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Musicians to support top act

PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:46 01 August 2010

IT may not be the coolest of instruments, but two ukulele-strumming teenagers have been chosen to share stage with one of the hottest acts around.

Douglas Archer and James Marrs, aka The Two Ukes, have beaten off competition from 100s of young people to perform at an event with this year's Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity.

IT may not be the coolest of instruments, but two ukulele-strumming teenagers have been chosen to share stage with one of the hottest acts around.

Douglas Archer and James Marrs, aka The Two Ukes, have beaten off competition from 100s of young people to perform at an event with this year's Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity.

The popular dance group will be switching on the Christmas lights at Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich on Thursday, and the two 16-year-olds will join a handful of other local acts performing at the event.

Douglas, from Thurlton, and James, from Loddon, only started playing the ukulele last Christmas when they both received an instruments each as a present. They had seen clips on YouTube of other people playing covers of songs on the ukulele, and decided they wanted to give it a go themselves.

They already played guitar, and found the transition to playing its smaller brother easy.

The duo, who attend East Norfolk Sixth Form College, put their first video on YouTube about six months ago, the most popular of which has now had some 700 views.

The competition to support Diversity, called Chapelfield's Got Talent, was run by Chapelfield shopping centre and was open to anyone below the age of 18.

The duo entered about a month ago when they sent off one of their YouTube videos, and James said he was “amazed” when they were confirmed to play.

It will be only their fourth gig, but they now have a number of covers in their repertoire, including Rocking All Over the World by Status Quo and The Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett.

For their performance at Chapelfield they have just three minutes to wow the crowds, and will be playing one and a half minutes of I'm a Believer by The Monkees, before launching into Pinball Wizard by The Who.

“It shows what we can play,” explained Douglas, who plays rhythm ukulele and lead vocals, while James plays lead ukulele and backing vocals. “I'm a Believer is very basic where Pinball Wizard contains more complicated chords. Pinball Wizard is quicker and gets our adrenaline going, and hopefully the crowd's.”

The ukulele may not be very fashionable, however the lads have few qualms about letting their peers know about their new pastime.

“We take it quite seriously,” said Douglas. “We've been taking our ukuleles into college and walking around with them. People don't take a second glance, they say, 'ooh, a small guitar!'

“My friends are coming to the gig, and I'm more nervous about playing in front of them than the 100s of people I may never see again. But in the 10 minutes before I go on I get really nervous- it's going to be make or break at that point!”

“I'm quite confident,” said James, who is hoping to get the audience singing along with them for I'm a Believer. “It should be a good show.”

The event at Chapelfield shopping centre takes place from 5pm to 9pm, with Diversity on at 6.30pm. Douglas and James do not yet know what time they will be on stage.

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