Aussie Ukulele Maestro, Azo Bell, will be including a stop in Coquitlam during his North of the Equator Tour on September 16, 2016. We are extremely thrilled to have Azo teach and perform in Canada.
** Hot off the press **
The multi-talented Azo Bell has just been named this year’s Musical Saw Champion at the 2016 International Musical Saw Festival, Roaring Camp in Felton, California, in August.
Touted as “Australia’s top-ranked ukulele player” by the online magazine, World Music Central, Azo was already a professional musician with over 25 years experience as a guitarist when he began playing ukulele in 1992.
Since then he has played around his homeland (Australia) and the world as MD for Theatre group Stretch MK1, with his trio The Old Spice Boys, and solo. His tenth ukulele featured album is about to be released. (See his nine ukulele albums here.) His ukulele style stems from involvement in many musical genres, using techniques adapted from the Cavaquinho and the guitar, with an emphasis on improvisation.
Be sure to catch this very rare opportunity to see Azo Bell in action because the last time this ukulele legend toured in North America was almost 15 years ago. Guarantee your spot in the workshop and/or concert and register! There is a $5 discount for attending both workshop and concert.
“I have a new ukulele hero, Azo Bell from Byron Bay. He closed out the all-day festivities at the Melbourne Ukulele Festival on Sunday with his combo The Old Spice Boys. Wow! I’ll be spending some time with him this week as I make my way to Brisbane and the Gold Coast.”
– Jim D’Ville, “Play By Ear” Ukulele Educator
“Azo Bell is one of the most interesting and creative uke players around the world today. He’s a virtuoso musician who never fails to surprise and delight with his ever-changing ideas. His dedication to this humble yet challenging instrument is evident in the music he produces.”
– Bob Brozman, Bluesman
“Azo Bell is a master musician and a superb ukulele player. In Bell’s hands this modest instrument is an object of wonder. The Old Spice Boys can lift the heart.”
– Rhythms Magazine
“[Azo Bell] He’s an amazingly great player. I’ve seen him in action many times since 2002 and he never disappoints.”
– Ralph Shaw, King of the Ukulele
“I met Azo Bell in 2002 in New Jersey, attending my first ukulele festival. I will always remember his stage performance, getting sounds and tones I never thought possible out of his soprano ukulele.”
– DaSilva Ukulele Co., Berkeley, California
“As with all the best musical wits, underpinning the hilarity is expert musicianship. Bell, both a virtuoso and highly imaginative improviser, wrests some glorious sounds from his ukulele.”
– John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald
“Aussie Azo Bell is one of the best uke players of the new-uke generation. Along with band mates Billy Milroy on single string bass and Tim Reeves on snare drum, Azo shows off some amazing single note picking and strumming that are one part vaudeville, and one part modern jazz. Includes many standards Rag Mop, Foggy Day In London Town, Misty, and a slew of originals including the instant uke classic Spider Walk. Serious chops mixed with a wicked sense of humor.”
– Jim Beloff, Flea Market Music, California (from review of ‘Lost In Spice’ CD)
“In a sea of mediocrity it’s nice to watch a uniquely fresh-sounding band like The Old Spice Boys rise to the surface. They never fail to entertain an audience no matter how diverse.”
– Keven Oxford Founder/Producer East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival
“Armed with outrageously minimal instrumentation, The Old Spice Boys get more music, more laughs and more style from a ukulele, a tea-chest bass and a solitary snare drum than most bands get from a truckload of instruments and equipment.”
– Newcastle Herald
Check out some of his amazing performances.
Azo Bell’s workshop reflects his expertise with the instrument, as a musician, and as a person, and suits ukulele players of all levels and all persuasions. The focus is on musicianship rather than learning tunes. As far as possible the program is flexible to meet the varying interests and abilities of ukulele players.
1. Musicianship is often regrettably overlooked when people begin learning and sometimes continues to be. Azo’s workshop deals with the listening and trust required to be a musician – from the most basic level. The group is directed to listen, play (together), and imagine music in fun ways that encourage a functional relationship with music – and with each other as musicians.
2. Technical aspects of the instrument – can make it hard to play or spoil the sound. Azo will demonstrate some simple tests to reveal the most common problems and show how most can be corrected using common tools (or how to avoid buying an instrument that will be difficult to set up).
3. Azo will demonstrate his unique strumming technique. There will be some rhythm exercises. If there is interest, he’ll break it down (slow it down) and describe the learning process he followed to develop it and how to enjoy it.
4. Some time will be devoted to Q & A and general discussion. Whenever possible this will continue after the allocated time and wind down when everyone’s had enough.
5. Unless specifically asked, Azo will avoid harmonic theory. It is possible to be a fine musician knowing nothing about it, and discussion can easily get boring for those who already understand it and for those who don’t want to.
If asked, Azo will describe his pathway to understanding the instrument harmonically and how to draw “continuous fretboard” diagrams showing all possible chord and scale fingerings.
Solo Concert (8:45pm)
Azo’s dynamic multi-genre playing will charm uke lovers all over. Uke-flipping is just one of his many specialties! Be mesmerized by his masterful musicianship and his witty on-stage presence.
Date: Friday, September 16, 2016
Time: 6:30pm — 8:30pm; 8:45pm — 9:30pm
Location: Studio A, Evergreen Cultural Centre, 1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam
Cost: $30 for workshop; $15 for concert; $40 for workshop and concert.
Please complete the registration form below. A confirmation email will be sent to all registered participants.
- Poco Inn & Suites (closest to the venue)
- Executive Plaza Hotel Coquitlam
- Best Western Plus Coquitlam Inn Convention Centre
- Coquitlam Sleepy Lodge (economy motel; some units have kitchenettes)
Directions and Parking
Visit Evergreen Cultural Centre’s Find Us page. Please check this page for latest updates on road construction near the Evergreen Cultural Centre. Studio A is on the North side of the Evergreen Cultural Centre.