Mighty uke sounds from the Bijoux Toots

Essex County Standard: In concert: The Bijoux Toots. In concert: The Bijoux Toots.

Why has a small instrument, once regarded as a joke or a toy, become the instrument of choice for many top musicians over the past few years?

For fans and the inquisitive, there is a chance to find out when the Quay Theatre, Sudbury, will be taken over for the night by top local ukulele band the Bijoux Toots on October 15.

The humble ukulele is enjoying a huge upsurge in popularity which harks back to the 1930s, when the likes of Roy Smeck and Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards (famous as the voice of Jimminy Cricket in Walt Disney’s Pinocchio) in the USA and George Formby in the UK, were the stars of their day.

The Toots, as they are known throughout the UK ukulele scene, are staging a special evening’s entertainment with the screening of the film The Mighty Uke and a live concert.

The Mighty Uke is a documentary about the 21st-century revival of the ukulele, by Canadian film-makers Tony Coleman and Margaret Meagher, which won the Audience Choice Award at the prestigious Woodstock Film Festival.

The Bijoux Toots, who have steadily gained popularity since they were formed two years ago, are a six-piece band who use not only the ukulele, but also the accordion, mandolin, kazoo and washtub-bass, to produce their own interpretations of hits from the 1920s to today.

The band, made up of Allison Burke, Sue Butcher, Simone Heasman, Jane Howe, Jake Snell and Pete Long, have played at festivals, concerts, pubs and clubs across the region, and have been guests on the BBC’s Local Radio Sue Marchant Show.

The Toots will be joined by special guest musicians Nick Browning and Rufus Yells, who are leading lights of the London ukulele scene.

Starting at 7.30pm, tickets for the show are priced at £7 and £6 for concessions. They are available from the box office on 01787 374745.

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