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

  • October 11, 2018
    The “Ukes” tour of “Lousy War” takes place over the next few weeks. Marking the centenary of the end of WW1. A show which astonishes with its humour, insight and suprising historical research. The customary joy and humour of the ukulele entertainment juggernaut is there, but also moving and serious music, a feminist anthem,
  • April 23, 2018
    The Orchestra is thrilled to be playing at festivals this year, including the Austrian Ukulele Festival in Graz, Underneath the Stars, Barnsley and the Sidmouth Folk Week. We will be bringing our unique combination of the well-known and the unknown; off-the-wall music and re-imagined overworked classic songs. In the early days of the UOGB sometimes the comments included views that the repertoire was too challenging or far-out.
  • March 31, 2018
    The DVD of the “Concert for Kitty”, recorded at The Barbican in London to celebrate the life of Kitty Lux, singer, composer and UOGB founder, is being edited and is scheduled for release later in 2018. The programme includes the full orchestra, and a recreation of the very first UOGB gig with the original performers.
  • March 20, 2018
    ‘By Request: Songs From the Set List’ is an album in direct response to our fans wishlist of music. An album conceived to deliver some of the list of requests received from fans all around the planet, from Tasmania to Svalbard, Lerwick to Adelaide, Paris to Toronto, or from Beijing to New York, in short wherever the Ukes have performed and thrilled audiences with their renowned stomping, laughter inducing, thought provoking live shows.

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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