The ukulele has a long history starting in Portugal and migrating to Hawaii where it morphed to suit local needs and desires. It’s not the only Portuguese import to Hawaii, that list is not short: Portuguese sausage, malasadas, sweet bread, Portuguese bean soup, and perhaps even Lomilomi salmon.
Anyway, I digress. I was reading a recent issue of Hawai’i magazine and there is an article about Sam Rosen and Holualoa Ukulele Gallery. It’s on the Kona side of the island, but if you are over there, you might want to give it a quick visit. Check out the ukuleles and more. But what I found fascinating is that Sam teaches visitors how to make their own ukulele. In an intensive 10 day, 7hr/day class, the student can learn to and build his or her own ukulele. Check out the video on the site for a slide show of some of the people who’ve built their own, quite beautiful, ukulele. Ok, so the time and money ($1,000) commitment is not trivial, but if you play, want to learn to play or have a loved-ukulele player you want to give quite a gift to, it might be something to consider. I’m putting it on my ‘what to do in retirement’ bucket list . If you don’t want to spend the time and money to make your own, you could always buy one.
Want to learn more about ukuleles and how to play them? There’s lots of help from the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii and sites or blogs like UkuleleHunt and Live Ukulele. Hmm, maybe instead of a guitar I’ll learn ukulele .
Below I’ll leave you with some ukulele recordings:
A recording of some traditional Hawaiian music with the ukulele:
A popular and beautiful rendition of “over the rainbow” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole (may he rest in peace):
And a ukulele rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by one of the biggest ukulele stars today, Jake Shimabukuro. Amazing player, cute and has a great stage presence as you can see on this Ted Talk presentation: