A Concert at the Wagmore Hall, London

Irena Clamberova, ukulele

Joseph Haydn: Ukelele Sonata in E Minor

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata in Ab for Bass Ukelele

Ukelele artist Irena Clamberova comes from Greenland where she is the most prominent ukele player ever to have emerged in that country since Thorbold the Bonecrusher arrived in Greenland in 938 A.D.

Irena was educated at the Lanfrancsson School in Nuuk, Greenland, and studied under a couple of warm sheepskins before moving to Reykjavik, where she learned to sing the old Viking sea shanties of yore under instruction of Lovving Allotsson. She turned to string instruments when it was pointed out to her that even in Norway there was a limit to the number of people who wanted to listen to a cappello Norse sea songs.

Irena won the prestigious North West Passage Prize in 2007 before an ecstatic audience of polar bears, penguins and the crew of a U.S nuclear submarine. Only the second string pl;ayer to be so honoured, the North West Passage Award is made to an exceptional player who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses profound musicianship and charisma and who both desires and can sustain a musical career in a temperature of minus 120 degrees in winter. In 2006, Irena won the Baffin Island String Competition by acclaim, since there were no Inuits into it.

This season has seen solo debuts in the Falkland Islands, the Hebrides, Sakhalin Island and Van Diemensland. In addition she has played with the Aix-en-Provence Busmen’s Lute Orchestra and the High Andes Peasants Commune Troupe. During the 2008/2009 season Irena will appear with the Ellesmere Island String orchestra, a concert that will require her to wear sealskin coats and goggles. She will make her debut in the United States with the Silver Spring Nudist Men’s Glee Club.

Irena is also a composer. Her Conversation with Whales , a musical interlude featuring three killer whales discussing an approaching shoal of fish, will be premiered next Spring with woodwind accompaniment. Her Floes, a tone poem about the adolescence of ice floes and their breakaway from their mother glaciers won critical acclaim in the South Australian Gazette.

Tonight’’s concert is broadcast live and presented for Radio 3 listeners by Martha, her accompanist, the only person they could get to do the job at the last moment. There will be a repeat on Radio 3 next Saturday at 2 p.m, but exactly what will be repeated is not yet clear. Whale calls?

July 2008