Ukulele Love

Ukulele festivals

Pineapple Ukulele Photography by Carole Carraway

My dog has fleas. This age old tuning trick for the ukulele may be familiar to some of you, but the strum of a uke is a sound so distinctive, for most, it could only mean HAWAII…

If you’ve traveled to the Islands, or dream of going someday, songs produced from those humble 4 strings and 3 chords will transport you instantly. Close your eyes, listen to the uke and your feet are suddenly in the soft white (or black, or green) sand of your favorite beach. Your Mai Tai awaits as an epic sunset unfolds and the breezy aromas of gardenia and plumeria intoxicate. Are you an avid player? Collector? Woodworker? Or do you just enjoy listening? There are countless options to enjoy the sounds of The Mighty Ukulele when you are on vacation on The Big Island.

Ukulele Hawaii cultureThe uke is deeply woven into Hawaiian culture and is found at nearly every musical event and ceremony in Hawaii. We can thank the late Brother Iz for his iconic rendition of Over the Rainbow and Jake Shimabukaru for his electric fast-picking style, as their work has a new generation flowering in a ukulele renaissance! The “everyman” instrument, uke inspiration is found across the mainstream music scene.  Eddy Vedder, Roger Daltry, Elvis Costello, Jack Johnson and yes, even  The Beatles have been known to embrace the humble ukulele sound!

So how can you experience the magic of the ukulele when you are on The Big Island?

Ukulele Gallery Holualoa Hawaii

Cigar Box Ukulele                     Photography by Carole Carraway

-The Big Island in March hosts the Annual Waikoloa Ukulele Festival. A free event, uke enthusiasts gather for performances by the best in Hawaii and from around the world!
-Are you here during the full moon? Let Holualoa Inn pack you a picnic and head to the Mauna Lani’s lawn adjacent to the ancient fish ponds. Here, as the sun sets and the moon rises you can listen to the ukulele, watch hula and hear  the best storytellers on the island “talk story” and share Hawaiian legends.

-By far the best ukulele adventure is on the Island is to head up the hill from Kona to our neck of the woods, Holualoa Village, to visit Sam Rosen at his Ukulele Gallery. Housed in the old town post office, Sam’s Gallery is part museum, part woodworking studio and part classroom; it’s a house of ukulele love!  Sam is happy to talk story about his unique collection of instruments, each with its own character. Pieces includes the classic Pineapple, the Cigar Box , and his treasured 1951 Kamaka. Sam also has workshops for the fledgling ukulele craftsman, but you may need to extend your vacation into an artist’s retreat!  Let Sam show you his world and you may just want to stay, just as he did decades ago.

Stay with us at our Big Island bed and breakfast and let your Ukulele adventure begin!