Barbara and Liselotte are here to get you Uked

Barbara Tammes and Liselotte Goed live in Beemster and Heiloo, the Netherlands. In issue 37 the writer/illustrator and yoga teacher tell us about their new book, We’re Here to Get You Uked.

What are you up to?

Barbara: “We’ve just published the English version of our book, We’re Here to Get You Uked, which teaches you the basic skills for playing the ukulele. Our mission is to make playing music available to everyone, and with the ukulele we can teach anyone to play an instrument within a couple of hours.”

What is it about this instrument that you both like so much?

Liselotte: “It gives you access to a whole range of music, but it’s much easier to play than a guitar or a piano. The main thing, though, is that we’re in it for the fun and enjoyment, not for performance or perfection.”

What is the strength of your collaboration?

Barbara: “We met at a campsite and Liselotte was playing the ukulele. She taught me a few chords and that evening we were playing together by the campfire. I was so excited. We became friends and started our business. Liselotte has a natural feel for music, and I like to understand how things work.

Together, we figure out how to simplify great songs into step-by-step instructions so anyone can play. We like to make cool stuff simple: that’s what makes us tick: A good example is our collaboration with American singer-songwriter Shanin Blake. Together we transcribed some of her songs for the ukulele so anyone can learn to play them. She even wrote a few new songs for us.”

Do you play other instruments?

Liselotte: “I used to play the piano, but my teacher was so critical that I stopped enjoying it. I wanted to make music, but thought it was about hard work and harsh comments. It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the ukulele that I found out that making music can actually be fun.”

Barbara: “I tried the guitar but that didn’t work out, so I had convinced myself that making music wasn’t for me. That was why it gave me such a kick that all of a sudden, I could play a song.”

What do you like to play?

Liselotte: “Songs by Aretha Franklin, Billie Eilish, Adele, Alicia Keys, the Beatles and Shanin Blake, of course.”

  • You can visit Barbara and Liselotte’s website here.
  • The book We’re Here to Get You Uked can be found here.
  • Read more about what Barbara, Liselotte and more are up to in issue 37.

Text Jeannette Jonker Photography Hannah Busin/