Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra
Finalist Creative Gold
The WIUO was founded a little bit by accident (so they say) in December 2005 by award-winning New Zealand musicians Age Pryor and Bret McKenzie.
A decade on, they have toured their winning combination of killer kiwi humour, disarmingly miniature instruments, on stage antics, outrageous outfits and musicality to the United States, China, Japan, Scotland, London, Australia and all over New Zealand.
They’ve released 4 EPs and a chart-topping full-length album, performed on film, television and commercial soundtracks, and jammed with many of the greats of Kiwi music.
The secret of the band’s success isn’t a secret, according to manager Gemma Gracewood. “We combine beautiful arrangements and strong well-rehearsed harmonies with totally loose unrehearsed comedy, and it works. And we always include the audience in our shows. They work as hard as we do."
The 12 members are all shareholders of the parent company, Ukecorp Limited. In an industry that is very hard to secure decent work and good working conditions, the company’s been able to offer members and contractors considerable blocks of work during the year, and injected funds into the regions where they tour. And next year, they’re all off to the USA for a 45 day tour: three times longer than their first USA tour.
Learn more: www.ukulele.co.nz