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hmgberg
05-09-2011, 04:59 PM
Remco Houtman-Janssen (AKA Ukulelezaza) recently released a CD entitled, “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine.” It is reviewed in issue 19 of Ukulele Player magazine available here:

http://www.tricornpublications.com/uke_player.htm

An excellent and enlightening interview with Ukulelezaza precedes the review.

On her blog, http://shelleyrickey.blogspot.com/2011/03/lets-say-you-were-going-to-buy-just-one.html, Shelley Rickey also briefly reviews the recording.

I am offering my supplemental (therefore) review of the album below, if only because I would like to share my enthusiasm for it directly with the Ukulele Underground. Indeed, I am so much a fan of Ukulelezaza’s style of playing and of his arrangements that I am certain, despite my efforts to the contrary, my review is likely to seem effusive, especially to those unfamiliar with his Youtube videos (Note: If you are unfamiliar with these, you should get familiar with them).

Ukulelezaza, “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine,” SABAM-MM2011-946

In an effort to achieve sufficient detachment to give this album a responsible critique, I have listened to it countless times (in fact I have listened to it exclusively) over the weeks since I received it. Okay, so that was my plan - to be fair - but I really continued playing the record because it was all I wanted to hear.

This CD rewards repeated listening. From the start, it is bright and captivating, diverse in its musical scope, yet replete with examples of Ukulelezaza’s trademark style, his Romantic expression, wistful or lilting arrangements, and astonishingly accomplished right-hand work. While his playing is often complex, it is never gratuitously so; he accomplishes a tour-de-force seemingly without trying. Overall, the album feels “old-time,” owing in great measure to the instrumentation, and true enough there are some old-time songs here. However, it sounds authentic, not a function of hackneyed production tricks.

Ukulelezaza plays a number of instruments on this album: his favorite Martin 3K, a Martin 3M Taropatch, Vegavox I plectrum banjo, National Tricone Squareneck, National Tricone plectrum guitar, Ohana SK-38, National Triolian Ukulele, and to flesh things out a Ludwig Wendell Hall uke banjo. On various tracks, he is accompanied by Bram Ghyoot (accordion), Dirk 00-18 Stallaert (gtr), Dieter Verkest (dbl. bass), Katrien Van Crombrugghe (dbl. bass), Leo De Potter (dbl. bass), and Dieter Bossu (bass tuba). Ukulele (only) enthusiasts should not be dissuaded; some ukulele, or banjo ukulele is featured on every song. Stylistically, the album spans a broad gamut from 1930’s pop and jazz standards such as “I Surrender, Dear,” “Home,” and “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” the ragtime and blues of “Heliotrope Bouquet,” and the rollicking “St. Louis Blues,” respectively, to the Hawaiian sounds of “Red Cat Slack Key,” an original composition, as well as “Na Moku Eha,”and “Pa’au’au Waltz.” There is even some Klezmer music here, the mournful “Flatbush Waltz.” Impressively, all of this music forms a compellingly unified statement; nothing sounds out of place, no jarring transitions between tracks, nothing that would have been better reserced for another album.

The ukulele playing is absolutely stunning throughout; particular highlights for me are “Heliotrope Bouquet,” “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime,” “Pa’au’au Waltz,” and “Downhill,” another original. Ukulelezaza’s banjo ukulele performances during the intro to “I Surrender, Dear,” “Painting the Clouds with Sunshine,” “Flatbush Waltz” and the Formby-style solos on “Drifting and Dreaming” are sure to be revelatory for those of us practicing our split strokes and triplets (Jnobianchi and I practice on our shirt pockets – for me at least, it sounds better that way). The slide work on “Na Moku Eha” is delightful … ah, Hawaii. The album concludes with “Koa Lament,” a brief and melancholic ode to a very early Martin 3K named Cindy. Ukulelezaza once owned Cindy, but gave her up.

If you would like a copy of “Painting the Clouds With Sunshine” (you really would!), PM me and I’ll let you know how to get it.

Jnobianchi
05-09-2011, 05:59 PM
Lovely review of a lovely album. Like you, I've been unable to put it aside - I just keep playing it over and over. Remco is a wonderful musician, and he's really done a great job on this album. Can't wait to see what he's got in store for a follow up!

Ken Middleton
05-09-2011, 07:44 PM
A really great review and very thorough.

And what an amazing album!

ukulelezaza
05-09-2011, 10:22 PM
Thanks for this great review, hmgberg! I think I'll have a listen myself now. :)

If anyone would like a copy, you can PM me directly now.

arpie
01-16-2013, 03:54 PM
This is an awesome CD - I just have it going over & over in the background as I do my daily chores! It is terrific.

