'The Nation's Ukulele Orchestra'
BBC News, Radio 4, 23rd September 2014
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  • June 2, 2015
    Summer is officially here and that means Festivals. The Ukes of GB have a rich history of playing festivals all-around the world. They have performed at Glastonbury, The Big Chill, WOMADelaide, The Proms, The Electric Proms, Chicago Chamber Music Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival to name but a few.
  • June 2, 2015
    This month the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will have clocked up Sixteen Million Minutes of ukulele action. And where better to celebrate this milestone than with our UK fans. Throughout June we will be performing at venues across the UK, so why not join us to celebrate 30 Plucking Years together!
    (3 Comments)
  • May 22, 2015
    George and some of the Ukes meet Liz Kenny and some Lutes playing Elvis, some of The Wolfenbuettel Lute Book, ZZ Top, Shakespeare songs, Queen, two different Robert Johnsons, and Howling Wolf.
    (2 Comments)
  • May 12, 2015
    The Ukes are playing only one gig in Austria this year, so make sure you won’t miss it…! Saturday, 31 October 2015, at the Arena in Kufstein

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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