The Covid-19 lockdown in Melbourne is now easing and soon many activities will begin again. While this will be great for community groups, we at Bayside Ukes think that there is a need to proceed with caution before starting back at the Hampton Community Centre due to the increased hazard of contracting Covid-19 from the mechanics of group singing. There is a higher risk of contracting the virus in an enclosed space.
For those who are unaware of these health risks, the following video gives detailed health and scientific advice from experts with regard to group singing in an Australian context. This information is also applicable to anyone singing in a group during this pandemic. The video takes about an hour but it is worth viewing for health and safety reasons.
The main recommendation is that singing groups should not get together inside until there have been no new local cases of Covid-19 for at least one month. Bayside Ukes will be following the advice of these experts and we look forward to such a time when we will be able to play together in the real world.
We will update the calendar on this blog before we resume our sessions depending on the rate of transmission of the virus in Melbourne.
In the meantime, here is a fun video by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain of Kraftwerk’s The Model (RIP Florian Schneider).
Stay safe and keep on strumming.
Tomorrow Australians and New Zealanders remember our service men and women on Anzac Day. This year it will be very strange without the usual marches and dawn ceremonies held in our countries and at war memorials overseas, but these are challenging times.
With everyone under Pandemic lockdown we are being encouraged to commemorate the dawn service in our driveways this year. Those who are able to play brass instruments are being asked to perform the Last Post for their neighbours. Here is a link to the ABC News website which gives ideas on how to participate in this historic event from your home.
While the ukulele is not suitable for the Last Post, you can still play some songs for the occasion in your home or backyard later in the day and have a sing-a-long with your family or house mates. This website has suggestions in previous posts about war songs made for past Anzac or Remembrance Day commemorations. Just look in the archives for posts in April or November.
One of the most powerful Australian songs about war is Redgum’s I Was Only 19, which is about an Australian soldier’s experiences in the Vietnam War. If you have never heard this song before, the following video features Redgum’s original version played over contemporary war footage of the Australian troops in Vietnam.
I have been unable to find a ukulele cover but here is a link to the ukulele chords, so you can play this song tomorrow.
I Was Only 19
However you commemorate the day, wishing everyone a safe Anzac Day.
Keep on Strumming,
In these days of covid-19 songs played on the ukulele can help us cope with the unfamiliar practice of social distancing. It is fun to find those with a related theme and here are a couple of my favourites.
A good up-tempo song is The Police’s Don’t Stand So Close to Me. Here is link to the music which is followed by a video of the Police’s version. You will need to allow for the instrumental interlude.
Don’t Stand So Close to Me
Here’s another 80s hit, So Far Away by Dire Straits with the accompanying music for you to enjoy. This one is a bit harder with the riff.
So Far Away
The song music links in this post are in different keys from the original versions, so you won’t be able to play along with the videos, which are included to demonstrate the arrangements of these songs (and because they are so good). You might have to practice for a while to get the right feel, but I’m sure that you are all up for the challenge.
Have fun, stay well and keep on strumming.
Bayside Ukes regret to announce that, given the seriousness of the Covid-19 virus Emergency in Victoria, we will not be running sessions until further notice, out of respect for the health of our older members and those with chronic health conditions.
This has been a difficult decision, but we are not the only ukulele group in Melbourne to take this step and it will be hard on us all to temporarily give up our group sessions, which we really enjoy.
We must not let this get us down and everyone should carry on with ukulele practice at home to stay sane during this crisis. With that in mind here is a fun ukulele play-along challenge to help you stay strong and give that virus the boot!
If you find some of these chords difficult try to search for an easier version through google.
I will continue with this blog to share any ukulele songs and tips.
Wishing everyone in the ukulele community the very best and hope you all stay well.
Keep on Strumming.
Melbourne and the Yarra River
From March 6 -9 the Moomba Festival is held in Melbourne. It is Australia’s largest free festival, with all kinds of events held around the Yarra River and the Moomba Parade on the final Monday (9 March). This occurs on the second Monday in March which is also the Labour Day public holiday in Victoria and commemorates the introduction of the eight hour day for workers.
This festival is all about getting together and having fun and what better way than to have fun with you ukulele and celebrate by playing songs about workers. Here are a few good examples.
The Beatles A Hard Days Night is a classic of this genre. This ukulele version by Neil Starr does the song justice with some great vocals.
