Bosko and Honey

Bosko & Honey

Don’t be fooled by Bosko and Honey’s cute and quirky appearance… this all-original, virtuosic and genre-defying duo has travelled the globe and is something to behold – Bosko & Honey will warm your heart, make you laugh, and shock you to the core. They used to hide in Kuranda but not so much since joining the global ukulele explosion back in 2005, when Bosko gave Honey a ukulele for her birthday. Charming and disarming, Bosko & Honey’s “Ukulele Love-In Show” is a unique experience in the truest sense. Part fiery cabaret, part fire-side chat, their act is an intimate yet wildly entertaining experience – an engaging blend of virtuosic musicianship, family-friendly yet subversive humour and sometimes the (very) unexpected!

I caught up with Bosko for a chat ahead of their show at the “Under Where?” gig in Kuranda this Thursday night..

TM:- What initially drew you to the Ukulele as an instrument?

Bosko:- Honey was a DJ back in Japan but she’d never learnt an instrument before, so we were after something that was relatively easy to learn – which the ukulele definitely is – and we could start playing almost immediately. I’d played violin on and off for many years, but I’d never cracked music theory or understood harmony, so learning a chordal instrument really helped change that for me. Back in 2005 when we began it was also unusual… a good match with our personalities.

TM:- I heard you guys described by a local promoter recently as “Prog Uke”. To me, the term “Prog” conjures up pictures of men in capes with racks of keyboards. How does the prog term apply to Bosko & Honey?

Bosko:- Um, I guess Prog means progressive, which we try to be… and like prog rock or prog metal, we’re combining different musical ideas and genres. Weren’t the prog guys influenced by classical and jazz a lot? Well so are we, but it’s really just because we like to wear capes!

TM:- Can you tell our readers a bit more about your Ukulele Safari project and any special things you experienced during that period?

Bosko:- Basically it was a huge video travel project we did in 2008 where we decided to actually go visit the ukulele people we’d met online in the early days of YouTube… wherever they were in the world. It was a kind of social experiment – no-one had really done that before at the time… So we spent almost a year travelling in the USA, Europe and Japan and documenting what happened. If you go to our website you can watch all the videos we made… interviews, shared songs, festivals and instrument makers. There are too many weird and wonderful things that happened, but there was more than one occasion that we were saved by our ukes… for instance they weren’t gonna let us board the train from Belgium to the UK because we didn’t have much cash on us… until one of the immigration officers saw our ukes, got all friendly talking about George Formby and let us through. Another cool moment was being recognised by a Bosko & Honey fan at a radio station in Hollywood: “I didn’t know you guys lived in LA!”. We did another project like this in 2010 but around Australia. We flew 3 artists from overseas to join us on a massive road-trip. If you check out “Ukulele Safari” on our website you’ll get the idea.

TM:- I know for many years, some may say the dark ages of the Uke, it was hard to pick one up with someone making a “Tiny Tim” reference. Do you think we are past that?

Bosko:- Actually, sometimes I wish we were back there, when the uke was less popular. It used to be really easy to impress people by playing something that was vaguely musical on the ukulele, but now, instead of referencing Tiny Tim or George Formby, you get asked if you’ve seen “that guy” or “that orchestra” on YouTube and if you can play “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” or “Somewhere over The Rainbow”. Like him or not, I reckon Tiny Tim was quite a radical performance artist who somehow infiltrated the mainstream – completely ahead (or outside) his time. But seriously, it’s a much better situation these days, and we’re able to perform at about 5 ukulele events every year around Australia because of its popularity.

TM:- Is touring a financially viable proposition for a Uke act?

Bosko:- Is touring viable for any act financially? Like everyone, we’ve lost money (intentionally or otherwise), we’ve broken even and sometimes we’ve even made a profit… just don’t add up the hourly rate! But you see, we both have day jobs and actually never want to rely on music to pay the bills. We feel it’s the best way for us to continue enjoying music. No danger of being market-driven, and we can play whatever we like and don’t have to network or market ourselves too aggressively either.

TM:- On the recording front, what’s next for Bosko & Honey?

Bosko:- Well we actually just finished a full-length album! It’s called “The Universe Will Provide” and we’re really proud of it. You can stream the entire album for free and order the CD on our website. It’s also on iTunes and CD Baby. Make sure you check out the music video for “Another Day In Paradise” too! It was filmed around the region and it’s a bit of a hoot… we’re hoping to sign a deal with the tourism board!

Next album we might include other instruments and maybe even head into acoustic-electro realms…

Todd Macalpine

Photo – Nick Pitsas

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