Ukes as Art at Wailoa Center

The Big Island Ukulele Guild’s annual exhibit will open Friday October 2 at Wailoa Center in Hilo at 5 p.m. The formal opening will feature live music, pupus, and a drawing for a free ukulele and will close at 8 p.m. This exhibit, which featured over 50 handmade instruments last year, will also feature other invitational pieces from Woodworkers across the Island, including furniture, sculpture, and turned bowls. Show is open Mon. -Fri. from 9am – 4:30pm. The exhibit was hailed as the best-attended show of 2013.

The public is invited to join in the fun for the formal opening, or to come see the show throughout the month, vote for their favorite ukulele for the People’s Choice Award, and join in ukulele kanikapila (jam sessions) on Saturdays October 3rd with Alan Hale, and 17th with Keoki Kahomoku, from 12 until 3 p.m. On Saturday October 10th, members of the Ukulele Guild will lead demonstrations for the public. The exhibit will close October 29th.

The Big Island Ukulele Guild was started in 2001, and is comprised of about 50 members. The primary focus of the Guild is to promote ukulele making by sharing information between builders. Many of the members build as a hobby, while about ten percent build professionally. Any interested person can become a guild member. Members meet four times a year at varying locations across the island to share food, kanikapila, and most importantly, a central presentation on some aspect of ukulele building.

For more information about the Ukulele Guild or upcoming exhibit, contact coordinator  Dave Stokes (808) 989-8890 or visit The Guild website BigIslandUkuleleGuild.org

For more information about the Wailoa Art Center, contact (808) 933-0416.

Hilo News — Ho’okani Pila ‘Ukulele Ensemble Mini Bazaar And Entertainment Set For March 5

Ho’okani Pila announces its mini bazaar and entertainment event on
Saturday, March 5, 2011 from 8 AM – 1PM.  Bazaar will be held at the
Hilo Hongwanji YBA Hall at 398 Kilauea Avenue.  Miscellaneous items,
plants, crafts, wood products, food items, baked goods and rummage
items will be on sale.  There will be a concession for event goers.
Special Entertainment by Brittni Paiva, Waiakea ‘Ukulele Band, Lynn
and Lyles Yokoyama and Daniel Izumo is on tap throughout the morning!
Please come and support this group’s fundraising efforts
(Submitted by BJ Soriano.)

The ‘Ukulele Beat — From Over The Pali, The Grandiose ‘Akaka Falls

Leslie Nitta art

By BJ Soriano

In an effort to expand my horizon outside the world of music or to be more specific, the ‘ukulele–not because I tire of it — but just to make a concerted effort in taking stock of other beauties surrounding me here in Hawai’i, I felt compelled and led to start my journey with revisiting again, and surely not my last, ‘Akaka Falls.  It just seemed that this was the right thing to do.

According to our modern-day technological encyclopedia, Wikipedia, “ ‘Akaka Falls is located about 11 miles (18 km) north from Hilo, west of Honomu off the Hawaii Belt Road (route 19) at the end of Hawaii Route 220.  ‘Akaka Falls is a 422 feet tall waterfall.  The waterfall is located on Kolekole Stream.  A large stone in the stream about 70 feet upstream of the falls is called Pōhaku o Kāloa.”  The falls can be viewed from several points along the .4-mile trail that loops the ‘Akaka Falls State Park, where a deep gorge awaits the waterfall as it plunges off a ridge. Read more

The Ukulele Beat — One Showing Of ‘The Mighty Uke’ At The Palace Thursday

Image courtesy of The Rymer Gallery

(Media release) — Originally brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants, the tiny instrument  first captured the musical imaginations of the Hawaiian royal court in the 1880’s. With the dawn of the radio broadcasting age, ukulele music owned the airwaves. Broadway produced ukulele musicals. Hollywood produced ukulele movie stars. The little instrument was so inexpensive and easy to play that by the early twenties the uke was the most popular instrument in the American home and the first musical voice for millions of children.

Mighty Uke travels the world to discover why so many people of different nations, cultures, ages and musical tastes are turning to the ukulele to express themselves, connect with the past, and with each other.

The show will open up with Hilo’s own Ho’okani Pila and Ukulele Ensemble under the direction of B.J. Soriano. There will be a performance by renowned ukulele artist Brittni Paiva and Q&A with filmmaker Tony Coleman will follow the screening.

