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.
Bayside Ukes had a fun day on Sunday performing at the Hills Ukulele Festival, held at the Emerald Primary School in Emerald, Victoria. The weather was perfect, with sunshine and a light mountain breeze. It was a pleasant drive through the hills and lots of people had made the trip to attend the event.
Bayside Ukes members enjoyed performing nine songs on the main stage for an appreciative audience. Thank you to everyone for your hard work with the rehearsals and for your good humour.
The festival was very relaxed and it was enjoyable seeing the other groups who were programmed throughout the day. There was great food and coffee and a ukulele market place that was very popular.
Thank you Dan and Emerald Primary School for hosting a wonderful festival. We had a wonderful time and will definitely put it in our calendar for next year.
If the bustle and stress of city life is getting you down there is nothing like a change of scenery to refresh the spirit, especially were there are multitudes of ukuleles. That’s a good reason to head to the Dandenong Ranges for the Hills Ukulele Festival next weekend.
On Sunday May 19 at 11am Bayside Ukes will be playing on the main stage at Emerald Primary School. For more information see the previous post on this website.
Here’s a song to get you in the mood for a trip to the hills.
We’ll be packing our ukes for the misty mountains, up to hills where the ukulele spirit flies! Come and join us.
Well we did it, and what a fun time we had. It was a beautiful day, with a sea breeze from the nearby Port Phillip Bay. The beach road is directly behind the Stage, hence the rumbling noises in the background of our song videos.
We were really lucky with the fine weather and there was a large audience. They seemed to enjoy our performance for which we are very thankful.
Here are a couple of our videos.
More videos of this day can be viewed on the Bayside Ukes YouTube channel. Just click here.
In a ukulele group there is always a lot of debate about how to do a particular song. Some people think that imitating the original version is the only way to go, while others have their favourite cover version that they like better. Personally, I think that there is no right or wrong way to do a song, but as so many ukulele groups use identical song books and perform the same songs, I believe that a group should do it’s own arrangements. If everyone did things the same way it would be a very boring world.
Coming from a visual art background, I have learnt that it is more creative to develop your own individual form of self-expression. If you painted like Picasso or Monet it would hardly be your own take on the world. The same goes for performing songs. Unless you are a very good impersonator, nobody sounds the same vocally or has the same playing style as the original artist, so why try to replicate that version. Here is where a group needs to forget about the original and play around to find a way that enhances their own sound and gives some room for creativity.
A good example of this is The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s version of Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush. As a man, George Hinchcliffe has hardly the singing style of Kate Bush, yet he does a wonderful jazzy version of her song that suits his voice, uses the unique sound of the ukulele to full advantage and injects it with the personalities of the group’s members. It just shows that a great song allows so many possibilities for interpretation.
A song with a solo vocalist is also going to sound completely different when done by a large number of singers. If everyone sings the same melody together it could sound very monotonous and possibly messy, which will not add anything to the performance. This is where it pays to rearrange the vocals for a group. For instance, when The Langley Ukulele Ensemble did a ukulele take on Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, the male ukulele players sang the main vocal together then combined in harmony with the female players. One member did a ukulele solo, while the others strummed and picked the rhythm. Their performance has great clarity and is very appealing. The arrangement makes the most of the large number of performers and enhances their particular sound.
So experiment with a song. Change it to suit the particular voices in the group, whether male of female. This can include altering the key and tempo, as well as introducing various harmonies. With the ukuleles you can change the rhythm patterns or do combinations of compatible strums, and create fingerpicking parts. The ukulele is never going to sound the same as a guitar so work with its particular feel good tone. Don’t be afraid to leave out solos meant for guitar, or if there is a member who feels confident with these, they can do a ukulele solo. The possibilities are endless.
Of course as you gain experience it becomes easier to do your own arrangements. You can start with something simple, like tempo, whether slowing a song down or speeding it up. The main thing is to have an open mind and a willingness to give it a go. If you have trouble, get together with someone else in the group. Two heads are better than one.
Don’t be stuck in a rut or a slave to convention. Try to be as innovative as you can and stamp a song with your group’s unique personality. It will be that much more enjoyable to play and your audience will thank you.
You’re on the stage, your throat and mouth go dry, you have shortness of breath and a sick feeling in the stomach. You fumble the chords on your ukulele and the audience seems to morph into a scary monster. You don’t have a virus. You have Stage Fright. If you have never experienced this before, don’t panic. It can happen to anyone, even professional musicians.
After a couple of years occasionally playing with a small group, I experienced a sudden attack of stage fright. At a small community event I made the mistake of focusing on a grumpy looking member of the audience and started to imagine that there was something terribly wrong with my performance. This made me really tense and nervous and I found it difficult to concentrate on my playing. At the time I did not consider that the grouchy faced person may have had a bad day or was unwell and it probably had nothing to do with me.
Once it had manifested I found that this type of anxiety kept happening, so I searched for information about coping with the problem on numerous websites. Here are a few strategies that I find helpful, as well as some I worked out for myself:
Thoroughly practice so that you can play a song under pressure because you know it so well. This is the most important factor for a good performance.
Make sure you are well hydrated so that you can produce some saliva to wet your lips and swallow if your mouth and throat become dry and keep a water bottle handy on stage.
Allow time for a good warm-up before a concert and go out there smiling. After the first song it is usually easier to relax. If you do make a mistake through nervousness, don’t stop but keep playing. You don’t need to be perfect for others to enjoy your performance.
If it is obvious that you have forgotten the chords or the words of a song when performing alone or as a lead player in a group, don’t freeze, but laugh or make a joke. Many professional performers use this technique. It diffuses the situation and puts the audience on your side. If this happens when you are with a large group, stop playing, mime and where possible, move behind other players while you get yourself together.
See the audience as benign and friendly. Concentrate on entertaining everyone and ignore any grumpy faces. Many more will be smiling and tapping along. If it helps, you can imagine the audience as happy little furry creatures, like Wombles (Google it) or as anyone else who is non- threatening. Whatever it takes for you to feel comfortable.
Remember to smile and have fun as this is contagious and the feel good aspect of playing the ukulele will prevail.