View Full Version : Ukulele: The Renaissance

10-24-2008, 01:45 PM
. . . is an article from the latest Islands magazine. You can check out the entire article here (http://www.islands.com/article.jsp?ID=1000065266). Featured are discussions with Roy Sakuma, Jake, Paul Okami from KoAloha. Here's an excerpt when the author talks about Auntie Genoa. Lucky guy as he was invited to celebrate her 89th birthday . . .

. . . On this night, though, she's nothing but smiles. Over the next four hours, what must surely be every famous musician in Hawaii performs just for Aunty and those sharing this moment with her. The music only pauses while Paul Okami from KoAloha presents the birthday girl with an uke he made of koa taken from old church pews.

At last, pushing midnight, Genoa Keawe herself gets up to play. I'm the only person in the room who doesn't know what to expect, but how could anybody expect this? In her signature song, "Alika," sung in an achingly high, clear voice that goes back to some of the earliest Hawaiian chant styles, Aunty holds a single note for well over a minute, while she gently strums her uke. All the singers around her, a third her age, turn blue and fall gasping as they try to imitate her.

Then for the exclamation point, Aunty takes a breath and does it again. Just a couple days ago, I was stupid enough to ask if uke players were really good musicians.

10-24-2008, 02:29 PM
wow...I must say I'd probably be those other singers trying to imitate her...turning purple in the process!!That distinct falsetto....how I wish I had seen her perform!! How amazing that after many years she was still able to put a crowd in awe!!!what an incredible legend. she will be missed for sure!

10-24-2008, 02:41 PM
A nice contribution to the "Tonewood hoax" thread:

But koa has its downsides: It's expensive since most of the koa trees in Hawaii are in protected forests; and from an acoustical point of view, it's very stiff, limiting the instrument's resonance. "Western red cedar is much better for sound," says Joe Souza at the windward side's Kanile'a Ukulele, where he makes both stock koa and custom instruments. "Or a lot of builders simply use Sitka spruce," the same wood that goes into quality guitars. Players seem to split into two camps: the ones after resonating sound, and the ones who say, "you want that, just play guitar," sneering at any uke not made of koa.
In other words, there's a lot more to be said about koa than the average Joe/Jill knows. Nice article with a slow start (they drop the T-bomb*) but some nice quotes later on. Thanks for informing us!

*Tiny guitar...