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The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra Play Mercury Lounge

January 6th, 2015

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra have been winning over fans in their native New Zealand going on a decade now. And in addition to their ukes, the band—a very talented 10 to 12 strong, occasionally including the Oscar-winning Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Concords fame—employs accompanying instruments, exceptional harmonies and a terrific sense of humor (come on, they’re a ukulele orchestra), but their music is no joke. The genre-hopping group hits bluegrass, country, rock, reggae and R&B while covering the likes of Prince, Kings of Leon, Pharrell and Randy Newman, to name just a few. After releasing four EPs (stream them below), the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra (above, performing “I Love You, Raylene”) released their first full-length—of Kiwi covers—Be Mine Tonight (stream it below), last year. And now they’re making a rare Stateside appearance for a tour that kicks off tonight at Mercury Lounge. Local singer-songwriter and ukulele player Emilyn Brodsky and New Zealand comedian Steve Wrigley open the show.