In 1879, Portuguese immigrants arrived in Honolulu to work in the cane fields and brought with them the braguinha. As soon as they jumped off the boat, they started playing the four-string instruments, and Hawaiians who came down to the dock were impressed with the speed of the musicians' fingers as they danced across the fingerboard. The Hawaiians named the new instrument the ‘ukulele, which translates into English as "jumping flea."
Through generations, the ‘ukulele became beloved by the people of Hawai‘i as an instrument of the ali‘i and maka‘āinana alike.
Today, the MACC celebrates the ‘ukulele during the 4th Annual Maui ‘Ukulele Festival on Sunday, Oct. 18, from 2 to 6 pm, free to the public. Renowned ‘ukulele advocate and teacher Roy Sakuma serves as emcee. Popular ‘ukulele players scheduled to perform include Uncle Richard Ho‘opi‘i, Ohta-san, Hula Honeys, Kamakakehau Fernandez and Kanekoa, featuring Vince Esquire.
Fabulous door prizes will be given away throughout the afternoon, including a dozen finely crafted ‘ukulele provided by Kamaka ‘Ukulele, KoAloha ‘Ukulele, Ko‘olau ‘Ukulele, Kanilea ‘Ukulele, Mele ‘Ukulele, Pono ‘Ukulele, Kala ‘Ukulele and Musicguymic on eBay.
Come hungry and thirsty to sample the ‘ono-licious food and beverages at the MACC, and enjoy a kicked back afternoon of island music with fine musicians serenading you on the Events Lawn at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Gates open at 1 p.m.; bring your blankets and lawn chairs.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, a complimentary ‘ukulele workshop will be held in the McCoy Studio Theater at the MACC, beginning at 10 am. The workshop, conducted by Roy Sakuma, is for students of all ages, from children to adults.
Lessons are designed for beginning and intermediate players: the only requirement is that a student must be able to hold C, F and G7 chords. Students should bring their own ‘ukulele, notepaper and a pencil. Space is limited; register by calling 242-SHOW (2787) ext. 221.
And don't forget to purchase your Aerosmith tickets for Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the War Memorial Stadium! Gates open at 4 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.
Maui Weekley, aqui.