Ukulele

‘Ukulele at Still & Moving Center

Learn to play this uniquely Hawaiian musical instrument, held close to the heart. In our online and in-person ukulele class, we start with basics: how to hold our ‘ukulele, how to form the chords with our fingers, as well as different ways to strum and pick the four strings. We play Hawaiian music, Hapa Haole music, as well as contemporary and vintage songs. And we strum for pure enjoyment. 

The ‘ukulele originally came to the Hawaiian islands as a folk instrument from the island of Madeira off Portugal. The woodworkers who originally brought the instrument came to work on Hawaii’s sugar plantations. The Hawaiians were so enchanted, they named this new instrument ‘ukulele, which implies quick liveliness. In Hawaiian, ‘ukulele is pronounced “oo-ku-lay-lay” rather than “you-ka-lay-ly”. 

The ‘ukulele soon found its way into the hearts and hands of local Hawaiian musicians, including King Kalakaua himself in the 1800s. The ‘ukulele has been associated with Hawaiian music ever since. In the last decade or so we’ve seen a huge wave of interest in the ukulele on the world music scene, inspired by the likes of Jake Shimabukuro and Taimane here on the islands.

Music lies at the heart of Hawaiian culture, today as much as long ago. Follow along as Kumu Malia Helela, Still & Moving Center’s delightful cultural practitioner, teaches us to strum the ‘ukulele. Students of all levels are welcome to learn this music that’s steeped in the traditions and sounds of Hawaii!

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