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

  • Rubber Uke Video

    An old but previously unpublished gem, featuring an unusual ukulele, accompanied by a  specially created video…

  • Workshops and Teaching

    The Ukulele Orchestra has in the past offered a range of workshops and master-classes covering various ukulele related topics. These took place at festivals, regional theatres and as part of local educational authority music provision. The Orchestra also ran its own workshops in Ensemble Playing, from Beginner to Intermediate levels. These were hugely successful in 2006 and 2007.

    We're sorry to say that we will not be running any more workshops for the foreseeable future, due to our heavy touring schedule. But some friends of ours are. If you are interested in attending one of their workshops or are looking for one-to-one or group lessons then contact:

    Lorraine Bow - Learn to Uke

    Learn To Uke Ukulele Class

    Lorraine runs classes at different levels and her enthusiasm can introduce you to the fun of making your own music as you whizz up the learning curve. Team building? Stress busting? Groups? Company Ukulele Workshops?

    See http://www.musivate.co.uk

    Want to play and understand the kind of music you already listen to?

    You could start here, have a lot of fun and be playing in a matter of hours.

     

    Classes range from Absolute Beginners (never played or held one) to Intermediate and Playing in A Ukulele Orchestra courses, with Nick and Andy. You'll play (or learn new tricks on) 1-3 songs per lesson, and there are 4 lessons in a 4 week course.

    Please see http://www.learntouke.co.uk

    Nick Browning
    nick @ pinpoint.co.uk (remove spaces)
    http://www.pinpoint.co.uk/uogb.html

    Andy Astle
    +44 (0) 777 9681191
    http://www.andyastle.com

  • How is the name of the instrument spelled?

    English speakers often call the instrument the "uke" (yook) or "ukulele" (yoo-koo ley-lee), whereas given the instrument's Hawaiian origin, it might be more accurate to say the "uku" (oo koo), or "ukulele" (oo koo lay lay). In Hawaiian apparently, all syllables end with a vowel and 'e' is always pronounced as a long 'a'. The conventions of transliteration from Hawaiian probably allow both spellings: ukulele and ukelele. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain use the former spelling but they don't speak Hawaiian.

  • How did the ukulele get its name?

    It could be that in 1879 in Honolulu, Joao Fernandes, who had just disembarked from Madeira, played the braguina with such virtuosity and speed that the Hawaiians, impressed with his jumping fingers, called the instrument the "ukulele", meaning dancing flea. But then according to Queen Lili'uokalani the name means "the gift that came here", made from "uku" (gift or reward) and "lele" (to come). Perhaps the name comes from "ukeke lele" or "dancing ukeke" (the ukeke is a Hawaiian musical bow). Some say that Edward Purvis, an English army officer, who was a small man and an agile braguina player, was himself nicknamed "ukulele" and the name later became connected to the instrument itself. Then again, it could be that Gabriel Davian and Judge W. L. Wilcox coined and translated the name, joking that the way one scratched at it, the instrument must have been a jumping flea.

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