Classic Songs for Peace to Play on your Ukulele

We are now living in very uncertain times and it is difficult not to feel helpless and distressed by the terrible conflict that has erupted in Ukraine. For most of us playing the ukulele has always been an escape from our day to day troubles because it makes us feel better. However in difficult times we sometimes need to confront these harsh realities. The ukulele has always been an instrument for the people, not for politicians, and is at its most powerful when used to give comfort and hope.

A single human voice paired with a ukulele can be a simple and effective tool to convey the message of a Peace or Anti-War song, whether sung alone, with friends or in public. Many of these songs that were written in the mid twentieth century have stood the test of time and are simple to play on the ukulele.

The following examples are just a small selection that I was able to find on YouTube, each performed by a dedicated ukulele player. They are well known songs with easily available chord music that can be found online. Look for a version that suits your playing ability or challenge yourself to find a more difficult example.

Firstly is Pete Seeger’s classic Where Have All The Flowers Gone written in 1955 performed by Ms McBride.

Secondly Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall from 1962 performed by Boozelele.

Thirdly is One Tin Soldier by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter originally performed by Canadian Pop Group The Original Caste in 1969 and played by Kelly Deacon.

Finally we have Yusuf/Cat Steven’s 1971 Peace Train performed by Stephen Norwood and Justin.

Of course there are many more recent anti-war songs that you might prefer to play but these are a good start and all have a universal message that is still relevant and needed today. Let us all use our voices and instruments to try and make a difference no matter how small.

Keep playing your ukuleles.

Peace, Kat.

Holiday Fun On The Ukulele: Seasonal Songs with Silly Alternative Lyrics

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. 

Rudolph

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.

Keep on Strumming,

Kat

Bayside Ukes: Changes for 2022

Due to the difficulties of running a Ukulele Group during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Bayside Ukes will no longer be run as a public group at the Hampton Community Centre.

Thank you to everyone who has come to these sessions over the years and made them so much fun.

This website will continue to celebrate ukulele music.

Keep on strumming,

Kat

Here is the wonderful Ukulele Death Squad with a live performance, something we have been missing in Melbourne with our endless lockdowns.

Bayside Ukes Sessions Update

Due to the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout Bayside Ukes has decided to cease our sessions at the Hampton Community Centre from Term 2 until the beginning of 2022 when most people will have been vaccinated.

We encourage everyone to keep playing your ukuleles and hope you all stay well.

Bayside Ukes COVID-19 Update

Covid-19 restrictions were eased for everyone in Victoria on the 26th of February 2021.  

The main one for ukulele groups is that people do not need to wear a mask while singing as long as they are socially distanced.  For Bayside Ukes members this means that you can sing as long as you are seated two metres apart and in rows facing the same direction.

You still may wear a mask if you wish.

Members also need to bring their own songbooks and music stand as we will be socially distanced.

All the other measures listed in the previous post remain the same.

Keep on strumming.

Kat

Bayside Ukes: Back for 2021

Bayside Ukes is back next Tuesday, February 9, from 7 to 9.30 PM at the Hampton Community Centre to resume our regular sessions for 2021. We hope that all our members are ready to enjoy real life playing again.

Under our strong Covid-Safe plan, based on State Government rules and recommendations, only 21 people at a time will be able to attend a session in the HCC Main Hall. Participation is only available to members of Bayside Ukes and not casual visitors. 

If you wish to join our group you will need to become a 2021 member of the Hampton Community Centre for insurance purposes. Please contact Bayside Ukes via email for details of membership. See right menu for our email address.

Due to the restrictions on the number of attendees, members must book their place each week via email, on a first come, first served basis.

When attending a session, everyone must wear a mask indoors at all times and maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres.

On entry to the HCC participants must register their details for contact tracing using the Centres QR code. If you don’t have a smartphone, make sure you have your own pen to sign in manually.

Seating will be spaced following government guidelines.

