Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Mrs Bancroft led a village outing to the suburbs of Yeovil last night. Ten of us went to see the The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
I knew what to expect, having done my homework and looked them up on YouTube. But Mr Grigg, the Logginses and Night Nurse were expecting a stage jam-packed full of ukuleles. So they were somewhat disappointed to see just six chairs centre stage.

The lights dimmed and five men of varying ages, all in dinner jackets and bow ties, and a woman in smart black evening wear entered stage left, armed with ukuleles of various sizes. From the moment they started at 7.30 right through (minus the interval) until 9.30, toes were tapping and knees were shaking all through the auditorium. It was English eccentricity at its best.

Let me describe our musicians. On the left we had a long, blond Baldrick, then came Kirsty MacColl, then Jim-Broadbent-meets-Timothy-Spall, then our local town council leader, then David Tennant and finally John Simm on bass. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

They were quirky, musically excellent and very, very entertaining. We had the theme from Shaft turning into an homage to English folk song collector Sharp, Cecil Sharp, The Sex Pistols' Anarchy in UK as a jaunty shanty, Bowie's Life on Mars merging into My Way, Born Free and other songs with similar melodies, each performer holding their own tune.

The only George Formby song was Leaning on a Lamp Post, transformed into a powerful Russian-style number.

I have never really taken in the lyrics of Wheatus's Teenage Dirtbag. But last night, sung by Hester Goodman with mass ukulele accompaniment, it was sublime rather than ridiculous. The best bit was a swing version of Wuthering Heights.

You can catch them on or go to YouTube and find them there. Excellent stuff.

That's about it
Love Maddie x


  1. I would have been disappointed they didn't do When I'm Cleaning Windows

  2. I've never come across the Ukelele Band before, but thoroughly enjoyed the link to the Wuthering Heights clip! Excellent stuff.

  3. That's sounds like a great evening. Hoping to go to see Breabach tonight in our village hall. A folksy Scottish group. Have seen them before and enjoyed them We'll see how B is feeling later.
    There is something really 'good' about seeing a group in a local venue and not in a vast impersonal space. We get to take our own wine too!

  4. Priceless.
    You lead an amazingly varied social life in your village. Nothing at all like that here, ever, or I'd be at it in a flash.

  5. I looked them on You Tube and they do seem entertaining. But doesn't it make you wonder how they all hooked up? How much call is there for professional ukelele players?


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