'The Nation's Ukulele Orchestra'
BBC News, Radio 4, 23rd September 2014
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When This Lousy War is Over

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, songs from other countries involved, France, Germany, even Africa and China, a WW1 George Formby Senior song, a Cabaret Voltaire piece and scurrilous soldier’s parody lyrics.

The UOGB CD “Lousy War” featuring music from the show, will be on sale at all of the concerts in this tour. 

Wed 24 Oct 2018 - Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.   SOLD OUT. Box Office: 01225 860 100

Fri 26 Oct 2018 - Kings Hall, Ilkley.  TICKETS. Box Office: 01943 602319

Sat 27 Oct 2018 - Cast, Doncaster.  TICKETS  Box Office: 01302 303 959

Sun 28 Oct 2018 - Gala Theatre, Durham. TICKETS. Box Office: 03000 266 600

Mon 05 Nov 2018 - The Stables, Milton Keynes. TICKETS. Box Office: 01908 280800

Sun 11 Nov 2018 - Birmingham Town Hall. 2 Shows 3pm & 7.30pm: TICKETS  Box Office: 0121 780 3333

The world famous Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is, as usual, a joyful and humourous entertainment juggernaut. Yet here, marking the centenary of WW1, it astonishes, with unexpectedly moving, intriguing, musical history in a show with a difference. 

Honour, resilience and humour are celebrated, respecting those who fell. 

Pride, sorrow and grim irony are found in music, loved, written and sung at the time.

Unusually, there is music from many countries, including not only Britain, France, Germany, Italy, America and New Zealand but also reflecting the involvement of Africa and China. 

The inspirational show ranges from patriotic marches to songs pacifist and feminist; from gypsy tune to music hall, soldiers’ scurrilous lyrics to early jazz, with poignant ballads and even an item from the anarchist, anti-war, radical avante-garde Caberet Voltaire in neutral Switzerland.

What more unusual items will we find in the show?

A song recorded by George Formby Senior, father of the famous ukulele player, and himself a best selling wax cylinder star from the years prior to WW1. 

Songs which were sung by soldiers including scurrilous parody lyrics to famous tunes. 

Unique ukulele orchestra arrangements of significant or intriguing pieces of music, such as: 

Colonel Bogey. You’re thinking of the River Kwai or the lost property office at the Albert Hall. But no. This dates from the First World War and was written by Lieutenant F J Ricketts (as Kenneth Alford). 

Snoopy and the Red Baron. A song referencing the Peanuts cartoon. No. It’s not simply anachronistic; that dog was named after the Canadian flyer who, it was thought, brought down Baron Richthoven. 

Wild Geese. A poignant German song with lyrics by Walter Flex (died in battle in 1917, a German equivalent of British WW1 poet Wilfred Owen). 

Music of the period which was played in London at the time but is not normally associated with the war, such as “From Marble Arch to Leicester Square”. 

Bilingual versions of songs known through war diaries of the orchestra’s relatives to be sung at the famous unofficial “Christmas Truce” and football match in no-man’s land.

The touching and celebrated Banks of Green Willow by George Butterworth, who died at the Somme in 1916. Often played as a memorial and to celebrate “Englishness”. 

Come to one of the “never to be repeated” concerts on the tour. You’ll hear material not found in other WW1 concerts, along with the UOGB’s humour and reverence. 

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