Uke Tunes

Uke-ifying my favourite songs


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Twentytwo – Sunflower Bean

So here we with the second gig-inspired song in the last couple of months. Earlier this week I had the pleasure of spending a lovely evening with my daughter at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, in the company of New York band Sunflower Bean.

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Four months ago Sunflower Bean meant nothing to me. Since then, thanks to finally taking the plunge with a Spotify subscription (other streaming platforms are available), I’ve managed to catch-up on more new music than I’ve probably done in the last five years. And The Bean (as nobody calls them!) are one of my favourites. Whilst the band can certainly rock the house (new single Come For Me being a good example), one of the things that I love about the band is that they certainly don’t stick to a tried and tested formula. Indie in the original meaning of the word, the parent album for this song (Twentytwo in Blue) has moments of stomping Glam rock, Velvets-flavoured Garage rock, west-coast soft rock, dreamy psychedelics and shoe-gaze. And yet doesn’t come across as the stylistic ragbag that may suggest – there is a unified vision at the heart of the band that is all their own, and that gives them their own, unique identify.

Twentytwo is – I guess – the title track of the album. A twenty-something perspective on growing up and coming of age, the song packs a powerful combination of melancholy and defiance that has echoes Fleetwood Mac and the darker moments in the Abba catalogue. Luxurious and nostalgic, this is the sound of a band who know there mind and will follow the muse wherever it will take them.

And so to the song sheet. Nothing too clever or tricky here. This is a great song to belt out, but needs some textures and contrasts to bring it alive. Note that the song sheet is for the full version from the album – the video above is an edited version of the song that loses a verse and a few other nips and tucks. Enjoy!

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Southampton Ukulele Jam – The Documentary

Southampton Ukulele Jam is my “home” ukulele group. And a couple of years ago work we launched a kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about the group. That premiered in a local cinema last year, and now that documentary is launched onto an unsuspecting world.

The film, by by first-time filmmaker Amy Lupin, features live and archive footage and interviews, and looks at how and why over 100 people come together every fortnight to play the ukulele together.

Meeting every fortnight at The 1865, Southampton Ukulele Jam is free and open to anyone. The jam also play at events most weekends, raising money for charity and supporting community initiatives. They tend to steer away from traditional ukulele music, preferring instead tunes ranging from The Ramones to Lady Gaga delivered with a chaotic sense of fun that emphasises enthusiasm over ability. You can contact SUJ via their website southamptonukulelejam.co.uk/.

Watch the documentary here.