In February I got a really cheap plane ticket from Hilo to Milan, Italy. I wasn’t planning on traveling this year. But somehow I found my credit card out and a confirmation email from United in my inbox five minutes later. Huh.
So I contacted my friend, Annette. I met her a while back when she was visiting the Big Island and wanted some ʻukulele lessons. She said to be in touch if I ever got to Southwest Germany; maybe she could pull some strings and set some things up for me.
Almost instantly I had a place to stay for a week, activities to do (hiking, picking grapes, driving on the autobahn, going over the Rhine to France) – not to mention a weekend ʻukulele workshop in Freiburg!
This bit of business in Deutschland fell almost in the middle of the trip. It was a nice break from the craziness of navigating foreign places. All of a sudden, in a time zone perfectly opposite my home, I was doing something familiar – teaching ʻukulele!
Freiburg is a lovely university city. It also happens to have a thriving uke scene. Our host, Martin Walter, teaches regular ʻukulele lessons in the city. He said there’s more interest than he can keep up with, even as a full-time music teacher. Martin was kind enough to make his room-with-a-view teaching space available for my workshop.
My German students were excited to learn Hawaiian style ʻukulele. Believe it or not, they don’t get many Hawai’i-based artists coming through town due to the commute! So we spent six hours over the course of two days jamming away on some fun tunes like Henehene Kou ‘Aka, Ka Uluwehi o Ke Kai, and Koke’e. They were quick studies and we were able to get through a lot of material.
I guess I’m international now.
Martin has an ʻukulele festival in the works for 2020. Sounds like a good excuse to return to Europe.