Tickets are $12/general and $10/children 12 years and younger. Call (808) 934-7010 for info and to purchase tickets with a credit card, or stop by the Palace Theater Box Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hilo News — Tickets On Sale For Waiakea Intermediate School ‘Ukulele Band’s 40-Year ‘Ukulele Reunion Concert On March 13

Nina Johansson artThe Waiakea Intermediate School (WIS) Ukulele Band is planning a trip Japan this year, and a part of their fundraising efforts is a 40-year ‘ukulele reunion concert.   The planners of the event hope to have as many of all former WIS ‘Ukulele Band members attend. The event is scheduled for  5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, March 13, 2010 at Aunty Sally’s Luau House.  Buy a ticket for $15, which provides you dinner  along with five hours of entertainment.  There will also be a silent auction to help the students raise funds for their trip.  Visit www.waiakeaukuleleband.com to order tickets and find out more details of the fundraiser and the Japan trip.

Hawaii News — Cyril Pahinui And Don Kaulia Live On The Internet From Gabby Pahinui’s House On Sunday

cyril-workshop(Media release) — LiveHawaiianMusic.com is excited to be bringing you a live broadcast from the legendary Pahinui Waimanalo Homestead at 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, featuring Cyril Pahinui and Don Kaulia. This kanikapila and workshop is put on monthly by Cyril Pahinui, son of Hawaiian Music legend Gabby Pahinui.

During the 80’s the Waimanalo Homestead became legendary for the Kanikapila Jam Sessions that took place there. Now Cyril continues the tradition, by putting on these monthly workshop and jam sessions. Started in August 2008, these gatherings were reestablished to perpetuate and preserve the uniqueness of Hawaii’s music. Read more

The ‘Ukulele Beat — A Little Off The ‘Beat-en’ Path, A Tribute To My Teacher

 

(BJ Soriano, born and raised in Hawaii, has enjoyed many years teaching her passion for the ‘ukulele to others, so that they, too, may become as passionate. Check out BJ’s Strum & Scrapbook Studio at 190 Keawe Street #27 in Hilo, call (808) 557-0708 or visit her website at www.bjsstrumandscrapbook.com.)

 — Flashback…It’s early September, 1970; I was 12, just one tiny year before the whims and whams of teenage-ness would set in.  It was the first day of school at Waiakea Intermediate School.  I was elated that I was enrolled in the elective I actually signed up for, Band–I also signed up for ‘Ukulele, and well, that’s another story–I wondered, could I be so lucky?    Needless to say, I was excited beyond measure.  No longer an “elementarian,” I was officially an “intermediatarian.”  And now, it was time to venture into the world of music.  I couldn’t wait. 

So, there it stood, in the middle of what I would call nowhere, alone and almost as far as the wood shop was from the rest of the school classrooms, a classroom—a portable—taller for some reason than all the rest of the buildings on the campus.  I approached the building with great anticipation; after all, this was the Band Room.   Read more

The ‘Ukulele Beat — Bill Tapia, “Duke Of The Uke,” Still Jazzing Up The ‘Uke At 101

 

(BJ Soriano, born and raised in Hawaii, has enjoyed many years teaching her passion for the ‘ukulele to others, so that they, too, may become as passionate. Check out BJ’s Strum & Scrapbook Studio at 190 Keawe Street #27 in Hilo, call (808) 557-0708 or visit her website at www.bjsstrumandscrapbook.com.)

 Just when you think you’ve heard it all, seen it all, and boldly announce that surely, you’ve introduced the best of the best when it came to astounding, phenomenal and legendary ‘ukulele players, you find yourself crawling under a rock, because it just isn’t so.  Let me introduce to you to yet another legend, the “duke of the uke,” Bill Tapia. 

Seriously folks, I’d like to ask how many of us think about what we’re going to be doing when we hit 100 years of age?  Let me see, maybe 25 people out of our State’s million plus population might ask that question.  Most of us would be happy to be walking at 70.  Okay, well, maybe 80.  But, heck, here’s someone, just 101 years of age; none other than Bill Tapia, ladies and gentlemen, who still walks, talks, sings, charms the pants off of you and oh, by the way before I forget, plays, performs, records and teaches the ‘ukulele.  And I thought my 30 years at teaching ‘ukulele was of some significance. So, just where does one begin when talking about this kind of extraordinary history? 

Here’s an interesting fact, Bill Tapia is the oldest working musician in the United States; maybe even the world.  Read more

The ‘Ukulele Beat — How To Play The ‘Ukulele, Lesson #1

(BJ Soriano, born and raised in Hawaii, has enjoyed many years teaching her passion for the ‘ukulele to others, so that they, too, may become as passionate. Check out BJ’s Strum & Scrapbook Studio at 190 Keawe Street #27 in Hilo, call (808) 557-0708 or visit her website at www.bjsstrumandscrapbook.com.)

Want to play the ‘ukulele?  Want to give playing the ‘ukulele a try by just reading my column?  Let’s give it a whirl.

The first step is to have an ‘ukulele in hand.  Stop reading this article, stand up and get an ‘ukulele, any ‘ukulele and join me once again.

