Now you don’t often , if ever, hear calypso music these days, but today at Basement Discs, The Ukeladies played an enchanting set, redolent of sun, sand and tropical island paradises. Yes, they’ve rediscovered Harry Belafonte and even performed his songs Island In The Sun and Angelina.
I was amazed I still remembered this music as in my childhood in the 1950s - no doubt like others of my generation - we had a Harry Belafonte record which we loved, especially The Banana Boat Song – so good to sing along to.
To get back to The Ukeladies, they originated as an harmony, ukulele duo composed of childhood friends, Amanda Roff and Maylise Dent (pictured above). They describe their music as retro-future, faux Hawaiian and demonstrated mastery over the the genre, with delicious harmonies, accompanying themselves on ukulele. They certainly looked the part, wearing glamorous dresses, draped in leis with orchids in their hair.
They were accompanied today by several members of their expanded band, with Dan Luscombe on guitar, Phil Kakulas on bass, some other guy on a weird stringed instrument, and Manas Pandey, the possessor of wonderfully warm baritone voice on solo and harmony vocals.
It was an excellent, bright interlude in a dreary, cold winter’s day in Melbourne.
They will be performing a show at the Toff in Town on Sunday night, with a full orchestra and hula girls.