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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s special about the Ken Ulansey Ensemble?

For more than 20 years, the Ken Ulansey Ensemble has been creating parties that fit your taste, not ours. Rather than having a prepared “canned” show we specialize in making your event unique and responding to the musical needs of each moment. While it’s a given that we can do a great job with the standard party fare, we are often asked to delve deeper into each of the musical traditions and genres that make a party. So we’ll do a fine job with the “normal,” but it’s our constantly evolving, unique play list that sets us apart. Keeping the music fresh helps our band members have more fun -- and that means more fun for you and your guests, too! top

How do you guide clients as they prepare for a party?

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One of our strengths is the personal attention we give to each family or client. We frequently meet with you early in the process to get a sense of your musical taste and the overall flow of your event. Then, six weeks or so before the event, we get together again to go over all the fine points. In the interim, there are as many e-mails and phone conversations as you’d like to help make the decision-making process not only efficient, but fun! top

What kind of music do you play?

While our strengths are Swing through Motown and Funk as well as many traditions of World Music (see next question) we also do a wonderful job of Classical Music for ceremonies, Jazz and Standards for cocktail hours, as well as all periods of popular music up through current hits.  top

What styles of World and Ethnic music do you play?

Our repertoire draws heavily from traditions as varied as Klezmer and Israeli Dance; Samba, Salsa and Tango; Irish Airs and Jigs; a wide range of Italian music from dance and film traditions; even Greek Tsamikos and Sirtos and Bulgarian Gankinos. top

What is the instrumentation of the band?

We are most often asked to be an 8-piece band (Keyboards, Sax, Bass, Drums, Guitar, Trumpet, 2 Female Vocalists) although we can easily scale both up and down from that size, depending on the styles of music that your party will encompass. Frequent Add-Ons: A third horn fleshes out the horn section for Swing and Funk material. With the growing popularity of "World Music," many people have been requesting our Percussionist -- a specialist in Brazilian music, he’s comfortable with pretty much any tradition we throw at him. Another special addition: our "World Music" Vocalist/Guitarist. She is very versatile, singing in 10 languages: Sambas in Portuguese, Edith Piaf in French, Cole Porter style standards as well as singing and teaching Israeli Dances and East European Freilachs. In addition, in the past, we’ve added violin, tuba, blues harmonica, accordion, banjo …. So feel free to let your imagination go!   top

Do you play continuous music at events?


We always provide continuous live music, unless you specially request recorded background music. Usually, several of the musicians take a break during food service, leaving a tasteful duo playing quietly, so that your guests will never have to strain to have a conversation. top

Do you learn new material if requested?

Absolutely. We are frequently asked to learn new songs and we are pleased to comply. A couple of months’ notice is appreciated! However, we want the music we play for you to be of the highest quality, so we try to draw the line at three new songs per event. Since we have such a large repertoire, chances are good that we already know many of the songs you’ll want. top

Do you take requests at the event?

Of course – and we’re only rarely stumped! top

Do you act as the Master of Ceremonies?

Yes, and we can be as classy or as flashy as you’d like. Most of our clients seem to prefer elegant understatement. top

Can you play music for wedding ceremonies as well as receptions?

Yes indeed. Most wedding clients ask us to play music for their ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. For ceremonies, music choices range from Bach to religious traditions to Beatles, and lots in-between. And we’ll help you to find the music that’s just right for you. top

What kind of concerts does the band perform?

The band performs a wide variety of Concerts and Workshops. Recent concerts have included music from specific cultures (Jewish music, Latin music, New Orleans-style); concerts featuring the outstanding original jazz and pop compositions of our band members; and children’s concerts which feature introductions to our instruments and to the varied music of the world. Perhaps most exciting are the concerts of completely improvised music, drawing from perspectives as varied as Bach, Stravinsky and Coltrane. top

Can you lead children’s games at appropriate events?

We are often asked to provide appropriate entertainment for kids from ages four to 18, and are happy to work with you to make sure that the young people at your event have as great a time as you do. top

What does the band wear?

While our standard attire is tuxedo jacket and pants with solid-colored shirts for the men and an equivalent level of “hip formality” for the women, we are happy to dress more formally or more casually, as your taste dictates. top

How much will all this cost?

Our price is based on a per-musician / per-hour rate, with a modest additional sound-system fee. As a result, we can offer great music to fit almost any budget top