Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
June 15, 2021
Featuring only ukuleles and the voices of its performers, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain returns for an unforgettable evening. Fresh and entertaining, both modern and old-fashioned, the orchestra is best known for playing versions of famous rock songs and film themes, sometimes in amusing new ways. Performing for 30 years and counting, the orchestra is not only a British institution, but a worldwide phenomenon.
As soon as the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain walks on stage you are in safe hands. Witty, quirky and irreverent — praised by Bowie and Eno, promoted by the BBC, and raved about by the New York Times, you can expect “an evening of sheer entertainment” from this eccentric group of seasoned performers. Playful, virtuosic, and wickedly amusing, both fun and actually funny, these genre-bending rebels have lasted longer than Led Zeppelin, played more gigs than the Rolling Stones, and rocked harder than Dwayne Johnson.
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). This is an exciting shopping-trolley dash through different musical genres, from ABBA to ZZ Top, Tchaikovsky to Nirvana, via Lady Gaga and maybe a Spaghetti Western. So in demand, they find themselves perpetually on "a world tour with hand luggage only.”
The orchestra was formed in 1985 as a bit of fun, but the first gig was an instant sell out, and they've been performing ever since. By 1988 they had released an LP, appeared on BBC TV, played at WOMAD, and recorded a BBC Radio 1 session. The current ensemble has been playing together for over 20 years and has become something of a national institution.
The orchestra has given thousands of sold-out concerts across the world, including Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland, France, America, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan. They have more recently performed sell-out shows at the Sydney Opera House (2012), the Royal Albert Hall (2009, 2012), and New York's Carnegie Hall (2010, 2012).
The Ukulele Orchestra's music has been used in films, plays, and commercials, while film clips of the orchestra’s live concerts and TV appearances on websites such as YouTube have been watched millions of times. Collaborators have included Madness, David Arnold, the British Film Institute, the Ministry of Sound, Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens), and the Kaiser Chiefs.
This performance is supported in part by gifts from Dr. Charles Y. Davis and Mrs. Carole C. Davis and Mr. Edwin H. Talley and Mrs. Melinda P. Talley.
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain first performed at the Moss Arts Center in 2015.