ellajenkins.jpegIt’s time to celebrate (on video, this time) the most famous ukulele player in children’s music – Ella Jenkins.

The Grammy-winning CD cELLAbration was released by Smithsonian Folkways in 2004 as a tribute to Jenkins – someone whose name everyone working in the children’s department of any library knows. Jenkins, from Chicago, has been recording music since 1959 (see a video about her here); she turned 83 in August. Two of the performers on the cELLAbration CD, Marcy Marxer and Cathy Fink (who also both play uke, among other instruments), organized an Ella Jenkins tribute concert in the Washington, DC area in 2006, and everyone who appeared on the album agreed to show up and sing.

The DVD of the concert appears in online and 3D stores on October 23, and if there are Ella Jenkins fans among your users, you’ll want it for your collection. There’s definitely one song here, Jenkins’s “Jambo” as sung by Red Grammer, that I want to learn to sing in storytimes.

You’ll see lots of famous gray-haired folkies in this concert, such as Tom Paxton, John McCutcheon, and Pete Seeger (who’s still out there singing and playing banjo at 88). And Ella Jenkins herself appears (see the picture), with her baritone ukulele in hand. It’s great fun for children and adults.