The Bytown Ukulele Group (BUG) is for everyone with an interest in singing and playing the ukulele together! All levels welcome! It’s free!
Beginners – don’t be shy! We have so much fun! We bring song binders to each meeting for people to share, and the music is displayed on two big screens as well. Come out to strum, sing, eat drink and be merry! We usually have 50 or more people at our sessions! Come see what all the excitement is about!
Where: Clocktower Brew Pub, 575 Bank Street, Ottawa – lower level
When: 3rd Wednesday of every month from 7 to 10 p.m.
But come early and join us for a delicious dinner downstairs anytime after 5:30 – catch up on news, meet new friends, share ukulele tips, tricks, and so on…
If you’d like further information, please visit our website at www.bytownukulele.ca , call Sue or Mark Rogers at 613-526-4313 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BUG started in Ottawa in the fall of 2008 with about 6 members, but has grown by leaps and bounds since then! We now have over 130 members with 50 or more members showing up at each and every BUG jam session!
As well as our monthly jam sessions, BUG participates in many other activities, such as:
community events by request:
- Ottawa Folk Festival – led jam sessions and helped out with uke workshops
- Music and Beyond Festival – performed and led jam session for festival goers
- Ottawa Folklore Centre 35th Anniversary Concert
- Ottawa Grassroots Festival
- performed on stage with the Lucky Uke band at the Just for Laughs Festival (Montreal, July 29, 2011), to break the world record for most ukuleles playing the same song together – 1288 ukuleles playing Twisted Sisters’ “We’re Not Going to Take It” for 5 minutes – we did it!
- led the jam session/sing-a-long after the screening of “Mighty Uke” at the Mayfair Theatre
- attended concerts and workshops together by ukulele great James Hill
- attended concerts, workshops and organized a jam session with ukulele bluesman Manitoba Hal
- road trip together to Toronto to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
- road trip together to Montreal for a concert by Jake Shimabukuro
In addition to our monthly session, BUG has also started participating in a wonderful, weekly hootenanny at a L’Arche house in Ottawa, a ‘community for people with and without intellectual disabilities‘.
An unofficial history of the ukulele:
Over a hundred years ago, in 1879, a ship arrived in Hawaii from Portugal with over 400 men, women and children aboard. They brought with them small stringed instruments called machêtes. They would play their machêtes together outside in the evenings. The Hawaiian people loved the sound of the machête! The King and Queen both learned to play the machête and encouraged Hawaiians to play the traditional Hawaiian tunes with it. The machête became wildly popular in Hawaii!
Why did the machête become known as the ukulele? Nobody knows for sure. One story is told of a British soldier who worked with the Hawaiian King and would play the machête at the King’s parties. The soldier was small and sprightly, and he played the machête very energetically, so the Hawaiians gave him the nickname of ukulele which means “jumping flea” and that nickname simply spread to the instrument he played. Another story told is that the fingers of a good player flying up and down the ukulele were like the movement of “jumping fleas”.
In 1915, a World Fair was held in San Francisco that ran for 9 months and attracted 19 million visitors. At the Hawaiian Pavilion, a ukulele band was playing. The people visiting the fair fell in love with the wonderful sound of the ukulele! The ukulele quickly became a huge sensation all over the world. Because it had only four strings, people found it was easy to play! And with only 3 chords they could play hundreds of songs right away! You can too!
Come be part of the ukulele revival! Join us – the more, the merrier!