Performers

45th Annual Ukulele Festival

July 19, 2015

Herb Ohta-san Ohta

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

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 Kahaiali`i

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.

Paula Fuga

Herb Ohta, Jr.

International recording artist Herb Ohta, Jr., is one of today's most prolific `ukulele masters. Influenced by Jazz, R&B, Latin and Brazilian music, he puts his stamp on Hawaiian music by pushing the limits of tone and technique on this beautiful instrument. The son of `ukulele legend "Ohta-san," he started playing at the age of three, and teaching at the age of nine. He now shares the music of Hawai‘i and the beauty of the ‘ukulele with people around the world, performing and conducting instructional workshops. This multi Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner (Hawaiian equivalent to the Grammy) and four-time Hawai‘i Music Award winner effortlessly translates the beauty and culture of Hawai‘i through his creative expression of music.

Aidan James

Nick Acosta

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.'

Ukulele Band

Roy Sakuma Ukulele 800 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.

Australia

Central Coast Ukulele Club

Ryo Montgomery

California

Aloha Picking Ohana

Aloha Picking Ohana – The Aloha Picking Ohana are students from the Los Angeles area with instructor Mel Ogata, a 1956 graduate of Maui High School. Most of the students are retired senior citizens with Hawaii roots. The picking style is from the 1950’s where chords form the foundation for creating the melody. The Ohana has performed previously at Ukulele Festival Hawaii in 2013 and also at the Kumukahi Festival in Las Vegas at the Sam’s Town Concert Hall and various venues throughout Southern California.

Sunset Strummers Ukulele Ohana

Canada

Langley Ukulele Ensemble

Israel

Ukulele For Peace

Italy

Jontom

Jontom – After having spent most of his life composing music, Luca Tomassini jumped on the ukulele many years ago. That was the beginning of a new path, the beginning of "Jontom". Thrilled by the shadows beneath those four strings, he brought the ukulele into the heart of the Eternal City, his hometown Rome.

Japan

Boo Takagi

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."

Fulare Pad

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.

Nihon Ukulele Association

Nihon Ukulele Association – NUA is a non-profit organization for Amateur Ukulele Players in Japan. It was founded in 1959 by Harry Yukihiko Haida, a Hawaiian-born Japanese-American who contributed a lot to bring 'Hawaiian Music' to Japanese people, and is having more than 50 years of history to promote ukulele music and friendship with Hawaiian people.

Yamaha Music School of Ukulele

YAMAHA Music School of Ukulele was established in 1997 and now has over 4000 students. We are happy to have the Niulani Akane Hula Studio join us at the 45th Annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii. Our motto is to have fun! to enjoy music! to give aloha to everyone!

Tatae Kolohe Imamura

Tatae "Kolohe" Imamura – 85 years old “Kolohe” started playing the ukulele at the age of 20. He founded the "Kolohe Imamura Ukulele School" and also the Hawaiian music group "Kolohe Imamura & Lei Kings". Kolohe has been performing at Ukulele Festival Hawaii for 19 consecutive years since 1995.

Korea

Korea Ukulele Orchestra

Korea Ukulele Orchestra (KUO) has performed in the Korea Ukulele Festival since 2011 and will soon perform in China, Taiwan, Japan and Canada. They consist of 56 members who play ukulele, string, brass, percussion. Their conductor, James Jeong, is president of Korean Ukulele Ensemble Association. In 2013 James Jeong participated in the 43th Annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii with Korea’s Pica Pica Ukulele Orchestra.

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Ukulele Festival CD “Come and Join Us”
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Theme Song CD
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Ukulele Festival DVD 35th Anniversary
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