Second step, ensure that your ‘ukulele has as least four strings.  This week’s first lesson is learning how to hold the ‘ukulele, learning the language of the ‘ukulele and learning the correct way to finger chords.  Click on the link below for your first lesson which comes from my instructional book, “Getting By and Going Beyond the ‘Ukulele.”

Book contents Copyright © BJ’s Strum & Scrapbook Studio; 190 Keawe St #27; Hilo, HI 96720 November 2008, all rights reserved    

ukulele

article-ukulele-how-tolesson-one

See you next week, for Lesson 2 of “How to Play the ‘Ukulele.”  You’ll learn how to tune your ‘ukulele and learn some basic chords and songs to get you strumming. 

The ‘Ukulele Beat — Ernest Kaai Showed The World How The ‘Ukulele Can Go Solo

(BJ Soriano, born and raised in Hawaii, has enjoyed many years teaching her passion for the ‘ukulele to others, so that they, too, may become as passionate. Check out BJ’s Strum & Scrapbook Studio at 190 Keawe Street #27 in Hilo, call (808) 557-0708 or visit her website at www.bjsstrumandscrapbook.com.)

In my last article, I expounded on the accomplishments of the legendary Johnny Kameaaloha Almeida, who was touted back in the 1900’s as the “Dean of Hawaiian music.”  But, to deduce that Mr. Almeida was the first and premier ‘ukulele virtuoso would have been a bit premature on my part, because I learned that early in the 20th century, like Almeida, Ernest Kaleihoku Kaai, known as the “Father of Hawaiian music” and “Hawai‘i’s Greatest ‘Ukulele Player” would rise to that acclaim.  Ernest Kaleihoku Kaai graced our Hawaiian Islands from 1881 – 1962.  It is said that he performed in many places around the world.  Not only a great musician, he also organized music ensembles and composed and published music throughout his life.  One of these ensembles, The Royal Hawaiian Troubadours, toured the Far East with Ernest Kaai; and at one time, he had as many as 12 bands in Hawai‘i.  Read more

The ‘Ukulele Beat — John Kameaaloha Almeida, Hawaiian Music Composer/Instrumentalist Guru

 

(BJ Soriano, born and raised in Hawaii, has enjoyed many years teaching her passion for the ‘ukulele to others, so that they, too, may become as passionate. Check out BJ’s Strum & Scrapbook Studio at 190 Keawe Street #27 in Hilo, call (808) 557-0708 or visit her website at www.bjsstrumandscrapbook.com.)

 I thought I’d take a break from writing the ‘ukulele history series and concentrate m research on one of Hawai‘i’s most prolific composers and ‘ukulele virtuosos, John Kameaaloha Almeida. 

Johnny Almeida’s life spanned 88 years, 1897 – 1985, and during his lifetime, he composed over 300 songs.  If one did the math and supposed he started composing at the age of fifteen and continued writing up until his death, that would pencil out to at least four songs per year.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I think most people would consider themselves quite successful if they were able to punch out just one song a year.  So, that in itself, I think, was a remarkably amazing accomplishment.  Read more

The ‘Ukulele Beat — The ‘Ukulele: Who’s Who And Where?

(BJ Soriano, born and raised in Hawaii, has enjoyed many years teaching her passion for the ‘ukulele to others, so that they, too, may become as passionate. Check out BJ’s Strum & Scrapbook Studio at 190 Keawe Street #27 in Hilo, call (808) 557-0708 or visit her website at www.bjsstrumandscrapbook.com.)

Editor’s Note:  This is part one of a series.

Calling all ‘ukulele players, calling all ‘ukulele players, stand up and be recognized.  Where else but Hawai`i can we find them and just who are the “who’s who” of ‘ukulele virtuosos?  Let’s explore in today’s column, the answers to those very two questions. Read more

The ‘Ukulele Beat — To Be An Average ‘Ukulele Toting Musician Is A Wonderful Goal

BJ Soriano

BJ Soriano

(Consider this the launch of a new guest column entitled, “The ‘Ukulele Beat,” written by my friend, former colleague in the County Clerk’s office, and ‘ukulele kumu, BJ Soriano. BJ Soriano, born and raised in Hawaii, has enjoyed many years teaching her passion for the ‘ukulele to others, so that they, too, may become as passionate. Check out BJ’s Strum & Scrapbook Studio at 190 Keawe Street #27 in Hilo or visit her website at www.bjsstrumandscrapbook.com.)

There’s a lot to be said about the ‘ukulele, its origin, its folklore, its past, its present and its future. There are some that say that the history of the uke (its affectionate name) is probably a “good to know,” but in the same breath question just how important is it to know history in order to play the ‘ukulele.

Read more