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So, Saturday we went to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. They played the Albert Hall Friday night, so they could be forgiven for being less than enthusiastic in the auditorium of the community college in Rye.

But they weren’t. They put in an awesome performance. We were such a small audience, we did our best to hoot and stamp and sing when asked (something Brits do with more alacrity than you might think). I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a concert so much.

They did everything from Handel to Lady Gaga, and they did it with a straight face and an amazing degree of musicality. If you think about it, eight ukes probably equals three or four actual musical instruments, so it all works out.

Worth a trawl through YouTube, though I didn’t find any clips that I thought adequately captured the spirit of the thing. Much better if you catch them in person. They’ll be in the US again for a bit next month, but they tour more or less constantly (and have done for twenty seven years, apparently. Before uke was cool. Wait…it’s cool now, right?).


Comment from Redd
Time: September 24, 2012, 9:41 pm

Did you climb up on Uncle B’s shoulders?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 24, 2012, 9:44 pm

OH! Did they do a rendition of “Girl from Epanema?”

Comment from Clifford Skridlow
Time: September 24, 2012, 10:08 pm

Their rendition of “Psycho Killer” is head and shoulders better than the original.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 24, 2012, 10:20 pm

The theme to Shaft on the ukelele—a treat that is beyond cool! What beautiful ukeleles they were playing.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 24, 2012, 11:08 pm

the only thing I can think of that would be funnier than a Ukulele Orchestra would be Stoatie playing her banjo out by a waterway in England, and hearing someone in a boat yell, PADDLE FASTER!!! DIDN’T YOU EVER SEE DELIVERANCE!?!?!?!?

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 24, 2012, 11:31 pm

It’s true, Shaft has to be heard and seen to be believed.

But you wait till you see Smells Like Teen Spirit!

Apparently, they did Anarchy In The UK at the Proms a couple of years ago.

I bough the DVD and intend to watch it… drunk.

Comment from Mike James
Time: September 24, 2012, 11:40 pm

Old Redd caught the shoulders thing, so I’ll just ask you what I asked my Dad twenty years ago when he and Mom went to see Buck, Merle, and Dwight in Bakersfield … and this is what I asked Dad … “Please tell me that Mom didn’t toss her underwear up on stage while you had her on your shoulders!”

You didn’t, did you?

Dad didn’t like the question.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: September 25, 2012, 2:12 am

Combining a recent thread about Clint Eastwood, and the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, I offer this:



Subotai Bahadur

Comment from Michael
Time: September 25, 2012, 2:13 am

That is so cool; I’d love to see them in concert. The first of their youtube vids I saw was the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, I was hooked.

Do they still encourage people to bring their own ukes for a “group jam”? I believe they set a world record for the most ukes playing Handel a few years back.

Comment from Spad 13
Time: September 25, 2012, 2:58 am

This is why I love this blog.Ukulele concertspresented withoutsnark.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: September 25, 2012, 5:36 am

The UOGB is very much Badger Approved. I love thier Theme to the Good, The bad, and the Ugly. Zounds, but they are good!

Comment from Nina
Time: September 25, 2012, 6:46 am

It’s cool amongst high school students in suburban Sacramento County, California, anyway.

Comment from Mike C.
Time: September 25, 2012, 7:51 am

I’m sorry, but the very first image that pops into my head is “Tiny Tim” doing “Tiptoe Through The Tulips”…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 25, 2012, 1:54 pm

A comment spammer selling football jerseys has posted a number of one-word comments in quotation marks. Thusly:


Plus, someone selling Outlook Express calling himself ass has posted ass. No quotation marks.

Comment from N.O’Really
Time: September 25, 2012, 2:08 pm

Is the ukelele cool? With nearly 11 million hits, I’d say yes.


Granted, he’s not the UOoGB, but he can wash Tiny Tim right OUT of your mind, Mike C.

Comment from Redd
Time: September 25, 2012, 2:36 pm

I know seals and otters will pop their heads out to listen to people playing guitars on the beach. Do chickens enjoy string instruments, too?

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: September 25, 2012, 4:11 pm

Gadfrey Daniels, you do come up with the most interesting stuff – and, somehow, only in Britain (or, perhaps, with the Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey, etc.) would there be a national Ukelele Orchestra…

Perhaps Don Ho would be pleased?

And yes, uke is definitely now cool – long since having recovered from its time with ol’ Arthur Godrey, for instance.

(Fair Warning: Bad-Pun Alert!)

By golly, I think I recognize one of the gents in that picture. That second fella from the right – can it be? Yes – it is – it’s none other than Dual Hand Uke himself…

(Sorry ’bout that, apologies all round – )

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: September 25, 2012, 5:11 pm

I was at the local music buy and sell, and I saw this wiered electric banjo-uke-harp-WTFamajig.

My phone was dead so I couldn’t take a picture.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 25, 2012, 8:39 pm

Redd, the chickens most definitely cluster around my ankles when I sit and play banjo in the garden. In fact, so do the little wild dickie birds. In the chickens’ case, they probably just like being around me (they associate me with lovely things, like corn). The dickie birds cease to see me as a person when I’m sitting still playing, so they’re probably coming back to forage as they did before I was sitting there.

But I have one damn wood pigeon who is Definitely a banjo fan. He lands in the grass too close and sidles up to me, giving me the one-eye.

Birds are very attuned to sounds. The chickens will peck barrels and bags and anything that makes an interesting bong. They’ll peck the banjo, too. They also rather like perching on the neck, which is conveniently branch-like.

Comment from unkawill
Time: September 26, 2012, 10:27 am

Ran across this group of Musicians quite
some time ago.
Quite delightful.

Comment from Mike James
Time: September 26, 2012, 4:23 pm

There is another system

(see next)

Comment from Mike James
Time: September 26, 2012, 4:25 pm

The United Kingdom Ukelele Orchestra

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