Review: The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain and Theatre of the Ayre at Buxton Festival

This collaboration between The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and the early music Theatre of the Ayre was a new departure for Buxton Festival.

The instruments ranged from lutes, theorbo and cittern to four different sorts of ukulele.

The music ranged from the Wolfenbuttel lute book (c1460) to Freddie Mercury. It featured the compositions of three Robert Johnson’s: one Shakespeare’s lute player, one slightly earlier and the 1930s blues singer. Then there was Elvis: the Welsh saint who baptised St David and Elvis Presley, as well as devils and wolves of those eras. Quite a mix!

The bass player, David Bowie, is highly accomplished and added much to the ukuleles.

The pivot of the concert at St John’s Church, Buxton, was Clara Sanabras, an accomplished player of Renaissance guitars with a thrilling voice. She bridged the two halves of this ensemble with great skill and all the other players collaborated.

It must be noted that this was the only occasion when lutes and theorbo could be heard in this year’s festival. A few years ago the festival included early music concerts in Buxton and Tideswell and they were sold out.

Please bring them back next year!