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”.
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. You may
never think about music in the same way once you’ve been exposed to the Ukes’