Energetic and unabashedly romantic, The Duke of Uke & His Novelty Orchestra enchants audiences with witty lyrics, complex vocal harmonies and funky rhythms. Their infectiously optimistic sound draws from a wide range of influences—classical composers such as Bach, to tin pan alley ragtime tunes, to elements of gospel and Motown, to rock and roll artists of the '60s and 70s. The unique combination of ukulele, violin, tuba, saxophone, bass, and drums swing you from sweet to funky with a sound that will remind you of summers gone by, road trips to come, and long-lost friends you've never met.
Focusing on collaborative songwriting, the ensemble weaves together David King’s poetic lyricism with lush vocal harmonies, buoyant instrumentation, and solid, swinging rhythms. In April 2012, the group released 'April's Empire', their second full-length studio release. They produced the album with Grammy Award winning producer & engineer Gerry 'The Gov' Brown. In 2012, 'April's Empire' was voted #7 of the Top Ten C-U Rock Albums of the year by SmilePolitely.com. In 2010, their album 'This Way Up,' was voted #4 of the Top 10 Local Albums of the year on SmilePolitely.com.
The band appeals to a broad audience and they have performed locally for such venues as the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, Pygmalion Music Festival, C-U Folk and Roots Festival, Sangamon River Music Festival, at the HighDive, the Iron Post, the City of Champaign, and the Urbana Free Library. They have opened for the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and for internationally recognized acts such as Matuto, and The Soul Rebels Brass Band.
In 2011, they began touring nationally and have been featured on festival stages, such as Bethlehem, PA's Musikfest, Milwaukee's Pride Fest main stage, Paducah's Lower Town Art and Music Festival, the Summer Concert Series in Charlevoix, MI, as well as at notable venues such as NYC's Cakeshop, Melange on Frenchmen and the AllWays Lounge in New Orleans, Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Stickyz in Little Rock, Maxine's in Hot Springs, Chicago’s Quenchers Saloon, MOTR Pub in Cincinnati, and LangLab in South Bend. They continue touring nationally in support of the release and are constantly composing new material.