Roberta

coolkayaker1
01-16-2013, 04:46 PM
Remco, I have to admit, I must have seen every single one of your youtube videos--from playing with wine-drinking friends at a table on a cobbled street, to Uke Tips with Jim D'Ville, to Honey and Bosko's interview. Big fan, here.

Any chance this CD will be available via download from Amazon US, iTunes or CD Baby (like Honey and Bosko's CD)? Is your tabs book yet sold in the United States?

Thanks. I read the interview and CD review, hmberg, it was not overly effusive, and yet you captured your enthusiasm for Ukulelezaza on the printed page. Well done!

Hippie Dribble
01-16-2013, 05:24 PM
Howard, thankyou for this thread brother. I have just ordered the tab book and the album too. Many thanks mate.

Remco, you are a superlative player and a great inspiration to us backyard hacks. Blessings to you. I can't wait to hear this record and have a shot at the tab book.

:cheers:

Hippie Dribble
01-16-2013, 05:34 PM
oh and Roberta, THANKYOU for reviving the thread...he he :)

arpie
01-16-2013, 05:45 PM
My Pleasure, Jon! You will love it! You both have similar playing styles. The addition of the other instruments (piano accordian, double bass etc) really make this a terrific listening CD.

The TABs are great too.

I am a fan from WAY back, trolling Youtube for new vids! :D Like you - he makes it all look SO easy! :o

cheerio

Roberta

coolkayaker1
01-21-2013, 05:30 PM
Roberta and Howard, I ordered the tab book and DVD and the CD from Remco today. The whole enchilada! Thank you.

Ben_H
01-22-2013, 07:03 AM
Steve,

How did you order it? Is it still a question of a pm or is there a more direct method?

Cheers

Ben

coolkayaker1
01-22-2013, 07:42 AM
Steve,

How did you order it? Is it still a question of a pm or is there a more direct method?

Cheers

Ben

Hi, Ben! I PM'ed ukulelezaza on UU Forums. He did not respond to my December PM, but did respond to another sent this month. I wish I had his email address to privetly email you, but I can't seem to locate it now. Hmberg on UU works with Remco/zaza and spirited him to check his PM box on UU more often. So, that's what I'd try, Ben.

Steve

Ben_H
01-23-2013, 05:30 AM
Hi Steve,

Had a very kind PM with an email address

Cheers

Ben

PeteyHoudini
01-23-2013, 11:52 AM
Remco is indeed fantastico! I've gotten some excellent strumming ideas from his videos.

I would pay for advanced strumming lessons from that guy, any day.

Is there a place to hear some song clips like on iTunes, etc... ?

Petey

coolkayaker1
01-23-2013, 03:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGY7DvuJnwU

Here's a cool interview with Remco.

arpie
01-23-2013, 03:45 PM
Any one speak Dutch? Awesome tutorials anyway! Just watching & listening to what the audience is doing with muted strings ...... can help with some of his strum methods.

He is VERY generous to share his techniques so readily!
http://www.youtube.com/user/Yzed999

I would LOVE to see him playing with his Mum one day!!

Roberta

PeteyHoudini
01-23-2013, 04:20 PM
@coolkayaker1: Thanks Steve! You always fill in the artistic gaps for what I'm looking for! 8-) I listened to the whole vid. Yeah, his mom taught him all the Formby stuff and more. Nice going.

@arpie: thanks a lot... never knew about that link! Thank U very much!!!!!!!!! 8-) I don't speak Dutch, only English, French, and German... so I can enjoy these vids! Danke!

Petey

arpie
01-23-2013, 05:49 PM
No worries, Petey! Maybe it is German?? Today is the first time I found them too!! Every now & then, I just put 'ukulelezaza' in the 'search bit' at the top of every Youtube page to see if any new ones have been put up with Remco in them.

There was a 'translate' button on the side of some of them ....... but it only relates to the heading, I think! :( I wonder if they will ever be able to translate the whole verbal bit, one day??

Enjoy!!

Roberta

KoaDependent
01-23-2013, 06:15 PM
For a laugh, try enabling closed captions on a video where someone is speaking English and see where the state of our on-the-fly word recognition is.... we have a way to go.

arpie
01-23-2013, 07:57 PM
...try enabling closed captions on a video where someone is speaking English.....

Good idea! but I would prefer it for other languages! Is there one that does that?

coolkayaker1
01-23-2013, 11:48 PM
Arlie, does Remco teach strums on the DVD ( in English, I pray)?

