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
The Ukulele Death Squad show their musical versatility performing a rip-roaring song with ukuleles, fiddle and flute. The festival crowd really seem to be enjoying themselves as they dance and sing along to the music.
Melbourne’s wonderful David Bowie Ukulele Tribute Band, The Thin White Ukes performed at the recent Port Fairy Folk Festival and have featured in a story on the ABC News with a great video of them doing Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes live. Here is the link.
Adelaide’s Ukulele Death Squad have come up with another great original song titled Not Afraid. This one will get your feet tapping like crazy.
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.
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 ukulele can take you on all kinds of musical journeys. Melbourne Indie Duo Charm of Finches (sisters Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes) use the ukulele to great effect in their hauntingly beautiful song Sky Watching. The video was filmed in Victoria’s picturesque Otway National Park amongst the tree ferns and towering native trees and has a romantic yet strange ghostly feeling in a place where you might see spectres from a bygone era.