Welcome to Ukulele Bedford
We are a community ukulele group based (oddly enough!) around the Bedford area. We meet weekly at The Kings Arms (24 St Mary’s Street, Bedford MK42 OAS) on Wednesdays at 7.30pm. On occasion, we 'play out' for charity events. We are always delighted to see new members - so come along one evening and give it a try!
Always wanted to play an instrument? Try the ukulele! We welcome anyone, with any level of experience or expertise.
Just learning? Come on in. Been playing for years? Welcome - we'd love to benefit from your talents.
All you need is enthusiasm - we can even lend you a ukulele for the evening!
The short answer to that is "Anything the members of the group want to!". From 1930's tin-pan alley to jazz standards. From 60's novelty pop to 90's rock to last year's hits. Admittedly, when we try them we find that some things work better than others on massed ukuleles - but just trying to play the seemingly unsuitable can be great fun. And sometimes surprisingly successful.
Members old and new are always encouraged to select songs they'd like to try playing.
From the last meeting:
"Among our 22 last night, we welcomed a new David and a new Nick (bearing flyers for the ever-excellent Ukes4Unicef gig in Berkhamsted on 23rd Feb. I’ll be there), as well as the return of Lisa after a long absence. With Marion’s list we were firing on all cylinders – tuned, smooth and raring to go. Sometimes having a list of familiar songs really does let us relax into our comfort zone. Musically, the only low (but still funny) point was my hurried tribute song to the late Gordon Banks. It was fine until the key changes, but perhaps Back Home, the England World Cup Squad team song that topped the charts for three weeks in May 1970, showed why Mr Banks will be remembered for his goalkeeping prowess rather than his music.
Next week, we have a double treat: open mic at 7pm, followed by our first foray into BrungStrum5.0 (see below for more about the new book). We could still do with a playlist from other books, so don’t be shy in sending through a list of a dozen or so song titles. They can be themed (Marion neatly did Valentine’s Day for us last night) or just songs you like or want to hear. We’ll work our way through some or all of the A’s from Brungstrum5.0, so if you want to practice, start with Abracadabra and head towards Ashes to Ashes.
We have also been asked if we’d like to play Moggerhanger’s KingStock Festival on 10th August. This has been running for 10 years, so must have something going for it. It’s a proper do, with stage, sound engineers and everything. I am very much inclined towards saying yes, even if we have a short set. If you agree, let Jon and me know and we’ll make sure we are booked in.
Now, BrungStrum5.0 is here! You will need to download the whole file from our website here: http://ukulelebedford.co.uk/files/Brungstrum5.pdf At around 13Mb, it’s bit large for many inboxes and I don’t want to clog yours up.
A few things about the new book. First, remember that the music here is your choice, and music missing was also your choice not to include as well. There are some great songs in here, some that we may find work better at home than in company, and perhaps a few that just won’t behave at all, but overall I think you can give yourselves a pat on the back for having good taste.
There are three-chorders and others with more chords than we have fingers. We’ll try them all and find out how they play. They are either in the key supplied or one that I could find other uke groups playing. Again, we’ll find out how these work for us.
Secondly, this is version 5.0. We’ll see how quickly we get through the songs, but the intention is that there will be a master copy that we will amend as we go and we will produce a version 5.1 within a few months. Those changes could be anything from adding missing chord boxes or reformatting songs where the type is too tiny for most people, to separating a song into parts for harmonies or changing keys. For technical reasons, links from the contents page to the songs and back don’t work, but we will add them in version 5.1. If you know your alphabet, you should be able to find your way around.
Thirdly, if the thought of learning over 110 new songs is more daunting than exciting, don’t worry. We’ll pace the introduction of new songs so that none of us gets overwhelmed.
Fourthly, if you supplied material for this book, thank you. You will almost certainly have an idea of how the song goes and you may have practised it thoroughly, perhaps for open mic. That’s great and we will draw on your experience as much as we can. But please don’t be too wedded to your solo kitchen-sink effort. Something magical may happen to the song when the whole group is giving it a go. Also, don’t be too disheartened if your chosen song just doesn’t work with the group. It’s a mystery to me why some songs don’t work and others do. Just accept it and move on. It’s nothing personal.
Fifthly, the YouTube links in the back of the book may not always take you to the official video or the one you were expecting (Stereophonics instead of Rod Stewart, for example), but for now they will be the versions we will base our attempts on.
And finally, I want to thank everyone who has contributed either directly by finding and sending me songs, but also the wider ukulele community for posting so much good stuff online. You will see pages here from Richard G (Scorpex), NUG, Bytown Ukelele Group, UkeHoot, OzBoz, Morristown Uke Jam, Snukes, UkeHunt, Gloucester Ukes, BURP and possibly others. We couldn’t have made such a fine selection without them. Now, let’s get on and play.
PS If you wonder where the term BrungStrum comes from, these books started when we asked people to bring paper copies of songs on particular sessions. The idea was simply that you Strummed Wot You Brung, akin to dragracers who “Run Wot You Brung”. We have more songs now but use less paper."
Regular meeting: Every Wednesday at: The Kings Arms (24 St Mary’s Street, Bedford MK42 OAS)
7.30pm - 10pm.
All very welcome.