A Choan Gálvez portrait

Choan Gálvez (b. 1976) is a composer and performer from Spain, whose main dedication is the ukulele.

He’s composed a large opus of instrumentals and, to date, he’s published four books of original music for solo ukulele. His works have been premiered and recorded by the likes of Giovanni Albini, Donald Bousted, and Samantha Muir, among others.

He’s also released two albums under his own name.

Here’s an introduction to Choan Gálvez’s music playlist.

A ukulele story

In 2008, Choan bought his first ukulele accidentally, while actually looking for a Brazilian cavaquinho. When he began investigating the instrument, he was immediately hooked by the jazz style of Lyle Ritz and the classical arrangements of John King. Profiting from his background on guitar, he was soon making his own arrangements, and years later, while expecting a baby, started composing lullabies for solo ukulele. Some of these pieces where compiled in Lullabies for Astronauts.

He occassionally performs live, but he currently spends most of his ukulele time composing and teaching.

In ensemble ukulele settings, he’s played with Pequeño Formato and leads Doctor Guapo.

Pre-ukulele

Choan’s first instrument was the bandurria, that he started playing at elementary school. As a teenager he was part of a variety of bands in his hometown, Zaragoza, altenating between electric bass, and electric, acoustic and classical guitar. He played–and enjoyed–many different genres: punk, pop-rock, progressive, celtic, classical… by the end of the nineties, he used to play contemporary classical guitar (including his own compositions) in cafés, but punk-folk on bigger venues with Peirot e Compaña.

When he moved to Barcelona (1999) he put his public musical activities on hold until he found a new friend in the ukulele.