Australian PM Morrison's ukulele jam draws band's ire

Mr Morrison's 30-second take on the song "April Sun in Cuba" drew fire from the song's creators, who called his efforts a cynical move. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have thought strumming a ukulele version of a 1970s pop hit would be a light moment during a TV interview aired on Sunday (Feb 14) as he prepares for national elections set to happen before May.

Instead, his 30-second take on the 1977 song "April Sun in Cuba" drew fire from the song's creators, New Zealand band Dragon, who issued a statement calling his efforts a "cynical move" to use music to "humanise" himself ahead of the polls.

In the interview with the 60 Minutes news programme, Mr Morrison, sitting at the table having a meal with his family and the news presenter, strums through the first lines of the song's chorus, saying he did not remember all the words, while his wife Jenny and two daughters add some backing vocals and laughter.

Mr Morrison's use of the four-stringed guitar popular in Hawaii did not help matters as critics of the interview recalled an ill-advised trip to the US state in December 2019 that he had to return early from as bushfires raged across Australia.

"Maybe if his trip to Hawaii had not been cut short, he could have learnt the lyrics to the rest of the chorus," Dragon said in their statement.

The band posted on Instagram a TikTok video of Mr Morrison playing the ukulele against a backdrop of burning forests with the caption, "Once again, Dragon are famous for all the wrong reasons."

Australia must hold federal elections before May 21 and Mr Morrison's Liberal Party is under pressure for their handling of the Omicron wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as cases and deaths soared.

Preliminary reports showed on Sunday the party had suffered an upset in by-elections in the state of New South Wales.

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