46th Annual Ukulele Festival

July 17, 2016

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

Paula Fuga is a musician on a mission. Though many play music for the platitudes or acclaim, Paula plays music for a culture, spreading the thoughtful and evocative voice of the Hawaiian people across the world. Not content to be merely a widely respected artist, Paula has taken on the mantle of cultural ambassador---using her talent as an instrument to help bring about positive social change performing at benefit concerts for charter schools, instilling the Hawaiian culture in the generations to come. On her independent record label, Pakipika Productions, Paula Fuga has managed to release her unique flavor of music around the world, earning an astounding and dedicated fan base, while collecting impressive critical acclaim, including a Na Hoku Hano Hano Award; Hawaii's highest and most prestigious music honor, which lead to her collaboration with the Honolulu Symphony, opening for Three Dog Night.

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.

Kalei Gamiao

Kalei Gamiao - With three completed nominated albums to his name – “Contemporary Ukulele”, “Redefined”, and “Merry Ukulele Christmas” – Kalei Gamiao has been at the forefront of today’s explosive world-wide popularity of the ukulele.  Kalei’s concert tours include countries Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Ching, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the U.S mainland.  With the release of his 4th latest album “These Moments” in 2016 the demand for his music continues as he travels the world to share his passion for music.  As a true ukulele virtuoso he sums it up by saying….. “My ukulele expresses every word and emotion.  I love to create and share my musical journeys for everyone to enjoy”

Aidan James

Aidan James - 14 year old Aidan was last year’s Na Hoku Hanohano finalist  for “EP of the Year” and is the youngest ever to be nominated.  Aidan has been playing the ukulele since he was 4 years old. Not until the age of 8 did he find his passion when he heard Train’s classic "Hey Soul Sister" on the radio prominently featuring the ukulele. Six years ago Aidan’s performance of the song at the Ukulele Festival was captured on video and proceeded to go viral and attract 20 million views on YouTube.  It caught the attention of Train's lead singer, Pat Monahan, who called it the best cover of his Grammy award winning song and featured Aidan in their music video, "Mermaid." Aidan has shared the stage with Jack Johnson, Jake Shimabukuro, Mick Fleetwood, Lisa Loeb, and has performed for the prestigious Pillars of Peace event with Desmond Tutu.

Nick Acosta

Nick Acosta, 20 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 700 piece Ukulele Band - An ukulele orchestra of 700 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.



Ukestralia – For the first time, ukulele players from around Australia have joined together especially to perform at the 46th Annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii. Under the direction of Jane Jelbart and Mark Jackson of the Ukastle Ukestra from Newcastle, NSW, students learn and rehearse together via video links. We are the Ukestra from Australia! We are Ukestralia!


The Bohemian Ukuleles

The Bohemian Ukuleles – With their eclectic blend of pop, rock, folk, country, hapa haole, Hawaiian and original tunes. THE BOHEMIAN UKULELES have been entertaining music lovers for over five years. From the NorCal Ukulele Festival in Hayward to locations around their home of Sonoma County, California, 60 miles north of San Francisco, they continue to spread their joy of ukulele.

Sunset Strummers

The Sunset Strummers Ukulele Ohana was organized by Eleanor Y. Higa Nedjar in May, 2004, Eleanor continues to prepare and direct the music which she instructs at the Vista Senior Center Twice a week. The group is a gathering of mostly seniors who strum, sing, dance, and just have a good time together making merry with their music. They perform at various community and private organization sites throughout North San Diego County.


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.

LeaLea Ukulele Garden

LeaLea Ukulele Garden began in 2003 and is an ukulele class based in the seaside cities of Zushi, Hayama, and Yokohama. Current members, ranging from children to adults, are enjoying life with the ukulele. This is our third time participating in the famous Ukulele Festival Hawaii and we look forward to meeting many ukulele players from around the world joining us at the festival.

Swima & The Special Swimanians

Swima & The Special Swimanians &nash; Swima is the ukulele duo of Mari Suzuki and Toshihiro Hasegawa and The Special Swimanians is our ohana of students from Tokyo, Japan. We perform at many venues including the new Tokyo Skytree. We are very happy to be performing for the first time at the 46th Annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii on Oahu!

South Korea

Kolea Ukulele Friends

Kōlea Ukulele Friends is a group of ukulele and Hawaiian music lovers from Korea and are all well-known ukulele instructors. They've been sharing their love of Hawaiian music and culture at Korea Hawaiian Culture Association. They play ukulele, sing with a beautiful harmony and dance hula.


U-Rock is a Korean ukulele emsemble founded in February 2014 by Jong-Hwa Kim. Its members consists of music teachers from various backgrounds including instructors of piano, violin, ocarina, flute, cajon and jdembe as well as heavy-metal vocalist and indie label CEO. The repertoires of the ensemble are not limited to just one genre; The ensemble enjoys to play from classical repertoires to popular music.

Ukulele Festival Hawaii Gala
Ukulele Festival T-Shirts Ukulele Festival
Go To Store - T-Shirts
Ukulele Festival CD “Come and Join Us”
Ukulele Festival
Theme Song CD
Go To Store - CD
Ukulele Festival DVD 35th Anniversary
Ukulele Festival DVD
Go To Store - DVD