I am just so giddy to share this today. Like many of us uke enthusiasts all over the world, I have loved Ukulelezaza for years. I have spent so many hours watching and rewatching his videos online in order to learn his beautiful arrangements of old jazz tunes — and now our pixels and sound waves get to hang out together!
It occurred to me the other day that Ukulelezaza—through his YouTube library—was the one who taught me to play ukulele in this sweet, approachable, ultimately lovely, listenable style that I love so much. I have watched all the videos that I could possibly find online (Have you seen any that I haven’t found yet? Plz send them to me, I want them ?) and have learned many of his ukulele arrangements. I have the Ukulelezaza tab books. One of them has a drawing inside the front cover that makes me oh so happy. (Swipe for cuteness.)
Then maybe a year ago I read an interview with Remco aka Ukulelezaza in Ukulele magazine, and he mentioned someone who I can now call a friend, Charlotte Pelgen. I looked her up and was astonished! At the time I had just left a marriage, and with my ex I, like Charlotte, had a ukulele and upright bass band where we played jazz gems of the 1920s and 30s. This type of combo is not one I have seen other people doing, really, much less with a focus on the same type of repertoire. What are the chances that two people who are clearly musically meant for each other (that’s Charlotte and me, if you needed help keeping track) would be scheming similar musical schemes in the southwest US and in southern Germany? Who is this amazing woman, I wondered, who is living what seems to be a much, much cooler version of my life?!
Thanks to the lockdowns of last year, in my isolation I was able to gather up the courage to reach out to Charlotte and ask if she wanted to sing with me. And she did! And we have! (If you missed it, see Living in the Sunlight, which we shared last fall.)
So yes, this is a love letter to Charlotte and Ukulelezaza it is also a love letter to this sweet, rather tight-knit global ukulele community I find myself to be more and more a part of each day. Thank you so much Charlotte, for being so willing to make beauuuutiful music with me. (Yes, there is more on the way.) Thanks Jake for playing a mean bass and looking so slick while doing so. (Help me design my wardrobe and general life aesthetic, please?) I don’t know you very well yet but I have a feeling there is more great music to come!
And Remco, thank you so much for the decade of music you’ve made available to the world! I’ve enjoyed it over and over again and learned so much from it ♥️??♀️✨