The following is Uke Boy’s version of Sheena Easton’s Morning Train. Such a beautiful melody that is just made for the ukulele.
If work is getting you down Fifth Harmony’s Work From Home is wonderfully escapist. Enjoy this lovely ukulele version by EMAYLA.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s seventies hit, Taking Care of Business has been given a fun twist on ukulele and unicycle by C J Hoyle. Would love to see this in the Moomba Parade.
There are other great working songs that I could not find a ukulele version on You Tube, such as Roy Orbison’s Working for The Man or Australian band Cold Chisel’s Working Class Man, but I’m sure that you would be able to find online music for many working songs that are suitable for the ukulele.
The ukulele as an instrument of the people is just made for such material. It is a great way to bring joy to your working day and makes every day a festival.
Happy Labour Day!
Next week (Tuesday 28 January) Bayside Ukes sessions begin for 2020 from 7 PM at the Hampton Community Centre. It will be great to get together again to play our ukuleles and sing.
Now is the time to brush up on the songs we did last year and be ready to tackle some new material.
There is nothing like a bit of ukulele madness to make you feel good so come along. We look forward to welcoming any new members. (For more information see our About page).
Bayside Ukes has finished its sessions for 2019 after a great year of festivals and fun. Everyone has worked really hard to make our group performances enjoyable for all.
Now the weather is starting to warm up, many of our members will be preparing for the holiday season in sunny Melbourne or are off to far away places, hopefully with their trusty ukuleles.
We’ll be back in 2020 for more ukulele fun.
Where every you may be, whether it is beside a fire or on a beach, everyone at Bayside Ukes wishes you a very happy festive season, full of ukulele joy.
I found this recent video by guitarist and ukulele player, Johannes Linstead performing his song Tropical Christmas. It was filmed in the beautiful Dominican Republic which reminds me of the islands of Northern Australia. Nothing like spending your holidays on a tropical island to inspire you to play the ukulele.
Bayside Ukes members had a wonderful time performing at the Sandy Village Festival last Sunday. Despite the slight drizzle, the audience seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Thank you to everyone in the group for their hard work. Another big thank you to our terrific audience and to all the group members, family and friends who came to see our performance.
Finally we would like to thank the Sandringham Village Traders for including us in their music line-up. Bayside Ukes really appreciates their support and we are glad to be a part of such a great festival.
Below are a couple of videos from our performance. More can be found on Bayside Ukes You Tube channel by clicking here.
Bayside Ukes members are all excited to be invited back for this years Sandringham Village Festival on Sunday, 27 October. We have been busy rehearsing and have some new songs to add to our repertoire.
This year we will be supported by our fantastic drummer, George and have a guest bass player, Anton.
Come and support the Sandy Village Traders and join in the fun and activities from 10am till 4pm. Entertainment will continue in Melrose Street until 5pm. You can check out Bayside Ukes on the main stage. We look forward to seeing you there.
Finally spring has arrived, the sun is shining and it’s a glorious Melbourne day. Not a moment too soon for those who have been flagging with ukulele practice due to winter ailments or in the cold weather have lacked the motivation to pick up their ukes. Now it’s time to shrug off that winter malaise and become inspired.
For those who find it difficult to get motivated here are some suggestions that I find useful.
Have a goal. There might be a song you have always wanted to learn to play. Look around on the Internet for a version that suits your skill level or challenge yourself with a song arrangement that extends your playing style. Your goal might be to learn a new technique so look on You Tube for a lesson that you can immediately undertake to spur you along.
If you don’t already belong to a local ukulele group joining one will give you incentive to practice. There’s nothing like other enthusiastic players to keep up you interested with lots of new songs and playing tips. Belonging to a group may also give you the opportunity to perform which is a great way to stay motivated.
Attending ukulele festivals will also give you a buzz even if you don’t perform. Spring is the time when these start to appear on the calendar. Most places have their own unique ukulele festival (see our links page for ukulele festivals in Australia). At these events you can do workshops, see lots of great performances, view all types of ukulele related products and find plenty of inspiration.
One thing to keep you motivated is to remember that you don’t need to have perfect technique to be a ukulele player. It is more important to play the ukulele no matter what your skill level especially when you are feeling down in the dumps, as it will make you feel so much better.
So what are you waiting for? Just play it!
A song for inspiration: Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now covered by Natalie Gelman