Swallow Hill will be hosting a Ukulele Festival in a few weeks. As far as I’m aware, it will be Denver’s first. Should be fun. I’m still trying to decide which ticket level I want to purchase, and what I want to practice up for the open stage (if I decide to get up on the open stage).

A couple of weeks earlier, we’ll have the regular Denver area ukulele group meeting at Swallow Hill. I missed the December meeting, at which musical themes were decided for the upcoming year. January’s theme is “Novelty Songs.” That happens to be the type of song that is probably my favorite – I know lots of them. Most, unfortunately, I can sing. As opposed to sing while playing, that is. Singing while playing is a skill I’m working on, complicated by the fact that I don’t know how to play many of the songs I can sing.

In any case, I have a few such I can already perform (such as Their Brains Were Small and They Died, Don’t Pet The Dog, and It’s Hard to be Humble), and I’m working on more. I can play and sing Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport – I just need to make them happen simultaneously. I’ve been working out the chords for The Witch Doctor Song (“Ting tang walla walla bing bang”). It was pretty straightforward getting the chorus to sound nice when I tried to play it in C, but I couldn’t make progress on the bridge until I retried it in A.

It’s a matter of finding the right sound, and I couldn’t find the right sounds up the neck in C. I’m actually better at working out chords on the banjo, but sometimes that doesn’t produce things that sound good to me on a uke. As an illustration, I found some chords online for Madiera, M’Dear, but I couldn’t get them to sound right on the uke. That may be due to the fact that I’m more familiar with a version by Dan Murphy, and not with the Flanders & Swann version.

To finish, here are a couple of novelty songs for your enjoyment. The first is via Bits and Pieces, and the second via The Last of the Few (site NSFW).

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