'The Nation's Ukulele Orchestra'
BBC News, Radio 4, 23rd September 2014
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News

  • March 2, 2015
    Radio 4 Extra tonight, at 8.30pm: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain - Phill Jupitus follows the ensemble of ukulele players who command a cult following.
  • February 23, 2015
    The Ukes are coming back to tour Germany in March! Dorsten, Hamburg, Wolfenbüttel, Wolfsburg, Schweinfurt, Leverkusen and Fürth will all have the pleasure to host The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain for an evening of plucking brilliance.
  • January 28, 2015
    Eight Ukuleles, Sixteen Hands, Thirty Two Strings, Sixteen Million Minutes, One Billion Seconds, Thirty Years, In June 2015 the Orchestra will have clocked up Sixteen Million Minutes of ukulele action. By September 2016 the Orchestra will have been active for One Billion Seconds.
  • January 28, 2015
    The love song tea towel with full musical notation is fast selling out and there are fewer and fewer days left until February the 14th, so order this gift for your loved one soon! Practical and poetic, romantic realism made manifest, it is this year's must give present!

The Ukes

 


The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is a group of all-singing, all-strumming Ukulele players, using instruments bought with loose change, which believes that all genres of music are available for reinterpretation, as long as they are played on the Ukulele.

A concert by the Ukulele Orchestra is a funny, virtuosic, twanging, awesome, foot-stomping obituary of rock-n-roll and melodious light entertainment featuring only the “bonsai guitar” and a menagerie of voices in a collision of post-punk performance and toe-tapping oldies. There are no drums, pianos, backing tracks or banjos, no pitch shifters or electronic trickery. Only an astonishing revelation of the rich palette of orchestration afforded by ukuleles and singing (and a bit of whistling). Audiences have a good time with the Ukulele Orchestra. Going from Tchaikovsky to Nirvana via Otis Redding and Spaghetti Western soundtracks, the Orchestra takes us on “a world tour with only hand luggage” and gives the listener “One Plucking Thing After Another”.

Using instruments small and large, in high and low registers, whether playing intricate melodies, simple tunes, or complex chords, and sitting in chamber group format dressed in formal evening wear, the Orchestra uses the limitations of the instrument to create a musical freedom as it reveals unsuspected musical insights. Both the beauty and vacuity of popular and highbrow music are highlighted, the pompous and the trivial, the moving and the amusing. Sometimes a foolish song can touch an audience more than high art; sometimes music which takes itself too seriously is revealed to be hilarious. You may never think about music in the same way once you’ve been exposed to the Ukes’ depraved musicology.


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