Boston-based Charissa Hoffman has always loved music; raised by a musical family in Nashville, TN, she grew up on the edges of coffeehouse shows and festival stages.
Charissa picked up the ukulele in 2011 and has not put it down since. She loves the challenge of stretching complex arrangements across such a tiny fretboard, and enjoys defying genres in her songwriting and arrangements. "The ukulele is a very accessible instrument," she says. "It can be taken as far as an artist has imagination." As a songwriter, arranger, teacher, performer, and activist, Charissa has led concerts and workshops across the U.S., and has performed alongside artists like Phil Keaggy, Kristin Andreassen, Al Nobriga, and more. In 2018, Charissa became both the youngest and the first female ukulele principal to study at Berklee College of Music. Through Berklee's American Roots program, Charissa has begun writing and performing alongside Lucy Nelligan under the name Buttonwillow; the duo has performed in various locations across New England, notably Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and FreshGrass Festival, and released their first EP in Fall 2019. Also in Fall 2019, Charissa was featured in Ukulele Magazine for her solo recital at Berklee, the first ukulele recital in Berklee's history. In 2020, Charissa was selected to participate in Savannah Music Festival's prestigious Acoustic Music Seminar as a songwriter. While AMS 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual Stringband Spectacular is available here. She was also named a 2020-21 Fletcher Bright scholar by the Berklee American Roots program.
In addition, Charissa has a history of humanitarian work. In 2009, Charissa was awarded the David Chow humanitarian award for her fundraising efforts toward the Philip Hayden foundation. In 2014 Charissa formed the Uke Can End It project and continued as performer and director until the campaign reached its monetary goal in 2017.
Charissa will graduate from Berklee in Spring 2021. After that: the world.