PLAYERS

ALAN DOWSON

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Alan, known as “Hank” to his friends, because of his love for playing Shadows music, (he even has the glasses) has played guitar for most of his life, but that’s only a part of his many talents. He is also an accomplished Bass guitarist, singer and of course,ukulele player. When he does have any spare time, in between playing for artistes such as Gerry Marsden, Chip Hawkes (The Tremeloes), performing with TUKUO around the world and playing in his own successful band in the UK, he teaches guitar in his home town of Hull, East Yorkshire, but of course he enjoys nothing more than strutting his stuff on the stage. Where ever that may be. Watch out! He may be closer than you think!!
DOUG HENNING

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Doug Henning or ‘Big Daddy’ is the walking history of British Pop and Rock music having helped found the whole  scene with other legends such as Clem Cattini, Big Jim Sullivan, Mick Green etc and with Jim Marshall helped design the first series of the now world famous “Marshall” amplifiers and speakers. Has worked as Bass player and MD for such people as Diana Ross, The Three  Degrees,’Cats’ in Londons West End and under Peter Moss, “The News Huddlines” for 27 years at the BBC in London. A great character, his most famous phrase is “Your wish is my invoice”!
DAVE KAVANAGH
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Dave lives in London and he is a composer and performer who grew up in Manchester. After playing the Piano for many years he fell in love with the Ukulele when he picked one up on a holiday in his teens. So he first fell for the ukulele was on a holiday in hawaii and after that he played his first three chords to entertain the travelers in Chicago airport.

Since then he has studied Music at the University of Hertfordshire and he has pushed this tiny instrument to its limits using it in rock bands, film soundtracks and powertool adverts.

Dave is known for his reckless cycling and late-night busking in the city. Dave is always ready to rock out wherever he ends up. He is also known for setting up and running the Ukulele Club for children at Chetham’s School of Music and also for whistling wherever he goes.

STUART CROUT
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Stuart Crout, called “Pockets”, is a musician who plays various instruments and performs solo, appearing at Theaters, music Pubs and small Festivals in the United Kingdom. He discovered the Ukulele in 2006 and in his own words “has never looked back!”.

He is one of that long line of British musician/performers best labeled as “eccentric” and in order to put across his art he will and has invented various obscure musical contraptions one being an instrument called the “Kazookeylele”. Since uploading the YouTube video of it, views have reached just under 5 million.

He has been broadcast on television and featured in print all over the world including an advertisement for “Doritos” for Canadian television.

We warmly welcome Pockets to TUKUO and who knows, in the future his name may be (eccentrically) mentioned in the same breath as George Formby, Vivian Stanshall and the Pythons.

JESSICA BARR

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Jessica is the latest recruit to TUKUO and packs a wealth of experience for one so young. Born to american parents in Germany she speaks five languages; English, German, Spanish, French and, oh yes, fluent American!! She lives in the UK and has established herself as an indispensable performer, songwriter, musician and vocal coach. With a BA in Music Practice from the University of Central Lancashire AND a First Class Honours Degree we had no hesitation in harnessing her many talents for the Orchestra. With a cheeky grin, blond hair and blue eyes all combined in a talented package she looks young enough to need ID to buy a coke! But never fear, her mother has given her permission to stay out late for our concerts !!
SARAH DALE

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Sarah Dale is sometimes called ‘The Diva’ not because of her dressing-room demands but because she can really hit those high soprano notes. She is a beautiful and accomplished musician working as a player and singer all over the UK. She plays various instruments as well as Ukulele and is a much sought after and respected vocal-coach. Her favourite phrase is “I’ll do it!”,Italian, Russian, “I’ll do it!”. The only exception was a song for the Orchestras tour of China….”I’ll TRY it!”.
ANDY WILD

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Andy has been performing on stage since the tender age of 10. He started on the piano, but picked up a guitar and this led to the uke! He has played professionally for over a decade, playing keyboards for the world famous ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ for seven years. Germany is fast becoming his second home, having spent most of 2012 touring with the very successful stage show ‘Musical Starnights’ and, of course, ‘The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra’. Andy also enjoys acting, appearing in numerous British TV shows, and can be seen briefly in Ben Wheatley’s recent cult hit comedy-horror film ‘Sightseers’.

‘Andy is the anarchist of the group, with a low boredom threshold and a distaste for scripts. He’s been known to spontaneously break into verse, monologues and even an impromtu seance on stage! If the band are looking worried, you can bet it’s Andy taking them to ‘the dark place’ of improvisational comedy’.

LESLEY CUNNINGHAM

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Lesley Cunningham, like Alan, is one of the quiet ones of the group but this disguises an incredible musical ability. She plays all the complicated harmony Ukulele lines within the arrangements as well as vocalising, also in harmony. She has worked as a Ukulele player and singer all over the UK and Europe from her base in London. With her dark good looks and smiling demeanor she is a person of few words one of them being ‘Yes’. “Lesley, would you take the most complicated bit of harmony ever written for a Ukulele?” ‘Yes’ she replies, and she does, and perfectly.
PETER BAYNES

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Peter Baynes is sometimes referred to as ‘Bobby’ due to his uncanny resemblance to Bob Dylan. He is a pianist of repute and also a trained singer as well as a great solo Ukulele player. He works around the world as a player and singer with such people as Neil Innes and at venues like the Edinburgh Festival. His great strength is his quick dry humour and his incredible solo work on Ukulele which matches Alans playing so well. Together they are the Jimmy Page and the Jeff Beck of the Ukulele world.
ALEX GOLD

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Alex Gold was born at an early age and according to popular legend was writing a song before he drew his first breath! He could be described as a 21st century punk in the sense that his mantra is, ‘anything is possible so let’s get it done!’. He is a new but very welcome addition to TUKUO because in addition to playing great ukulele his talents extend to guitar, piano, drums, bass and mandolin. In his other life he is an artist in his own right penning great songs that he sings with an amazing voice that people will want to hear again and again; and that is the other great asset that he brings to our ukulele family, his vocal prowess both as a soloist and a harmony singer. We in TUKUO have started to build a ‘sideline’ reputation for finding good people who then go on to do great things in the world of music and Alex Gold is certainly one to watch!
TONY YOUNG

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Tony Young or ‘Tony Cool’ is not only a great Ukulele player but also plays piano, guitar and bass, plus of course singing. He is Musical Director for the world famous “Gerry and the Pacemakers” completing worldwide tours every year and just back from Australia. He has a great sense of humour and musicality and when hurriedly dressing for a show, somebody said to him, “Tony, do you know your shirt’s hanging out?” “No!” he replied,”but you hum it and I’ll play it!”.
TUKUO sometimes plays with various formations and usually with 8 musicians.

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