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

  • October 11, 2017
    Join the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at a special concert at the Barbican, as we celebrate the life of our dear friend and founder member Kitty Lux, who sadly passed away this year. From its inception in 1985, Kitty was a driving force behind the orchestra and key part of its style; she helped shape the orchestra from its outsider, art school, punk-rock-meets-jazz-and-early-music roots to its current status as an international institution.
  • October 4, 2017
    This holiday season The Ukulele Orchestra will ask the audience to add to the music by inviting them to participate in a ukulele play and sing along from their seats in the hall. Everyone will be able to join in, no matter their ability!
  • September 14, 2017
    BBC Radio 4 Extra are broadcasting a documentary on the Ukulele Orchestra on Friday 15 September. The Documentary presented by Phil Jupitus and produced by Bona Broadcasting will be on air at 06:30, 13:30 and 20:30. The full show can be heard by those with access to the BBC iPlayer here
  • September 12, 2017
    Catch Leisa, Will and Dave on BBC Radio 2 Arts Show with Jonathan Ross on Thursday 14 September. They will be playing a couple of tunes and along with the artist George Underwood and Gemma Peppé from Art on a Postcard, chatting about the Art on a Ukulele project we have been working on to help raise money and awareness for the Hepatitis C Trust.

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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