There were ukuleles, kazoos, some evangelical support and a Gameboy.

The launch of Ukephoric, an album of live recordings from the 2009 London Ukulele Festival, was held this week at Madame Jo Jo’s. The festival’s organisers are releasing the album on their label Ukeylove to raise funds for the upcoming 2010 event.

Jona Lewie and his ukulele cavalryJona Lewie playing accordian, Photograph: Dylan Walker

One of the evening’s stars was Jona Lewie . He played songs from the album, including a rendition of his hit song Stop the Cavalry , accompanied by a ukulele rhythm section and a duo of lady kazooist’s.  I was particularly taken with the Kazoo section.  Who needs brass when you have a kazoo at hand? While researching Jona Lewie I came across his wonderful website, www.jonalewie.com.  It has pictures of Jona with various Lawnmowers.  Need I say more.

Jimmy McGee with ukuleleJimmy McGee with uke, Photograph: Dylan Walker

Jimmy McGee, of The Bobby McGee’s, performing a few solo songs was a pleasure to behold.  The Bobby McGee’s last album was critically acclaimed by many, including XFM and Kerrang. He’s also written and recorded a new album called 68 love songs (and a poem about shagging).  “I gave a copy to Billy Childish.  I told him 67 of the songs are amazing, the rest are just filler,” he said. Apparently, Billy never got back to him.  I look forward to hearing the album.

Gabba ukulele - Jellyape

Jellyape, Photograph: Dylan Walker

My favourite performance of the night came from Brighton based Jellyape, a Gameboy gabba uker.  Armed with only his Gameboy and an effects laden uke, he was entertaining and original. Like DJ Scotch Egg with a ukulele – he provided an aside of chaos to the evening.

Ukephoric is available from  www.londonukefestival.com along with other festival memorabilia.  Ukeylove also run a number of open mic nights around London – www.ukeylove.com

All photographs by Dylan Walker (check out his A to Z of singer songwriters project).