Starman Sven captures Bowie's Golden Years

Tribute acts are two a penny, so they need to be unique and keep the crowd entertained in order to stand out from the crowd.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 6:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:07 pm
Sven Ratske - Bowie tribute 'Starman' at the Edinburgh festival 2016
Sven Ratske - Bowie tribute 'Starman' at the Edinburgh festival 2016

And Sven Ratske does that with ease.

Premiering in 2015 in Berlin to rave reviews, Sven’s tribute to the iconic David Bowie combines many of the artist’s famous numbers including ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Rock and Roll Suicide’ with classic album tracks.

More than a mere tribute show, ‘Starman’ is a one-man rock musical with unique characters and bold reinventions of glam rock classics.

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Sven Ratske - Bowie tribute at the Edinburgh festival 2016

Although it is the first appearance of Starman at the Edinburgh Festival, Sven first performed at the event eight years ago.

He said: “In 2008, I was asked to host the late night show supper club at Assembly. I was like a farm boy coming to the big town. I had never done anything in English and there suddenly, is Julie Christie sitting in the front row who actually ended up having a long a smoke with me afterwards. There was just all these great artists, it was an eye opener and I will never forget it.

“Nowadays, I’m a bigger guy, a diva – but a charming one. I get to tour all over the world, but I’m looking forward to coming back so much and getting to stay a whole month in beautiful Edinburgh.”

Bowie has intrigued Sven for many years, which became the basis for the ‘Starman’ show.

Sven Ratske - Bowie tribute at the Edinburgh festival 2016

“I came up with the idea for the show around five years ago. I was always surrounded by Bowie, not as a die hard fan, but as an admirer. I was intrigued. He was a riddle to me, I thought his live stage persona, especially in the seventies, it’s like an opera; wearing a mask and constantly changing his appearance, and also reflecting that in his musical style. I just loved it.

“At the same time, my own projects and direction were developing. I had started with the music of Kurt Weill and theatre styles of Brecht and was now doing punk rock with Hedwig and the angry inch. It all was connected for me. I also found that the fame aspect was a trigger for me. I was becoming more famous myself and these issues of always changing intrigued me.

“The show is a Ratzke show with a re-interpretation of the genius music of David Bowie. Its not a tribute show. But believe me, the die hard fans love it just as much as non Bowie fans, because its a new thing combined with the beautiful music that you may or not may know as a die hard fan or not. I’m an entertainer and I take the audience on a trip. There are laughs, there are bizarre stories, great encounters and there’s the music. From rock to tender ballads, it’s just a blast!”

Sven Ratske: Starman is at the Assembly George Square Gardens – Palais Du Variete, from August 6 – 28 (except 15 and 22) at 8.45pm.

For tickets, visit

To watch Sven in action, visit or