We are now living in very uncertain times and it is difficult not to feel helpless and distressed by the terrible conflict that has erupted in Ukraine. For most of us playing the ukulele has always been an escape from our day to day troubles because it makes us feel better. However in difficult times we sometimes need to confront these harsh realities. The ukulele has always been an instrument for the people, not for politicians, and is at its most powerful when used to give comfort and hope.
A single human voice paired with a ukulele can be a simple and effective tool to convey the message of a Peace or Anti-War song, whether sung alone, with friends or in public. Many of these songs that were written in the mid twentieth century have stood the test of time and are simple to play on the ukulele.
The following examples are just a small selection that I was able to find on YouTube, each performed by a dedicated ukulele player. They are well known songs with easily available chord music that can be found online. Look for a version that suits your playing ability or challenge yourself to find a more difficult example.
Firstly is Pete Seeger’s classic Where Have All The Flowers Gone written in 1955 performed by Ms McBride.
Secondly Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall from 1962 performed by Boozelele.
Thirdly is One Tin Soldier by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter originally performed by Canadian Pop Group The Original Caste in 1969 and played by Kelly Deacon.
Finally we have Yusuf/Cat Steven’s 1971 Peace Train performed by Stephen Norwood and Justin.
Of course there are many more recent anti-war songs that you might prefer to play but these are a good start and all have a universal message that is still relevant and needed today. Let us all use our voices and instruments to try and make a difference no matter how small.
Keep playing your ukuleles.