Get a Uke of Your Own
Inspired by Eddie Vedder’s ‘Ukulele Songs? Think you could be the next Jake Shimabukuro? Or just want to be able to strum along to songs such as Sitting, Waiting, Wishing by Jack Johnson or Iz’s version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow? Check out local musical instrument shops in Hilo or Kailua-Kona to try strumming the instrument’s four strings yourself and even buy your own uke to take home with you.
As for the history of the ‘ukulele (pronounced “ookoo-leh-leh,” not “you-ka-le-le”), it arrived in Hawai‘i with Portuguese immigrants in the late 1800s along with malasadas and sweet bread. Since then, the ‘ukulele has been a key part of kani ka pila (backyard jam sessions) and popular Hawaiian tunes.
Buy one for yourself and learn all about the different sizes, styles and woods at Kiernan Music in old town Kainaliu. Here you can talk to expert luthiers at the only fully staffed repair and custom-made ‘ukulele and guitar shop on the island. They carry a full range of new, used and vintage instruments for beginners and expert players alike, and offer a variety of learn-to-play books and DVDs, as well as referrals to local instructors for short visitor lesson programs.
• Kiernan Music (808) 322-4939