44th Annual Ukulele Festival
July 20, 2014
Herb "Ohta-san" Ohta, internationally renowned musician, began playing the ukulele when he was only 7 years old. Influenced greatly by Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso Eddie Kamae, this exceptional musician is credited for elevating the ukulele to a solo instrument of virtuoso status. Ohta-san's diversity and style reflect his lyrical sense and is respected as the height of ukulele artistry. Ohta san is the world’s most prolific ukulele recording artist.
Danny Kaleikini, Hawaii’s Ambassador of Aloha, has supported the Ukulele Festival since 1972. A legend in Hawaiian entertainment drawing audiences from around the world for well over 40 years, Danny is the spiritual and physical embodiment of aloha. Through his music, cultural promotion, historical awareness and charity, he touches the hearts of millions.
Willie K - Raised on Maui, Willie Kahaiali`i (a.k.a. Willie K) has been entertaining audiences with his music since the age of 10. He has evolved into an eclectic and charismatic singer, songwriter, entertainer, and now actor. One of Hawaii’s most versatile talents, Willie performs a myriad of musical genres, including Hawaiian, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Rock, Country Western, and even Opera. He has played with or opened for musical giants, such as B.B. King, Santana, Al DiMeola, Willie Nelson, Prince, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Rait, Jackson Browne, Mick Fleetwood, George Benson, Jimmy Buffett and more. In 2009 he toured Germany with Simply Red, and in 2013 held his first Uncle Willie K’s BBQ Blues Festival in Maui featuring Elvin Bishop, Angela Strehli, and Steven Tyler. During his 2nd Annual Blues Fest, Willie brought Billy F Gibbons, Mick Fleetwood, Pat Simmons and legendary Robert Belfour to the stage.
Raiatea Helm is a two time Grammy nominee and 8 time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner and recent recipient of the Native Arts and Culture Foundations “Fellowship in Music” award.Her recording and performances have already launched her into the international music scene with extensive concert appearances throughout Japan and Asia. Domestically she has appeared at venues stretching from New York City to San Francisco. Her appeal continues to flourish across all age groups and reaches across geographical boundaries as she collaborates with legends of Hawaiian music: The Brothers Cazimero, The Mahaka Sons, Keali’i Reichel, Ho’okena, Auntie Genoa Keawe, and Ledward Kaapana.
Nick Acosta, 16 years old was born with one hand and arm. Nick started ukulele lessons with instructor Royanne Labuguen and at the age of 9 she brought him under the wings of Roy Sakuma. Nick has become an ukulele extraordinaire inspiring many. Roy Sakuma says, “You think Nick has limits, but he just works around it.” His mom Kim never taught him the words “you can’t” always encouraging Nick ‘you can do whatever you put your mind to.'
Aidan James - He picked up music naturally at the age of 2 and started taking ukulele lessons at 4 years old at the Roy Sakuma Ukulele Studios. At just 8 years old, Aidan became a “YouTube sensation” with his videos of Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” which earned over 20 million views collectively. Aidan has performed with Jack Johnson, HAPA, Mick Fleetwood and Train. He has been featured in Hawaii Five-0, in Train’s music video “Mermaid” and featured at LA’s legendary Whiskey A Go Go. Aidan recently released his first single on iTunes – “One of the One’s” which was also featured on an episode of “Hawaii Five-0”.
Roy Sakuma Ukulele 700 piece Ukulele Band - An ukulele orchestra of 800 students from 5 to 85 will take the stage at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki and delight the crowd. They’ll perform Hawaiian, oldies, pop, reggae, jazz, country, rock, classical – tunes that you never imagined could be played on the ukulele.
Kalama Int. Ukulele Band - Maui - The Kalama Intermediate School Ukulele Band, under the direction of Benny Uyetake, is from Makawao, Hawaii. The band is comprised of students from Kula, Paia, Makawao, Pukalani, Haiku, and the surrounding areas of upcountry Maui. The Kalama Intermediate School Ukulele Band performs throughout the state of Hawaii at various music and Ukulele Festivals. The band performs many styles of music that shows the diversity that makes the music of Hawaii. Director Benny Uyetake is a native of Hilo Hawaii and now makes Maui his home. Benny has been playing music since the age of 11 and has been influenced by Dorothy Thompson, Edith Kanakaole, George Naope, Jesse Kalima Sr., Al Nalei, and many others.
Sunset Strummers – San Diego, CA. Back by popular demand, the Sunset Strummers have about 70 members mostly seniors, but they welcome children, too. Directed by Hawaii born Eleanor Nedjar.
The Kolohe Ukulele Club meets weekly at the Island Bazaar in Huntington Beach, CA and performs at community events throughout the year. Director Doug Ramsay studied under Bill Tapia for seven years and also played with Henry Kamae. Coordinator and musical arranger, Bobby Tomei, has produced cd's and his stylized arrangements for Kolohe are fun and unique.
Na Kupuna Ukulele Club originated in 1997 by Calvin Lee who was born and raised in Kakaako. As you can see from our name, Na Kupuna, we are primarily senior citizens from Chicago, IL. Over the years, younger people have joined our club as there is a growing interest in the ukulele. Calvin passed away in 2011 and his son Kaleo Lee teaches our club. Calvin's 3 granddaughters will also be performing with us at this year's 44th Annual Ukulele Festival. It was the highlight of our lives when we first performed at your festival in 2006.
