Your free what's on guide to the top end


THERE ARE A FEW SPECIAL TREATS for those making the annual pilgrimage over the harbour for the Mandorah Ukulele and Folk Festival (MUFF).

This year, MUFF fans are treated to Territory favourites, Leah Flanagan and Shellie Morris, plus some unique interstate visitors.

The Thin White Ukes perform shape-shifting songs of David Bowie in three part harmonies, all on the humble ukulele. The trio of Melbourne musos – Betty France, Michael Dwyer and Robert Stephens – are heading north to the infamous MUFF to swap the winter blues for palm trees.

Tenor playing Michael Dwyer says it’s a big job re-arranging Bowie’s ‘perfect’ songs for the pint-sized, four-stringed instrument.

“We’re very respectful of the real thing, but we arrange the music in our own way. We’re skilful about the art of arrangement. It’s difficult.

Some tracks stay on the drawing board for months,” he says.

“We were terrified of ‘Life On Mars’ because it’s such a perfect song as is. There was a sense of ‘do we even go there?’ but once we broke it down into the chords and the arrangements, it was less traumatising than we thought it was going to be.”

Dwyer says it’s a dream for any uke outfit to score a gig at MUFF.

“It’s kind of like a fantasy - the ultimate dream festival,” he says.

“We can do what we love under the palm trees - what’s not to love?”

Jump on the ferry or load up the car for a road trip, but be quick to secure a camping spot if you want to spend the night.

Mandorah Ukulele Folk Festival
WHEN SAT 29 JUN | 12-9PM

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