Hot Ukulele Songs for Wintry Weather

fire-2828309_960_720

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’s Summer 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’s Burning 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.

Happy strumming,

Kat, Bayside Ukes member

Advertisements

Songs about War on Ukulele

In Australia and New Zealand it is Anzac Day on 25 April and in 2018 we will be remembering the final year of WWI, as well as later conflicts. This year it is the one hundredth anniversary of the battle at Villers-Bretonneux where the Australians had a major victory after so much loss and there will be commemorations at the Australian National Memorial on that site in France on April 25. At these times singing songs is an appropriate way to remember such events. The following songs about war sound great on the ukulele, whether they are about the sad or happier times.

One of the most powerful war songs is The Band played Waltzing Matilda written by Scottish Aussie, Eric Bogle in 1971. It’s about the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 but could be about the horror of any war and that is why it has become so popular in other countries. Silly Dave does a good version. And by the way, matilda is the swag or the bed roll carried by a swagman on his journeys and not a woman.

A song that was popular with the troops in France during WWI was Mademoiselle from Armentieres. It is probably one of those songs where soldiers kept making up humorous verses to suit the occasion. Some were quite risqué and many were in protest to the awful conditions or the behaviour of superior officers. Here is an amusing example.

By WWII the radio played an important part in keeping up the soldiers’ morale. One of the happiest songs was Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy sung by the Andrews Sisters. The Rocky Mountain Ukulele Orchestra Trio did a lively version with nice harmonies in 2013.

During the Vietnam War there were many great songs written about war. One that captures the mood of the 60s is Eve of Destruction, performed by Barry McGuire in 1965. Sadly the words are still relevant today. Ken Middleton did a terrific version at Martha’s Vineyard Uke Fest in 2015.

There are many war songs from different periods to choose from if you want to have a sing-along on Anzac Day and this is just a selection.

Happy Anzac Day!

Kat, Bayside Ukes Member

All Summer Long

ukulele ladiesIt’s still summer here in Melbourne and in places where it is winter, you have the summer to look forward to.

I wrote the following poem to remind everyone to make the most of it while you can, with your ukulele of course.

All Summer Long

Ukulele Lady, Rock-A-Hula Baby

On the Beach, Just Out of Reach

Of Big Boss Man, Get it While You Can

Let the Good Times Roll, Heart Full of Soul

Down by the Seaside, Roll with the Tide

Sea and Sand, Listen to the Band

Party all the Time, Come Rain, Come Shine

Crazy, Maybe, Blame it on a Ukulele

Play that Song, All Summer Long

Kat  (Apologies to all the song writers)

Bayside Ukes is Back for 2018!

new-year-2841115_960_720

Bayside Ukes is raring to go in 2018. Hope all our members have had a great summer break and are looking forward to some more ukulele fun.

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday, January 30) our sessions will recommence at the Hampton Community Centre from 7.00 pm. New members are very welcome or if you are visiting our town just pop in.

Hope to see you all there.

Kat, Bayside Ukes Member.

Seasons Greetings from Bayside Ukes

DSCN3617

Bayside Ukes has had a great year. We finished the last term with Performance Night playing some great group songs that we had been working on for a while. Well done everyone.

Thanks to everyone who did solos for our entertainment. It was wonderful to hear the contributions of songwriters and some new covers.

The performances were followed by drinks, snacks and lively conversation.

We look forward to more fun times in 2018, whether you are an old hand or fairly new to the ukulele.

Wishing our members and readers a very Happy Festive Season and New Year.

Kat, Bayside Ukes Member

Here’s the wonderful Taimane Gardner and Jazzy Jazz with a festive tune to get you in the mood

The Lows and Highs of G

Version 5

Often when you have two or several ukuleles there is one that you play more than the others. It’s your favorite and it just feels and sounds wonderful. So how do you bring back the passion for your other ukes if they are being neglected?