Does he ever come to the US?

arpie
01-24-2013, 12:12 AM
Hi Coolkayaker

He shows the basics of his method of doing triple strum, split stroke, shake, roll stroke and others ....... and yes, all in excellent English!

He has been to Aussie to the Melbourne Ukulele Festival - I am not sure if he has been to the US.

I know I'd love to see him perform next time he comes over - if he comes up to NSW!!

cheers

Roberta

PeteyHoudini
01-24-2013, 12:06 PM
No worries, Petey! Maybe it is German??

It's in Dutch. German I could follow much easier. 8-)

Petey

coolkayaker1
02-01-2013, 07:08 PM
Hi, arpie et al. I got this lovely package from the Netherlands today. Ukulelezaza CD and DVD and Book. Wow! You are right, arpie...it's exceptional. Here's the email I sent Remco today. I wanted to express my thanks to hmberg and arpie and others that brought this package to my attention. Mahalo.

"Dear Remco: I recently ordered your DVD and instructional book and your CD. You sent them to me in Illinois, USA, and they arrived today. Oh, my Lord, Remco, this is great stuff! I listened to your CD three times tonight while I was working on the computer and changing the strings on my Martin uke.

Your skill reflects the decades of playing that you have under your belt since you were just a child. You are inspiring for me...a player of less than two years. I look forward to your DVD and Instructional book, and I plan to use it this week. Thanks so much, Remco.

Sincerely, CK1" end quote

arpie
02-02-2013, 10:41 AM
SO glad you are enjoying the gear!! I just LOVE the CD - it is SO 'european/french' in style/sound? Hard to describe - but SO GOOD! I have it on in the background quite often & now have it on my laptop so I can take it with me when I travel, whether I have a cd player or not. I love the interaction between the bass, piano accordian & the uke! They mix so well together!

You'll love the book too! I am still trying to master the first one! I love the tune - and in my head, I have 'mastered' it already .... but my fingers tell me another tale!! LOL

Enjoy!!

Roberta

Re the Formby style strums ..... I can do them all individually - but still have difficulty putting them together in a believable tune!!

barefootgypsy
04-12-2013, 05:39 AM
I met Remco a month ago at the last George Formby Society Convention in Blackpool. Remco doesn't sing but he brought the house down with his wonderful instrumentals. I bought the "Painting the Clouds with Sunshine" CD and it's on a continuous loop in my car.... it's wonderful! I must have listened to it about 6 times now! So relaxing ..... I have the tab book and DVD also, but will comment on those separately. Wonderful stuff! And Remco is such a nice person..... I do hope I get another chance to see him play live before too long. And Remco - I play that UB2 every day! :D

arpie
04-12-2013, 11:42 AM
Cool!! I am SO pleased that you love the CD as well!! Well done, BFG! Lucky you, having listened to & met the man!! I have a different 'favourite' every time I listen to it! :D

I am going camping for a week from next weekend and will take the book/cd with me & practise more seriously!!

Roberta

barefootgypsy
04-12-2013, 10:58 PM
Cool!! I am SO pleased that you love the CD as well!! Well done, BFG! Lucky you, having listened to & met the man!! I have a different 'favourite' every time I listen to it! :D

I am going camping for a week from next weekend and will take the book/cd with me & practise more seriously!!

RobertaHi - yes, he's a lovely fella, really is and the GFS folk loved him. It's always inspirational to see a great player live! I did a blog post yesterday about it and I'll be following it up, possibly later today. Happy camping! :D

barefootgypsy
04-13-2013, 03:26 AM
Just a follow-up note to the one I posted earlier - I've just spent a happy hour with the tab book "Happy Days Are Here Again" and its (included) DVD - yes, it is exceptional and I would whole-heartedly this to anyone who likes the old jazz standards and playing chord melodies. The chord melodies are beautiful and all well demonstrated on the DVD - it's excellent! The strums are well-demonstrated too. I love this! Just contact Remco through his youtube channel if you want them. Ukulelezaza......... or PM me for his email address..

coolkayaker1
06-12-2015, 03:13 PM
80582

A package from Gent arrived for me today. Yes! Many of you recommended book 2, and now 'tis mine. Booohoohahaha. Boo. Ho. Haha.

Hippie Dribble
06-12-2015, 03:18 PM
Awesome Steve. Just as much fun as #1...and check out the yummy Hollywoods mate!

coolkayaker1
06-12-2015, 11:07 PM
Awesome Steve. Just as much fun as #1...and check out the yummy Hollywoods mate!

Thanks, Jon. Hollywood ukes...new to me. Yes! What nice and tidy packages Remco makes w these books. Let's pray for a third edition.