The Holiday Season in Melbourne is nearly upon us. It might be beach weather but there’s no shortage of snow related decorations and evergreen pine trees in people’s homes.
While it is summer here, Australians still love to sing and play winter songs on the ukulele. An old favourite is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, probably because it tells a fun story that we all loved to hear as children. It is also easy to play on the ukulele and for those who want a simple version, the following lesson by the talented Elise Ecklund is a good one.
However for those who prefer very silly lyrics you could also substitute the original with the lyrics of Robert the Red Nosed Reindeer by Aussie legends Bucko and Champs of Aussie Jingle Bells fame. It’s probably not suitable for little children so save it till later when the adults need a laugh.
If you want to go down a really controversial path and risk insulting some of your relatives at family celebrations, there’s always Bucko and Champs Completely Useless Gifts to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. But maybe don’t play this if you want to see them again next holiday season.
Whatever you play on your ukulele have a Wonderful Festive Season and a very Happy New Year.
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’sDon’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.
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.
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 BeatlesA 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’sMorning Train. Such a beautiful melody that is just made for the ukulele.
If work is getting you down Fifth Harmony’sWork 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’sWorking for The Man or Australian band Cold Chisel’sWorking 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.
Only two weeks until the Hills Ukulele Festival in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. As you can see, Bayside Ukes is amongst some great company on the above poster.
Those of us in Bayside Ukes, who are taking part, have been practicing hard and we will be playing some fun songs to get everyone’s feet tapping. Our set is on Sunday, May 19 at 11 am on the main stage.
The following flyer gives the location and some of the activities to found at the festival.
There will be lots of ukulele performers and it should be a very enjoyable weekend’s entertainment. For bookings and other information go to the HUF website.
It is finally autumn in Melbourne after a long, long summer and the hottest March on record. Time for some ukulele songs that reflect summer’s passing. The following were all performed in Australia.
Probably the most famous song for this time of the year is Autumn Leaves. Here is a Jazzy version sung by Misty Henderson accompanied by ukulele and band at Uke Mullum in the northern NSW town of Mullumbimby.
A wonderful rock song with an Autumn theme and references to Lord of the Rings is Led Zeppelin’sRamble On. Hope you enjoy this fun and gutsy version by Adelaide group, The Wheatsheaf Ukulele Collective.
Finally, one of the most beautiful Autumn songs is Harvest Moon by Neil Young. This delightful version is performed by Californian Dani Joy overlooking Sydney Harbour on a lovely day in May. Hard to believe it is Autumn in some parts of Australia.
Whether it’s Autumn or Spring where you are, it is fun to play songs that reflect the seasons. I’m sure you have your favourites.
An exciting ukulele band from Grenoble, France, The Big Ukulele Syndicate, fill their performances with movement, fun and fantastic ukulele playing. Check out the following video and you will get the picture. They are so entertaining.
Their facebook page is in French, but here is the link for those who can read the language.
On Tuesday, January 29 at 7 pm, Bayside Ukes are back at the Hampton Community Centre.
As we head into our sixth year we plan to include some new and exciting songs that will sound great on the ukulele and will enhance everyone’s playing and singing skills.
This year there will also be plenty of opportunities for those who are raring to get out and perform with the group.
We are lucky enough to have many dedicated members, some of who play more than one instrument and are happy to share their knowledge with newcomers.
To get the most out of our sessions, we recommend that absolute beginners have some lessons before joining the group. Also see our Links page for online lessons. Beginners who can already play some basic ukulele chords will benefit greatly from playing with more experienced players and should improve quickly with our help.
We are a friendly bunch so don’t be afraid to come along and join us. It’s cheaper than a pint of beer or a glass of good wine and much more fun.
For more information on our sessions see the About section in the above menu.
Bayside Ukes has finished its sessions for the year. We’ve had a great year with several performances, the most memorable being the Sandy Village Festival in October.
A big thank you to all our members for making 2018 such a wonderful, fun year. Your enthusiasm for the ukulele is what it is all about.
Thank you also to all those who have supported this blog. It’s great to have an audience of fellow Ukulele lovers.
Just for fun here are a couple of festive songs that are just made for the ukulele. The first is performed by the fabulous Memphis Ukulele Band. The chords can be found on the Doctor Uke website. The second, being typically Aussie, is just plain silly. For a link to the ukulele chords click here.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday with lots of ukulele joy.
Here in Melbourne it is late autumn and the temperature has plummeted after a relatively warm start to the season. When the weather turns cold it is fun to play songs on your ukulele that remind you of summer and generate some heat. There are many terrific songs in this category that sound wonderful on the ukulele and the following is a small selection to inspire other ukulele players.
The Doors song Light My Fire just requires a simple rhythm and some soulful singing to take away the cold. The following performance by Jesus Pinedo and Chyrisse Tabone is a good example.
Bring back the memories of those hot summer nights with a lively rendition of The Loving Spoonful’sSummer in the City like in the following video.
A classic song about the hot days of summer is Heat Wave made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the film There’s No Business Like Show Business.Ukester Brown demonstrates how it is done on the ukulele during a very cold winter.
Of course there is that other famous Heat Wave song. The Ukelites do a very cool version.
Another fantastic song to get rid of the wintry chills is Elvis Presley’sBurning Love, here played by the Ukulele Turin Orchestra in a beautiful location.
The cold months are a good time to stay cosy and to play your ukulele. And if it is coming up to summer where you are, play your ukulele outside and enjoy the warmth while it lasts.