Ukuleles from New Zealand with love

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

You don’t have to ask Ukulele Ray where the hot ukulele action is this season. Simply head over to the California Center for the Arts, Escondido (CCAE).

World-renowned, The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra takes center stage at the 1,523-seat main concert hall on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The New Zealand entertainment powerhouse’s repertoire consists of “ukulelefied” versions of many contemporary pop classics by Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, and Salt-N-Pepa. Award-winning New Zealand musician and co-founder of the band, Age Pryor, leads The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

With a performance that is simply jaw dropping from high-octane ukulele solos, according to concertgoer accounts, flamboyant costumes, and often-unannounced special guests the show delightfully creates a completely well rounded experience for everyone to enjoy, according to CCAE

The band has four recorded EPs and one full-length album, which debuted in the New Zealand “Top 10” and topped the New Zealand “Indie Music” chart. As a true festival favorite, The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra has become a mainstay of the 21st Century ukulele revival.

Since their first performances dating back to December 2005, The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra has toured in the United States, China, Japan, and United Kingdom and has headlined major festivals throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Not only are members of the Orchestra from all corners of New Zealand’s musical spectrum, but they also hold down an array of fascinating day-jobs, from mental health nursing, to environmental sustainability, to street photography.

The original line-up remains intact in spirit, but the touring group occasionally sees some changes due to scheduling and availability. The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra aims to please with often-unannounced special guests and surprise ring-ins highlighting every performance.

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra is in hot demand for their unique combination of charming Kiwi humor, disarmingly small instruments and sublime musicality. The ensemble only has one rule for audiences to abide by, “If you know the words, sing along. If you don’t know the words, sing along.”

Here’s the good word on the ukulele beat about his group.

Multiplying the amazing by very large exponential numbers.” -MTV Iggy

“An entertaining show that depended equally on musical performances and humorous asides…carried by overlapping vocal parts delivered by a 10-voice chorus, floating high in the sky towards a blanket of moon and stars.” -Austin American Statesman

“Pop hits reworked into thrilling ukulele sing-alongs with comedic banter aplenty.” -New Zealand Herald

The Center is located at 340 N. Escondido Blvd. in Escondido. The Ticket Office can be reached at (800) 988-4253. Tickets can also be purchased online. To learn more, including performance dates, times and ticket information, visit www.artcenter.org.

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