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

THE FIRST UKULELE POP VIDEO? (Monochromatic time travel from the last century)

This film/movie was shot on celluloid in November 1987 as part of the promotion campaign for LP “The Ukulele Variations”.

Artist: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Track: Presto Tango, from “The Ukulele Variations”
Composer: George Hinchliffe, Kitty Lux, Andy Astle
Audio Producers: George Hinchliffe, Kitty Lux, Andy Astle
Label: Discethnique. (Later issues: CBS, Sony)
Video Producer: Lance O’Connor
Video Director: Simon Howard
Video Editor / Assistant Director: Alan SeeThee
Creative team co-ordinator: David Jones

Members of the Ukulele Orchestra at the time, who recorded the album:
George Hinchliffe, Kitty Lux, Andy Astle, Dave Suich, Jo Brindley, Hank Young, Caroline Fitton, Mary Fitton, Liane Kordan, Marshal Stapleton, James Marsh, Nony Ardill
Other contributors: Dave Bowie and Eva Perouk played bass on various tracks on the album

Actors and associates in the film: Helen O’Connor, Nigel Watson, Kate Daniels, Dan Brawn
Do let us know if you are in the video, uncredited, or worked on the production. https://www.ukuleleorchestra.com/index.php/ukes-contact-us/

The film was shot using dollies, tracks and cranes, with choreographed shots in which the camera swooped and flew over the Orchestra. The resulting shots were not uniformly in focus end to end. The “safety” and “cut-away” shots were then used to make a video to a different plan than that originally envisaged. This was the work of Alan SeeThee.
Current digital editing techniques would be able to work with the original footage but the amount of negative and positive film editing and cross-fading which might have been required to utilise the original shots would have been prohibitively expensive in 1987, hence the re-imagining.

The negatives from the original shoot will surely be in an archive. Perhaps one day the archive could be re-examined and something like the original conception assembled (assembling the material thus being a challenge for researchers and video producers). The original “glass master” for the vinyl may still exist. It was originally pressed by Revolver (Bristol) / Cartel, The old malt house.

The original piece of music was a development of “The Saucepan Man”, by The Bronte Brothers Theatre Company (Andy Astle, John Darling, George Hinchliffe) from 1980 with lyrics by Abbie Darling (then aged 5 years old). The musical sequence became “a quodlibet”, forming the basis for “As it was in the beginning” and “Proust”, (songs by Kitty Lux and George Hinchliffe). The melody also finds an echo in parts of “Rockabye” by Clean Bandit.

If you would like to play along to Presto Tango here are the chords:
Am F G Em      F Dm E7 E7     Am F G Em     F     Dm E7 E7
C G Am F     C G F G     C G Am     F C G F G

The Ukulele Orchestra has worked for longer than Led Zeppelin and The Beatles combined and has performed more times than The Rolling Stones. It hasn't made quite as much money as they did though. It has however also included both women and men in all roles; management, performance, ownership, authorship.

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