The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain


Yeah, this exists.

I first heard about the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain about a year ago, and I was instantly enchanted.  Only the British would come up with something this endearingly odd.  What makes it so much fun isn’t the ukuleles, but the obvious joy they take in the music.  Like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, they’re not trying to mock the music or artists they play.  They love this stuff, but they’re putting their own imprint on it, making the songs their own experience.  I chose their version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” because it featured some awesome ukulele play.  (Side note: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is one of those songs that lends itself well to cover versions.  Tori Amos did a version that added both melancholy and dread to it–not any easy task.)  But watch any one of their videos over on YouTube; you will not be disappointed.  Or visit their website for information or purchasing purposes.

The ukulele is an underestimated, often maligned instrument.  It’s simple–just a few strings on a tiny body.  Played poorly, the sound can be tinny and annoying.  But the ukulele is wonderful and versatile.  It’s potential for entertainment is only limited by the person playing, and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain proves that that potential really is unlimited in the right hands.