When can Ukulele Groups Resume Sessions During Covid-19?

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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.

Kat

Bayside Ukes to Play 2019 Sandy Village Festival

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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.

Kat

Hills Ukulele Festival 2019

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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.

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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.

Hope to see you there.

Kat

From the Bay to the Hills

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Bayside Ukes is very busy at the moment getting ready for our spot at the Hills Ukulele Festival on Sunday, May 19. We will be performing on the main stage at 11.00 am and are very excited to have been invited to participate in this wonderful event.

The Hills Ukulele Festival takes place from May 18 & 19 at Emerald, situated in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges which are part of the Greater Melbourne area. For anyone unfamiliar with this precious and scenic area of Victoria the following drone video should give you an idea .

For more information about the Hills Ukulele Festival go to the website by clicking here.

I’m sure many players and fans of the ukulele will greatly enjoy this event and the wonderful setting.  Hope to see you there.

Kat

Happy Holidays from Bayside Ukes

 

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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.

Kat

Bayside Ukes To Play 2018 Sandy Village Festival

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Bayside Ukes will be performing this coming Sunday at the Sandringham Village Festival on the main stage in Melrose Street at 2.00 pm.

This is a great chance for fellow ukers and those planning to take up the ukulele to come and see what we do. It should be great fun and we look forward to meeting other ukulele players.

The festival is run by the Sandy Village Traders to showcase their businesses with stalls, food and entertainment for people of all ages. It is the tenth anniversary of this popular Bayside event and we are glad to be included.

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Bayside Ukes Tuesday sessions are back on after a two-week break so hope to see everyone raring to go for the last term of 2018. We have some fun things in the pipeline.

Finally the weather is warming up after a long, cold, windy Melbourne winter and early spring. Hopefully everyone can rid themselves of the annoying coughs and colds that have plagued so many of us in the colder months and will enjoy playing their ukuleles in the sunshine.

I found this happy ukulele video that should get anyone in a good mood no matter what the weather. It’s called The Ukulele Girls and is by The Little Things who hail from South Florida. They performed their original and upbeat song at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information on this duo click on this link to their Facebook page.

Yes, I must say it is wonderful to be a ukulele girl!

Happy strumming!

Kat

Bayside Ukes is Back for 2018!

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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 Sessions 2017

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Bayside Ukes returns to the Hampton Community Centre on Tuesday, January 31 at 7 pm.

We hope everyone had a great holiday break and that you are all raring to play at our group sessions.  Looking forward to seeing you all there.  New members are always welcome.

Kat  and Zilla,  Bayside Ukes Members

There’s More than One Way to do a Ukulele Song

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.

Kat