Chonkin Choons at ukelele open mic

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THE sound of chonkin ukulele tunes will echo through Wigan town centre every Tuesday as a popular band launches its own open mic night.

Three-piece Chonkinfeckle, who perform humorous songs about northern life on ukulele, mouth organ and keyboards, will start their Chonkin Choons-day event at town centre watering hole The Raven next week.

The weekly event will provide a platform for fans of the little four-stringed instruments made famous by George Formby as well as similar instruments such as banjos to perform their own tunes or cover songs.

The open mic nights will be strictly reserved for people playing acoustic or folk instruments, with the band opening proceedings with a few songs before opening the floor to the borough’s talent.

Chonkinfeckle member Tim Cooke said: “We’ve been bandying this idea about for more than 12 months but we were pointed towards The Raven by Stephanie Fry who runs a comedy club there and they’ve really taken it on.

“We want to get people to perform on their own or accompanied by a tape, and we will also provide backing for people.

“There’s lots of ukulele clubs but this is different, this is for anyone who can play a uke or a banjo and wants to perform, even if it’s only a few chords and a couple of songs.

“We want it to be for folk instruments so things like mandolins are fine but it’s not for guitarists. I think there’s enough open mic nights for the guitar and it’s not really about performances of Stairway to Heaven and all that.”

Tim says the band also hopes the open mic nights will prove successful enough to hold a couple of higher profile events each year with grass-roots performers providing support for an established professional act.

He says the idea for Chonkin Choons-day also partly came from the lack of events in Wigan for them to attend when starting out as a band.

He said: “We went to the George Formby Society Westhoughton branch because they had other styles of music and we had a great time. We just wondered why there was nothing like that in Wigan.

“The ukulele is still climbing in popularity at the moment so I think there’s a niche in the market for this and it should be quite good. Hopefully everyone will have a really good time.”

Chonkin Choons-day will take place at The Raven on Wallgate every Tuesday at 7.30pm, with the first event on August 5. Entry is free.

To find out more about the event, visit chonkinfeckle.co.uk or search for Chonkin Choons-day on Facebook.