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.
Raised on Maui, Willie K (Willie Kahaiali`i) has been entertaining audiences with his music since the age of 10. The Hawaiian phenomenon Willie K is undoubtedly the only artist in the world who can go into an Irish pub in the middle of Maui and play anything from indigenous acoustic Hawaiian music to jazz, reggae, rock, country and even opera—and not only get away with it but leave everyone slack-jawed in astonishment. Willie released his first CD, “Kahaiali’i” in 1992 and has since earned multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards for his many CD recordings and was also a Grammy Music Awards nominee.
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.
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 Hansel 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 sStarted their professional carrier 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.
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.
“Come and Join Us”
Theme Song CD
Ukulele Festival DVD