Adrien Janiak – Born and raised in northern France, Adrien started his musical journey learning guitar at the age of ten. He first studied gypsy swing, then electric guitar when he discovered metal and rock music. From jazz to death metal, through funk and acoustic, he experienced many genres, nurturing his style with various influences. In 2010, many bands, many gigs, many places later, in a music shop, his path crossed the four string tiny instrument – the ukulele. It was love at first sight and the beginning of the real journey that brought Adrien up from many places to the Ukulele Festival in Honolulu, HI. And that’s how a guitarist playing the ukulele becomes an accomplished ukulele player. Adrien travels around the world performing and teaching, committed to spreading the joy and happiness of the ukulele.
Ukastle Ukestra is from Australia's most vibrant and successful ukulele city – Newcastle. They are widely recognized as Australia's best community ukulele group and have entertained audiences all over Australia and Hawaii since their formation in late 2009. Members of the Ukastle Ukestra come from the 200+ people who each week participate in Ukestras directed by Mark Jackson and Jane Jelbart who teach and conduct ukestras and choirs for adults and children in Newcastle.
Ryo Montgomery is fresh from a tour of USA. Doing shows for his sponsor KoAloha Ukulele in Hawaii and LA, a show with Tommy Emmanuel in Mesa, Arizona and a national tour. Ryo is beaming from the tour and ready to throw everything he has at the 44th Annual Ukulele Festival with his new album "Ukulele Blitzkrieg". Ryo plays in the style of Tommy & Phil Emmanuel, Chet Atkins, Django Reinhardt, George Benson, Brad Paisley, Joe Robinson, Ric Montgomery, and many other Jazz/Blues/Country greats!
Ukulele Union is a community group made up of two separate groups called Hibiscus Ukes and Shorecooleles. Avon Hansen-Beadle started the both groups over two years ago. Once we started doing performances then people from both groups started to play which is when Ukulele Union was created. Everyone one enjoys getting together once a week for song and strumming. There is something for everyone.
Fulare-Pad - Kyoto, Japan - Fulare-Pad is a combination of a Japanese word "furari" and a English word "pad" referred to as a free and easy journey. Their unique harmony of ukulele and acoustic guitar takes you on a musical journey soothing your soul. Daisuke Maeda and Hideyuki Shimizu started their professional career in 2008, and has released three CD’s and performed nationally and internationally including Hawaii, Canada, Thailand, Australia and Italy. Their recent CD "ARIGATO" has made their worldwide debut on iTunes.
Boo Takagi – In 1964 Boo Takagi joined the comedy band, The Drifters, and opened for the Beatles first concert in Japan. The Drifters weekly TV show became the most watched TV show in Japan. In 1985 Boo Takagi started his solo act. For spreading the Hawaiian culture in Japan, he received his Hawaiian name "Hoakokua" from Rubellite Kawena Johnson, a direct descendant of King Kamehameha. Hoakokua means "helping friends, sharing the spirits."
Kanazawa Junior Ukulele Orchestra - The Kanazawa Junior Ukulele Orchestra is a group of elementary and junior high school students.
Republic of Korea
Korea Bambell Ukestra is one of the most well known groups in Korea. They consist of 46 members who play Ukulele, U-Bass as well as Percussive instruments such as Cajon & Djembe. Their repertory is classic, latin, jazz, African, Arabian, as well as Indian music. KBU has been performing in Korea since 2010 and have been invited to the 2014 Fenya International Ocarina Festival in Jiaxing, China, the 42th Annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii in 2012, Lahaina Resort, Maui, Japan America Cultural Community Center in L.A and will soon perform in Vancouver, Canada as well as Edinburgh Festival, UK. Their director and conductor, Changsoo Kim is composer, conductor, Sitar & Tabla player, Ukulele player, educator and founded the Korea Aloha Ukulele Festival in 2006. He is an ambassador of Korean Ukulele education who taught over 100,000 school teachers and president of Korean Ukulele Music Association. He has been teaching world music & ethnomusicology at Seoul National University since 1996.
Bebin Ukulele Group - Bebin Primary School is in the east coast of Taiwan, Hualien. It is the first and only school in Taiwan that provides compulsory ukulele classes and lessons in which all the students and staff are attending twice every week. Having being awarded as one of the top three most characteristic schools in the country, Bebin was invited to the capital for a Christmas charity event.
StarWish is a ukulele band from Taiwan formed in 2011 by Annier Lee, the band leader on ukulele, bassist James Chu, and cajonist Wei Liu. StarWish plays pop, jazz, rock and roll, folk on 4-string. StarWish has done more than 100 performances around Taiwan, Shanghai, and Thailand and just released their first CD.
Asaloha - Asada Atornphatai and Apirak make up the group Asaloha. It is Asada Atornphatai’s greatest honor to perform in the Ukulele Festival of Hawaii where he was first inspired to pursue his ukulele lifestyle. Asada is the founder of the Thailand Ukulele Festival. Years ago, he fell in love with ukulele, but the instrument was not available in Thailand. He traveled to Japan to get his first ukulele and opened up Ribbee Ukulele Paradise, the first ukulele shop in Thailand. After his first experience at Ukulele Festival Hawaii in 2009, he was inspired to start the Thailand Ukulele Festival and Ukulele Contest in 2010 where Singto Numchok was the first winner. Asada Atronphatai performs under the name of “Asaloha” with his band mate Apirak Sirinanthakul. One of Asaloha's famous song, “Ukulele...I Love You” is translated to English, Japanese, and Tagalog version and heard around the ukulele world.
“Come and Join Us”
Theme Song CD
Ukulele Festival DVD