Everyone will need their own copies of our two song books (see menu above) and a music stand, as there will be no sharing of music and equipment. Also no-one may play any wind instruments.

During a song only five members at a time will be allowed to sing and must keep on their masks. We will take turns at singing.

There will be no sharing of food and drink. Please bring your own water bottle.

Cleaning procedures will be mandatory for all attendees.

Do not attend a session if you are unwell.

All the above Covid-Safe measures are for everyone’s protection. We want our members to have an enjoyable experience playing together while staying healthy. 

We look forward to a time when these steps will no longer be necessary. In the meantime we will do our best to make our sessions as fun as possible.

Keep on strumming,

Kat

UKULELE (COVID) NORMAL: BRING ON 2021

Most of the lockdown restrictions have finally eased in Melbourne this week. We have reached the Covid Normal status that everyone was hoping for until a vaccine is readily available here in Oz. Let’s hope it stays this way. We still need to carry and wear face masks when necessary, but summer is here and now everything is looking much brighter.

Bayside Ukes will resume sessions for regular members in 2021 when the Hampton Community Centre will reopen. We will have a Covid-Safe plan as per health regulations to keep everyone safe.

Now is the time to enjoy our well earned holidays, whether staying at home or visiting parts of our beautiful country. Don’t forget to play your ukuleles whereever you may be this summer.

If you are under lockdown in the Northern Hemisphere, take heart from us Melbournians. We got through it and so will you. Our ukulele Zoom sessions were a big help, thanks to the good humour and contributions of all our wonderful members, who kept Bayside Ukes running through difficult times. Keep playing your ukuleles. It makes a difference.

Wishing everyone a Very Happy Festive Season and let’s hope that 2021 brings Peace and Joy to all.

Stay safe and keep strumming,

Kat

Here’s the fun Aussie Christmas Song by Robin Bates full of cliches, Melbourne sporting references and Aussie humour about the silly season down under. It would sound good on ukulele.

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

Anzac Day Under Lockdown: There is always Your Ukulele

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Tomorrow Australians and New Zealanders remember our service men and women on Anzac Day. This year it will be very strange without the usual marches and dawn ceremonies held in our countries and at war memorials overseas, but these are challenging times.

With everyone under Pandemic lockdown we are being encouraged to commemorate the dawn service in our driveways this year.  Those who are able to play brass instruments are being asked to perform the Last Post for their neighbours. Here is a link to the ABC News website which gives ideas on how to participate in this historic event from your home.

While the ukulele is not suitable for the Last Post, you can still play some songs for the occasion in your home or backyard later in the day and have a sing-a-long with your family or house mates. This website has suggestions in previous posts about war songs made for past Anzac or Remembrance Day commemorations. Just look in the archives for posts in April or November.

One of the most powerful Australian songs about war is Redgum’s I Was Only 19, which is about an Australian soldier’s experiences in the Vietnam War. If you have never heard this song before, the following video features Redgum’s original version played over contemporary war footage of the Australian troops in Vietnam.

I have been unable to find a ukulele cover but here is a link to the ukulele chords, so you can play this song tomorrow.

I Was Only 19

However you commemorate the day, wishing everyone a safe Anzac Day.

Keep on Strumming,

Kat

We Will Survive: Ukulele Play-Along Song

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Bayside Ukes regret to announce that, given the seriousness of the Covid-19 virus Emergency in Victoria, we will not be running sessions until further notice, out of respect for the health of our older members and those with chronic health conditions.

This has been a difficult decision, but we are not the only ukulele group in Melbourne to take this step and it will be hard on us all to temporarily give up our group sessions, which we really enjoy.

We must not let this get us down and everyone should carry on with ukulele practice at home to stay sane during this crisis. With that in mind here is a fun ukulele play-along challenge to help you stay strong and give that virus the boot!

If you find some of these chords difficult try to search for an easier version through google.

I will continue with this blog to share any ukulele songs and tips.

Wishing everyone in the ukulele community the very best and hope you all stay well.

Keep on Strumming.

Kat