The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain bring their reinterpretation of music genres to Blackpool's Grand Theatre
But the first gig was an instant sell-out and within three years they had released an LP, played at Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD festival and recorded a BBC Radio 1 session.
They’ve been performing ever since.
The Orchestra has toured from the North Pole to the Sydney Opera House with their now legendary live shows that plunder all genres of music from Wagner to Nirvana and Ennio Morricone with wit and sheer plucking brilliance.
Clocking up millions of views on You Tube, the Orchestra has collaborated with Robbie Williams, Madness and the Kaiser Chiefs and even played for The Queen on her 90th birthday.
Currently on an epic 35-date tour of the UK, the Ukes will be appearing at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool on Friday, November 30, where in addition to their trademark reinterpretations of pop, classics and cult film scores, they are inviting audiences and budding ukulele enthusiasts to join them in little midwinter mischief with the chance to play or sing a-long with the odd well worn Christmas classic.
The Orchestra believe that all genres of music are available for reinterpretation, as long as they are played on the Ukulele. There are no drums, pianos, backing tracks or banjos, or electronic trickery.
A spokesman said: “Using only Ukulele instruments small and large, in high and low registers, whether playing intricate melodies, simple tunes, or complex chords, and sitting in chamber group format dressed in formal evening wear, the Orchestra uses the limitations of the instrument to create a show which has enchanted audiences around the globe.
“The Ukulele instrument was in the national news recently with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra lamenting the decline of traditional classical instruments such as the French Horn and Trombone as – according to a YouGov poll – more and more budding musicians opt to take up the Ukulele.
“Perhaps the same audiences that have fallen in love with the Ukes over the past 33 years are now passing a newly found appreciation of the Ukulele onto the next generation.”