From London to Japan, the ukulele has become popular again, and never more so than here in Hawaii! Young people are again listening to favorite singers and players whose instrument of choice is the ukulele. Of course, it has been popular in Hawaii since its arrival here around August 1879. According to legend, a British ship arrived carrying a passenger by the name of Joale Fernendez who was toting a small, compact musical instrumemt. Upon arriving safely in Honolulu, he began to rejoice by singing and playing Portuguese folk songs on his, you guessed it, ukulele! The Hawaiian people took notice of this new form of entertainment and soon King David Kalakaua himself had mastered this instrument and was entertaining his court with his playing of the ukulele! The rest, as they say, is history. Famous names through the years such as Marilyn Monroe, George Harrison (of the Beatles), Elvis, Don Ho, Arthur Godfrey, and Tiny Tim (remember him?)have learned to play the ukulele. There is even an Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain! Two well known names in Hawaii these days are Jake Shimobukuro and the late Israel Kamakawiwo`ole, but there are many other excellent ukulele players to choose from!
If you want to find out more about this small instrument with a big following, you can visit Hawaii Music Supply’s…The Ukulele Site, right in Haleiwa town. They carry a vast selection of ukuleles and can give you great advice on who to listen to and how to learn to play! We have seen 6-10 year olds strumming away and we are sure you will find the ukulele easy, fun, fascinating, and truly enjoyable. So give ukulele music a try, if you haven’t already. We think you will be very glad you did!