As you’ve probably seen by now either on Instagram or Facebook, I’ll be playing and giving a workshop at the Tropical Winter Ukulele Festival (TWUF) in Finland. It seems as if the Scandinavian countries are much more interested in my music than anyone else. I don’t know why, but I love it, because every time I visited one of the countries up north, I had a really great time. Pretty landscapes and lovely people – it’s just a perfect combination.
How did I get myself into that?
When I got the info, that I was invited to play at Oslo Ukulele Festival last year, I was totally shocked and scared. I had no idea if I could actually pull it off and was ready for this. This time it felt more like a relief. I applied to play and I knew, that I did good in Oslo. But would everyone else think so too? Would there ever be the chance to play on a main stage again? Was I actually good enough to do it again? So when Arto from the organizing team at TWUF wrote me I was really reliefed. My performance in Oslo was good enough and yes, there are actually people out there who would love to see me play again.
Working on my Setlist
I instantly knew, that I wanted to do a set with just original songs. I have enough good material to do so and it feels so much more authentic to share my own stories and work. Which ones to choose though?
I wanted to incorporate two new songs that I had been working on in the last couple of weeks. And I also wanted to select my best songs, so here’s what I came up with in the first draft:
- There were no lights (to tell us where to go)
- Fighting the Fraud Police
- One Day
- Empty Shell
- Der Flaneur
- The Rain
Now, I consider there to be my best songs yet (well, at least the serious ones). This might be a very dark setlist, and I am still not sure as to whether it’s a good idea to go with them or not. It could become a bit boring and one note, but putting a super funny song somewhere in the middle might be odd. So I don’t really know…
Working on my Workshop
Preparing songs wasn’t the only thing to do for me this time though. I also had to prepare a workshop. Don’t worry, I’ll not be teaching ukulele (I cannot image doing that) – my workshop has the title “Promote yourself on Social Media“. It will offer insights on how to create a social media strategy and lots of tips on how to best present yourself on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
This is the first time teaching for me. I’m doing tons of workshops at work, so I feel prepared, but I have no idea how many people actually booked (and payed!) to attend. This is gonna be exciting.
Practice and Prepare
Since fall, work was completely crazy, so I didn’t really get as much practice in as I would’ve liked. Fortunately most of the songs I want to play, I’ve played on stage before, either in Oslo or at some Open Mics at other festivals. So it was really about the two new songs that I added, to get them down and to refresh all the others. Still a big enough task though.
I got my usual setup out again – mic, amp, music stand. It’s really working for me to practice in a setup that’s similar to the stage. That way I can also practice how my body and head need to move for the different songs. How close I need to be to the mic and how that affects my ukulele playing.
What to wear and what to bring?
I am always afraid to forget to pack things, so I like to have a list of the most important things:
- Extra Set of strings (plus necessary tools)
- Batteries for pick-up
- Ukulele strap (2x)
- Instrument cable
- Merchandise (sticker, pins, business cards, postcards, tattoos)
- Action Cam
- Setlist for stage
- Glucose tablets for stage
- Blood sugar meter for stage
Something else I am always worried about is what I’m going to wear. This sounds vain, but there’s actually more to it. Yes, I do want to look good on stage (I’m sure everyone does), but it also needs to be comfy and allow me to play my ukulele. Tbh I don’t really know yet what I’m gonna wear – because I have no idea how cold it will be and what the location is like. So I might have to bring some options and decide spontaneously.
2 thoughts on “The Road to Finland”
I have not heard about Ukulele since Elvis Presley. Maybe this is due to the fact our national instrument Kantele is fantastic and requires vey much skill to play it. Thank you telling us that Ukulele still lives.
Have a wonderful day!
The ukulele is currently gaining lots of popularity as many mainstream pop artists even use it. I know that there is a very active ukulele scene in Finland, so it’s definitely worth checking it out.