By Sarah Hyde
Released November 7th, 2014
The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra has quite a cult following in New Zealand. They've been known for their outstanding stage presence when performing live, presenting classic covers of songs with the unusual twist of being performed on the uke... on many ukes' in fact.
Although the band has released various EPs in the past, ‘Be Mine Tonight' is the ensemble's first full-length album release, featuring an array of classic Kiwi covers.
Opening with the title track ‘Be Mine Tonight', the WIUO deliver a cruisy laid back version of Th' Dudes iconic track. ‘Wake Up', (originally performed by Aaradhna), has you bopping around nicely and features James Hillon the lead ukulele, showing off his licks during a lovely (and entertaining) solo. Hill also treats us with his appearance on the track ‘Today Is Gonna Be Mine' (originally by David Kilgour), proving he is certainly a true master of his domain.
Their funky take on ‘Howzat' (originally performed by Sherbet) is fantastic, would certainly go down well during international cricket games in NZ this summer for sure.
Showing there is life after the death of her Shortland Street character Dr. Sarah Potts, Amanda Billingfeatures on the lead vocals on E Ipo, a song that most Kiwi kids likely remember singing at Primary School. And she can sing! Hine e Hine makes appearance on there as well, closing the album. It's hard to beat the Goodnight Kiwi version of this, but it sure comes close.
Other classics include ‘Counting The Beat' (The Swingers), 'Team' (Lorde), 'Slippin' Away' (Max Merritt & The Meteors) and 'Something In The Water' (Brooke Fraser).
This is an album that is made for the summer time; it'll go down well at the BBQ's, pool parties and the beach. To be fair the ukulele isn't the most fashionable of instruments around, but the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra has gone in to bat for this underrated instrument and are displaying it in shining light.
It's a great album, and hopefully we'll be treated to more recordings from them in the future. But to truly experience the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra you have to see them live on stage in all their glory.