When we think of David Bowie we dont normally associate him with the ukulele, but interpreting his legendary songs with the string instrument to create a perfect rendition is exactly what a Melbourne band has achieved.
The Thin White Ukes consist of Betty France, Michael Dwyer and Robert Stephens and have gone on to achieve great success both in Australia and overseas.
The original David Bowie film crew 35 years ago. Photo: Supplied
While they've known and played together in various forms for 15 years, the three musicians decided to create the band in 2014.
After losing Bowie in 2016 they found even more people were asking them to perform.
“People wanted to hear his music,” Michael said.
But rather than doing straight covers of Bowies music, the Thin White Ukes wanted to do something creative.
“We pride ourselves on playing all eras of Bowie,” Michael said.
The English singer was active for six decades and the Thin White Ukes perform songs from his first album in the 1960s, to the glam rock days, to the 1980s and his most recent album.
“So theres six decades worth of material and we arrange the songs carefully,” Michael said.
“Its very intricate to get across the essence of these songs… we can spend six months working on a song trying to get it right.
“But when it works, it works.”
Dont think the Thin White Ukes interpretation of Bowies songs is a joke though, Michael said they take it very seriously.
Take a look for yourself in the video below!
The Thin White Ukes perform David Bowie's 'Starman' at Port Fairy Folk Festival.
“We honour the songs. Its not about making a joke. We do have fun and people might even shed a tear,” he said.
There are a few reasons why they each chose to play ukuleles, one being a cost factor, but the other is the simplicity.
“We all fell in love with ukuleles.. we actually met at a ukulele club,” Michael said.
They do play other instruments, but ukuleles were the most simplest instrument to carry around while on tour.
“We can turn up (to a performance) and just perform at the drop of a hat,” Michael said.
The Thin White Ukes are currently overseas doing a tour of Hong Kong and China.
They will then do a few shows in Australia before they head out to Carinda.
As well as performing at the festival on the Saturday night, The Thin White Ukes will conduct a free ukulele workshop.
Everyone wishing to participate in their workshop will be able to bring your own ukulele or if they dont have one, will be able to purchase one at the workshop for about $35.
The Thin White Ukes and the workshop participants will then perform at the Carinda Hotel in a final grand finale on the Sunday.
This story Melbourne ukulele band honour Bowie with creative version of songs | Video first appeared on Western Magazine.