moonshine Café is known for showcasing live music and for offering many opportunities to share music (acoustic open stage, dinner & jam, songwriter showcase). Once a month there is a uke circle and, being a uke aficionado, I had to check it out.IMG_7262

As opposed to an open mic or jam, the uke circle is more of a social event than one focussed on performance. The Flying Uke songbooks (I was immediately loaned a set) allow everyone to join in as they provide lyrics, chords and chord diagrams for any new chords players might encounter. This is a great place for beginners to challenge themselves to keep up with a group tempo.

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Each person, whether playing or just singing, has a turn to choose the song, and signals to the group when they are ready to start with a few plinks on Charlotte, a toy piano. Charlotte makes her way around the circle so that it’s clear whose turn it is. This format makes the event very inclusive the and the group is relaxed and welcoming.

IMG_7270Host and facilitator, Monique of the Flying Ukes, had her work cut out for her as the enthusiasm of the group sometimes made it hard to rein them in, start together, play together, etc. But when we did come together we pulled off some fun ensemble work. “Another one for the bus!” was one response to a good sounding song. Attendance can range from 6-10 players to the 25-30 exuberant participants of this week. Usually on the first Sunday of the month, check the Flying Ukes FB page for schedule changes (like this month) due to events or long weekends. No cover but you are encouraged to buy a drink/snack as a thanks to the Moonshine Café for hosting the uke circle.

[Flying Ukes Night, Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr Street, Oakville; 1st Sunday of month (usually), 7-11 pm]

Venue: Tinderbox Thursday @ Revolucion, Toronto

IMG_7231Nestled in the heart of the Junction, La Revolucion has been serving delicious Mexican food for 4 years now, but I happened to visit on the first night of a new open mic event, affectionately named “Tinderbox” by owner Indira Cadena. It was a pretty quiet night (total of three performers) but this allowed Indira herself to step out from behind the bar and grace us with a couple of old standards at the piano.

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Host Michael Keith has been playing music in the west end for some time. I had the honour of being the first – inaugural, as I described it – open mic guest. Since there was time to play, Michael joined me on stage to add guitar leads to my original songs – I just love that kind of spontaneous collaboration!


The vision for Tinderbox Thursday nights is that people will bring music, spoken word, poetry, dance, comedy – a cabaret style event where people share their creative endeavours.

[La Revolucion, 2848 Dundas St W, Toronto; every Thursday 8-11 pm; no cover]