18 February 2013

Ukulele maestro

What a night.

Last night we went to hear the Wellington international ukulele orchestra. They were a crowd of kiwis clearly dressed in op-shop clothes. One bloke had a voice like Fred Dagg and the other wore very short cut-off jeans that I think might have had something sparkly around the waist. Jack said he was wearing girls' shorts. One generously-thighed lady wore fishnets and jiggled her flesh a lot. 


They were totally down to earth and so uncool as to be, in my opinion, utterly utterly cool. They were very funny and sounded absolutely brilliant. Their first song was called 'I love you Raylene', based on the deep meaning of a drunk teen painting those words on a concrete wall somewhere mundane. Just like them to see the humour in that. 

And the women's voices - boy can they SING.


They were upstaged a little bit by the long-haired, bearded chap who is said to be the world's best ukulele player. James Hill. He's been a Big Name in our house for a few months now, since we discovered him on YouTube. I don't know why I mention him after the WIUO. Maybe because I can't describe how he can make a ukulele sound the way he does. Every cell in me thrilled to the sound. He had his cellist fiance with him, and she was a knock-out, too.

We sat outside on a summer evening, lush ferns and maori carvings close by, the sky clear with a half-moon tracking its way above the stage as the night progressed. 

The best thing about it was Jack. That nine year old sat next to me, his huge blue eyes fixed on the stage. When each song ended he turned to me and said "Are there going to be more songs?" He was transfixed! We got home after 10 pm and I bet you can guess what he did: picked up his ukulele and played and played, until we made him go to bed. 

Highly recommended, people! They're touring NZ together for the next few weeks.


The concert was part of the Hamilton Gardens summer festival. This cup and saucer made by a local artist was one of many quirky things going on in that place at the moment.

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