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In the same vein as last week’s Tuesday Tunes post, I’d like to introduce another group from New Zealand that has caught my attention [and my heart]: the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.
What’s so cool about a ukulele orchestra, you say? Well, the incredibly creative and inventive group of artists who form this ensemble (including one of its founding members, Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame – do you see a trend here?) have a knack for taking retro tunes and giving them a beautiful, new life. They also have a wicked sense of style and humour. And they love Canadians (well, Canadian ukulele virtuoso James Hill).
Take Bonnie Tyler’s classic It’s a Heartache, for instance. Just when you thought this song couldn’t be any more melancholy…
We can never have too much Prince in our lives, can we? Especially a ukulele version of I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man:
Close your eyes, and imagine you’re on a safari, beside a beautiful waterfall. This tune immediately comes to mind, doesn’t it? (please excuse the video quality and simply focus on the voices and the ukes):
And finally, this is for all us vertically challenged people (aka Short People, a cover of Randy Newman’s classic):
And because I just can’t stop, here are a few more awesome covers, should you wish to further your discovery of the WIUO:
Hey Ya – yes, the Outkast version!
The Bucket – Kings of Leon cover
Dreaming of You – The Coral cover