Featured Band The Grand Old Uke of York
The Grand Old Uke of York
One of the smallest musical instruments has a rather large following, or should we say 10,000 men, through the Grand Old Uke of York.
At one of their most recent gigs, York’s 3rd Ukulele Festival, they brought together people of all ages and backgrounds through their mutual love of the ukulele. The event, in aid of Martin House Children’s Hospice and Accessible Arts & Media, saw 11 local groups take to the stage throughout the day and entertain a crowd of ukulele fans.
The Grand Old Uke of York, 14 strong on stage (a sound technician’s dream!) were just as strong in performance. Their appearance at York Ukulele Festival was typically energetic and uplifting. They played an upbeat, audience thrilling set which lasted for almost two hours. Being regulars on the Yorkshire circuit for the past few years, they always get everyone dancing, singing and smiling with sets that reach back to the 50’s and right up to the present day, so there's always a song in there for everyone.
Kyle James Frazer, who performs solo slots with the group explains that "a strength of being a ukulele player is not taking the instrument seriously; as we got into our opening song “Born To Be Wild”, the power switched off and left us singing acoustically until the last chorus. The audience took the hint and joined in enthusiastically, even “do-doo”ing the recognisable bass solo. It was a big of a shock to the sound technician to find out that the smoke machine wasn't related to the similarly timed power failure!"
The York ukulele collective and audience all smiled, laughed and boogied their way through the evening with hits such as “All Right Now”, “I Kissed A Girl” and “Sunny Afternoon”. Ending with a rousing rendition of Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls”, the audience wanted satisfying more so the group pulled out their encore of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, which mixed a blend of soft and teary-eyed passionate verses with rowdy chants of “I love you baby”.
It’s been a similar experience all summer for the GOUY collective, with performances at York Barbican, Scarborough Spa, Poppleton Live to Grassington Festival and their supporters' group, just grows and grows. The group says they're often meeting people after gigs who didn’t know such songs could be played on the ukulele, and others who expected George Formby Jnr, yet at the end want to buy one to rock out with!
A year on from the Tour de France, it’s clear to see that Yorkshire is still in a festival spirit. The group are still celebrating their amazing appearance at the Tour de France as part of Leeds-based Hope & Social’s band at Le Grand Depart. Playing live to 10,000 people in the Leeds First Direct Arena and a 300 million more on TV has left them with a rosy glow and in true Hope & Social style will continue to “bring the happy” to their upcoming summer gigs.
Next up is the Platform Festival in Pocklington, which has hosted acts like Billy Bragg and Thea Gilmore over the past few years. This year they host the amazing Bellowhead, The Magic Numbers, The Shires and of course The Grand Old Uke of York! Literally, straight after The Platform Festival they travel back to York to play a set at Bishopthorpe Palace (hosted by the Archbishop of York) before a riverside firework finale.
There is plenty of opportunity to still catch this upcoming group, so what are you waiting for?
Gig dates and performances can be found on their website www.grandoldukeofyork.info or just tweet them @gouyclub.