A.J. Leonard

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO UKE

A.J. has been a songwriter, performer and arranger for more than 30 years. His creative outlets have included many instruments that include guitar, mandolin, bouzouki and piano but his enduring passion has always been the ukulele. As a composer A.J. has gained a respect and appreciation for the skill and beauty of the music from the 1920s and 30s where the template for the modern pop song was forged and arguably never surpassed.

A.J.’s ukulele career began in the flourishing live folk scene in Melbourne in the late 1970s. During this time he was fortunate to meet expert ukulele player Bernie Mulcahy. At the time Bernie was in his 70s and had been playing uke since the 1920s. A.J. was able to learn many specialist-strumming patterns from someone who had played during the golden era of the ukulele.

In the intervening years A.J. has explored many musical genres both old and new and brings his collective knowledge to this workshop for others to share the experience. He has long believed the ukulele to be an underrated instrument that is capable of enriching and inspiring both performers and listeners. His workshop features a modern take on old songs colouring them with varied inversions, strumming and finger picking patterns.

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