Ukulele - Hawaii's Most Popular Musical Instrument

Ukelele ( spelled ukelele in britain, abbreviated to uke; pronounced yoo-kuh-ley-lee [American English] or oo-koo-ley-ley [original Hawaiian]) is often a small, guitar-like lute with four to ten strings. Created in the 1880s, the ukulele may be the Hawaiian interpretation from the Portuguese braguinha.

Hawaii's most famous musical instrument produces big tone and sweet sound. Ukuleles usually appear in 4 sizes: Soprano (or what Hawaiians refer to as Standard size), Concert, Tenor , and Baritone. The Solid Body Cutaway is a newer innovation.

Ukuleles are normally made from wood, however, there are a few models made of plastic or even a composite of plastic and wood. Expensive models are made from hardwood (e.g.mahogany, kulawood, spruce, and sequoia), the costliest of which are made from koa tree.

A normal ukulele features a figure 8 shape prefer that of an small beginners guitar. In addition there are other interesting shape variations including oval (called pineapple ukulele), boat paddle, and square (usually made out of a classic wooden cigar box).


Ukulele was brought to the Hawaiians by Portuguese immigrants. To celebrate their arrival on August 23, 1879, Joao Fernandes played Portuguese folk songs around the wharf by using a braguinha borrowed from your friend. Hawaiians who witnessed him on the dock where so impressed not just together with his music, but in addition with all the speed of his fingers: it seemed like they danced through the fingerboard. Hence, they referred to as the instrument "ukulele," meaning "jumping flea."

(Queen Lili'uokalani, the past monarch of Hawaii, gave a different version for the origins of "ukulele". She thought ukulele meant "the gift that came here," from uku meaning "the gift" and lele meaning "to come.")

There was 419 immigrants aboard the ship Ravenscrag, but three people would be the first to create ukulele shops. They were Manuel Nunes, Augustine Dias, and Joao Fernandes.

Within 10 years after the arrival of the Portuguese, the ukulele became Hawaii's most favored instrument. It is known that Joao Fernandes would have been a key behind this, as they spent time and effort messing around Honolulu regarding his instrument.

Ukelele: A royal endorsement

It had been also from Fernandes that King Kalakaua first heard

the music in the ukulele, but he learned to learn it from Augusto Diaz. He encouraged rrt had been played during royal gatherings. A patron of arts, King Kalakaua's enthusiasm over ukulele made it more acceptable to people of Hawaii. It was played by Hawaiian from all of walks of life--- from taro farmers to fishermen to royalties. Other royalties who learned how you can play included Queen Emma, Queen Lili'uokalani, Prince Leleihoku, and Princess Likelike.

In 1915, ukulele's popularity gone after the mainland from San Francisco through the Panama Pacific International Exposition. Consequently, ukulele sales increased. Together with its sweet sound,

From US the mainland, ukulele moved to the UK and also to other world. The ukulele even became a symbol from the Jazz Age.

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