The Cairns Ukulele Festival is upping the fun factor at this year’s event with a special appearance by internationally-renowned comedian – and uke player – George Smilovici.
Festival organiser Gaby Thomasz also announced today that thousands of ukes would be going “waltzing matilda” for the festival’s famous world record attempt.
“The world record song will be “Waltzing Matilda”, to be played by thousands of festival goers when we try to create a new world record for having the most ukulele players simultaneously playing the same song on Saturday, July 6,” said Ms Thomasz.
“We have resisted temptation to use Australia’s unofficial national anthem for the world record attempt for several years, but we are upping the ante and everyone will have to learn a three chord song,” she joked. “We hope everyone will get into the spirit and dress up in Akubras and Hawaiian shirts so we can smash the record once and for all.”
Ms Thomasz said she was also thrilled to confirm George Smilivici’s appearance at this year’s festival, being held from July 4 to 7.
“George held the Guinness Book world record for most jokes told in one minute so we think he will be a really fun addition to this year’s festival and hopefully his record breaking talent will get us over the line this year,” she said. “He will join us for the Opening Night on Thursday (July 4) as well as performing during the Australian Ukulele Showcase on Friday (July 5) and MC’ing and leading the world record attempt the following day.”
Smilovici said he was looking forward to bringing his mix of comedy and uke playing to the Cairns festival. “I’ll be playing a very eclectic mix ranging from Queen to Jimmy Hendrix and Jobim”.
Describing himself as a ‘confronting, challenging and generous bon vivant’, George started playing the uke when his brother gave him one as a present. “It kind of usurped my wife and the guitar for about six months at first, like I was having a clandestine affair with a younger, smaller and cuter mistress,” he said. “Look out Cairns, we’re going to have the time of our lives.”
George is the only comedian to top the Australian and New Zealand music charts, and USA music and comedy charts with his hilarious hit monologue, “I’M TUFF.” Knocking off Stevie Wonder’s mega hit song “I just called to say I love you” from the No 1 spot, George stayed at No 1 for an incredible seven weeks. He has headlined and performed alongside acts including U2, Joe Cocker, Talking Heads, INXS, Tiny Tim, Midnight Oil and Joan Rivers at venues all over the world.
According to Ms Thomasz, “George is a mad ukulele player and is really looking forward to spending some time in Cairns with lots of fellow uke and comedy fans. Everyone who attends our festival just loves to have a good time, so I am expecting George to be the leader of good times at this year’s event.”
To help festival-goers prepare for the world record attempt, the Cairns Ukulele Festival will post a world record instructional video on the festival website and YouTube channel so festival-goers can pluck up and learn the song! A song sheet with the chords (C, F and G7) is also available from the festival website.