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The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain Biography
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB) is a musical ensemble featuring ukuleles in different registers. They play and sing music from a variety of musical genres, all on the ukulele.
Founded in 1985, the orchestra has since performed in many venues worldwide, including New York's Carnegie Hall (2009, 2012), the Sydney Opera House (2012), London's Royal Albert Hall (2008, 2012) and Glastonbury Festival. TV appearances have included: Jools Holland's Hootenanny, BBC Radio 2 Electric Proms, Blue Peter, The Slammer, Richard & Judy, This Morning and Skins.
The band was formed "to challenge people's expectations of the ukulele," according to Uke Richie Williams.
A typical UOGB concert comprises songs and instrumentals from a variety of musical genres: regulars include Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" reworked as a swinging jazz number, Ennio Morricone's theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", "Anarchy in the UK" performed in the style of Simon and Garfunkel, and the theme tune from Shaft. The Orchestra also compose and perform their own pieces, as well as arranging medleys - for example, David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" is melded with "My Way", "For Once in My Life", "Substitute", and more. Comedic elements are incorporated with the musicianship, including up to five members playing a single ukulele and times when the group each goes its own way on a piece of music.
The group has shied away from featuring the music of George Formby, Britain's most famous ukulele musician; however, in recent years, they have included a version of his song "Leaning on a Lamppost", performed in a Russian Cossack style.