'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.

  • Sweden Tour 2022

    We are finally back on our World Tour and visiting Sweden in February 2022!

    Brand new material from our Lockdown videos has found its way into the live show, such as our version of ZZ Top’s Gimme All Your Lovin' (about which Rolling Stone Magazine wrote favourably), and Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” among others. There's music, irreverent wit, wicked fun transcending language and nationality, a requiem for rock and popular culture.

    15th Feb - Västerås Konserthus - Tickets

    17th Feb - Gälve Konserthus - Tickets

    18th Feb - Örebro Konserthus - Tickets

    19th Feb - Uppsala Konsert & Kongress - Tickets

    20th Feb - Scalateatern, Stockholm - Tickets

    To be alerted when we announce to play in your area and request for us to play in your city you can track us on Bandsintown.

    Track us on Bandsintown here.

  • Kitty Lux, recordings and compositions.

    July 2021 marks four years since Kitty Lux, co-founder of the Ukulele Orchestra died. Before her death several different re-mixes of her singing, (worked on by a renowned European group of Ibiza DJs), taken from her recording with the orchestra of the song “Bang Bang, You Shot Me Down”, were released.

    Given that Kitty started off drawing attention with her own song and group “Sheeny and the Goys”, and the punk classic “Pretty Girls”, and that she went on to make recordings with the acclaimed ahead-of-its-time Leeds indie band “Really”, (album available here, including contributions from George Hinchliffe and UOGB and “Really” co-founder, bass player and composer David Bowie ) and that the Ukulele Orchestra (as well as releasing its own products) has had releases by Ministry of Sound, Volume, Cosmosonica, The Big Chill, Longman, Takyon, CBS, Sony, Discethnique, and other entities concerned with contemporary sounds, it is only appropriate that the voice of Kitty Lux (and Lux is her real name, not an onstage concoction), continues to have a contemporary effect on listeners years after her death.

    This video shows vintage shots of Kitty Lux and the Ukulele Orchestra and features the original UOGB recording of “Bang Bang, You Shot Me Down”, the song made famous by Nancy Sinatra, Sony Bono, Cher and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.

    You can read about the CD of all of the Ibiza remixes, and the original UOGB track here, where the CD of all of them is also available for sale. These remixes were also released by Buddha Bar, and have made waves as choice chill-out tracks.

    Kitty’s voice and original compositions are also prominently featured on all the tracks on the 1989 LP recorded by the Ukulele Orchestra: “Hearts of Oak”, which the Guardian reviewed, proclaiming: “At last, the ukulele has found its avant-garde”.

    Kitty Lux, co-founder, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
    Born 28 October 1957; Died 16 July 2017

  • The New Ukulele Orchestra Tee

    The brand new Ukulele Orchestra Tee is here! The perfect shirt for any UOGB fan wishing to show off their fantastic taste in orchestras.

    The “Squashed Logo Tee" is made of 100% cotton, a classic cut tee in a heavy 185gsm weight with a large front print and band branding on the sleeve.

    Sizes available from Small  -  XX Large


    Purchase your Ukulele Orchestra Tee here.

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