45th Annual Ukulele Festival
July 19, 2015
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.
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.
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 - 13 year old Aidan is this 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. Five 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, 19 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.'
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.
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.
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 learns and performs for many community organizations, hospitals, libraries, private organizations, churches, etc.
The Langley Ukulele Ensemble, now under the direction of Paul Luongo, is in its 34th year of existence. Over the 34 years, the ensemble has developed a reputation at home and abroad for excellence in musical performance. The 25 ensemble members range in age from 12 to 21 years, and are students attending middle school, secondary or post-secondary institutions. The group's motto is "Enriching Lives through Music". They hope to leave audiences with a sense that there is reason to be hopeful about the future of today's youth. The ensemble is thankful for its relationship with the Sheraton Waikiki and are proud to celebrate this summers 20th anniversary tour to Honolulu, Hawaii.
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.
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 – 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 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!
“Come and Join Us”
Theme Song CD
Ukulele Festival DVD