Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra
|Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra|
|Origin||Wellington, New Zealand|
|Associated acts||Flight of the Conchords|
The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra is an ensemble of ukulele players based in Wellington, New Zealand. Apart from a double bass the band is composed entirely of ukuleles. Their repertoire consists mainly of covers of modern popular music and some ukulele and New Zealand standards. Costumes and comic banter are also part of the WIUO appeal.
The increased public profile of one of their members Bret McKenzie — one half of the Flight of the Conchords — combined with the use of their songs for a nationwide advertising campaign for New Zealand bookstore chain Whitcoulls in late 2008 resulted in an increase in their national profile. On 15 December 2008 their Little Bit Wonderful EP reached no. 32 in the Official NZ Music Chart. The same recording topped the NZ Indie Music Chart for January 2009.
Until November 2008, the band played a weekly early morning gig at the tiny Deluxe Cafe in downtown Wellington, which was also featured in their first music video directed by Tim Capper for their cover of the song "It's a Heartache".
The band makes occasional tours of New Zealand and has performed in festivals including Womad New Zealand, Cuba Street Carnival, New Zealand International Comedy Festival, Big Day Out Auckland and arts festivals in Christchurch, Nelson, Tauranga and Taupo.
The WIUO is one of New Zealand’s most popular live acts, touring throughout Australia, United Kingdom and the United States. The band has performed sold-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the New Zealand International Comedy Festival where they won the Best Local Act award.
In 2009, the band recorded their third EP, The Dreaming EP, at Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios. In 2011, the third EP, The Dreaming EP, was recorded in the lounge of one of the band members and was mixed by Lee Prebble. In 2014, the band recorded their first full-length CD, Be Mine Tonight, at an undisclosed location in Wellington. It was mixed by Wellington sound engineer Neil Maddever in his mobile sound studio. This recording was documented in a radio diary for the public radio station Radio New Zealand National by producer and band member Gemma Gracewood. 
The band's musical leader Age Pryor has producing credits on all of the recordings.
In January 2016 the WIUO toured the United States for the third time, but without several original members - Nigel Collins, Sam Auger, Gemma Gracewood, Carmel Russell and Dan Yeabsley. Bass player Hal Strewe and singer/ukelele player Deanne Krieg stepped in to bring the touring party up to eight members.
In June 2017, the group announced they were taking a break while members pursued other projects.
|The Heartache EP
|A Little Bit Wonderful EP
|The Dreaming EP
|I Love You... EP
|Be Mine Tonight
- "WIUO – The Orchestra". WIUO. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- "digiRAMA – Music – The Charts". digiRAMA. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- "IMNZ Independent Album Chart". IMNZ. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra official site
- Official MySpace page
- Television performance and interview with Nigel Collins and Andy Morley-Hall (YouTube)
- "It's a Heartache" music video (YouTube)
- Concert performance of a cover version of the Outkast song "Hey Ya!"
- Whitcoulls Advertisement "Don't Take Your Love to Town" featuring a cover of "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" (YouTube)