To make the most of your collection it can simply be a matter of increasing your repertoire and playing the right song for the right uke. Some music sounds better when played on a particular size or type of ukulele (eg resonator or banjolele). But if, like me, you have two ukuleles of the same size and a similar type this won’t make much difference.

I have two concert ukes. I bought the second one because I love the feel and the sound it makes and the size suits me. It is so playable that I was not using my other concert ukulele, which seemed a complete waste. A couple of other members of our group have low G strings on their ukuleles which can give more of a bass sound to a song. So I replaced the high G string on my first use with one of the Aquila Red Series low G strings and it sounds completely different. It’s also great to play with a felt pick, especially on the “boom Dit-ty strum” (see earlier post) and makes the uke more resonant.

The low G works particularly well on a Tenor sized ukulele but you can even put one on a soprano uke. You will have a deeper sound while still playing the chords for the GCEA tuning. A Tenor ukulele with a low G is a great alternative to buying a larger baritone ukulele, especially if you find the fingering too difficult with the change of chord structure necessary for the DGBE tuning.

Have a look on You Tube as there are many videos with a comparison of low and high G strings, as well as reviews for wound and unwound strings.

Now I can switch between ukes depending on the song and am enjoying playing both my ukuleles. So if you feel you have been neglecting one of your ukes, try a low G for a change of sound and some renewed enthusiasm.

Kat

Ukulele Accessories

dscn4031

There are a great many accessories available to go with the ukulele and enhance your playing.  The Ukulele Hunt website has reviews of many of the types available, so I thought I would just write about what I found to be useful and why.  This may give others some idea of what accessories would suit them.

In a previous post I talked about the types of straps that I prefer so I won’t go into these accessories.  Probably the main accessory that is essential is a tuner.  My two ukuleles have built-in tuners that are really good, but I do keep a Snark clip-on tuner on hand in case of battery failure.  The Snark is easy to use and is not affected by any surrounding noise because it works by detecting vibrations.  These are small tuners and don’t take up much room in your bag or uke case.  There is only one problem.  As I have mentioned before puppies and young dogs will eat them if given half the chance, so beware.  A Snark is not a dog snack.

When playing on your own it is good to have a capo to change the key without changing your fingering.  Although I like to be able to play a song is several keys, sometimes I can’t find exactly the right key to suit my voice without using one that is just too hard for me to play and sing at the same time.  This is when a capo is really useful.  I have one of the Jim Dunlop clip on ones for ukulele and it is quick and easy to fit to the fret board.

Sometimes I like to use a pick.  There are various types of these available for the ukulele.  I have some felt and leather ones.  I know that you should not use hard plastic picks because these can gouge in the ukulele body and the strings.  They also make an irritating clicking sound.  The felt ones for ukulele make the least noise but they are rather thick and large, so I used a guitar pick and traced around this on a felt pick with a ballpoint pen and then cut it down to size.  I found this easier to control when playing and it is less likely to catch between the strings.  The leather ones, while quite large, are thinner and more like a guitar pick so are easy to use and are good if you want a crisper sound.

Ukulele stands are useful, especially if you have more than one ukulele.  I have a small folding one.  If I have only one ukulele with me, I usually rest it in a chair when I’m not playing.  With this type of stand you do need to be careful that the uke is balanced correctly or it can topple over, which defeats its purpose.  My ukes are concert sized and if you have a larger sized uke you would definitely need a bigger stand.

A non-essential accessory that is great fun is a finger shaker.  You slide it on one of the fingers on your strumming hand and it shakes to the rhythm as you play.  This works really well on fast songs.

Another great thing to have is a kazoo.  When there is a brass section in a song this makes a fun substitute.  And if your kazoo goes soggy and won’t work, replace the insert with a piece of tissue paper or use the transparent window material of an old envelope.  It is also a good idea to hang the kazoo from a cord around your neck then you can spit it out when playing and it’s time to sing again without hitting someone.

I have found all of the above accessories to be worthwhile purchases, but do check out what is available.  You might find something that you like better.

Happy strumming.

Kat,     Bayside Ukes member