Ukulele the star of The Nukes' show
The ukulele is a small instrument, but for three quirky and gifted musicians, it keeps their souls alive.
The Nukes, New Zealand's original ukulele trio, are out to change opinions about the humble ukelele in their 2013 summer tour, Viva La Uke, this month.
Made up of three musicians, David Parker, Ben Collier and Snapper Thiele, The Nukes will tour the North Island from Coromandal to Napier in January and February alongside northern Queensland ukulele duo Bosko and Honey.
Mr Thiele of Laingholm says the theoretical side to music lessons can sometimes be tedious, but learning the ukulele is fun.
"Lessons can almost kill a musical soul, but with the ukulele, you're pretty much singing straight away.
"The soul is kept alive," he says.
The trio met in 2008 at the Titirangi Festival and incidentally, all three members had written an original song on the ukulele.
After bringing their songs together, The Nukes have remained an original ukulele trio since.
Titirangi resident David Parker says the charming and unassuming instrument breaks down barriers.
"It's a very happy sound. People that have never played music will pick up the ukulele and have a go at it because it's a non-threatening instrument.
"Even kids will pick up a uke and feel like a rock star. It has a real charm about it," he says.
Each member brings a different element to songwriting.
Mr Thiele finds inspiration in Aotearoa and brings a darker side when writing songs, while Mr Parker finds a lighter and romantic side.
"I like little quirky details in life. I've written songs about life from the perspective of ducks, and about worms in a wormfarm," Mr Parker says.
Ben Collier of Woodhill brings his love for words and poetry into his songwriting.
"I like the story telling aspect of songs.
"It's the magic wand of music and I think it's fair to say we challenge people's preconceptions of the ukulele," he says.
The tour aims to showcase professional ukulele performers in intimate and affordable settings and The Nukes will launch a companion songbook to their album, Each to their own.
The Nukes and Bosko and Honey will also run workshops in conjunction with concerts so people can introduce themselves to the joys of the ukulele or improve their skills.
Kicking off on January 25 in Coromandal, the groups will travel to Maraetai, Cambridge and Taupo before ending February 3 at the Victoria Theatre, Devonport.
The tour will also see them perform on January 26 at the Titirangi Theatre, 44c Portage Rd, New Lynn.
Visit thenukes.co.nz or ukulelesafari.com for more information on tour dates and to book tickets.