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Thread: The Quintessential Hawaiian Uke Song

  1. #1
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    Default The Quintessential Hawaiian Uke Song

    Of course there can be more than one; I'm looking to learn some. Too many people my age (or younger...keep forgetting I'm 35!) are playing songs like Riptide. Fun song, but I'd like to learn some traditional Hawaiian songs.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    A lot of the "traditional Hawaiian music" that you hear people playing was actually written after World War 2, often by composers that are still alive today. If you're looking for music that was written in the Kingdom of Hawaii, these are probably the 2 most popular ones today:



    Last edited by man0a; 05-16-2021 at 01:02 PM.

  3. #3
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    The 2 mentioned above are probably going to be the most commonly mentioned. Even though it's a reworked hymn, Hawaii aloha is an unofficial anthem. Aloha oe was written by Queen Liliuokalani and has a poignant double meaning. Those 2 would be a good start.

  4. #4
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    Thank you man0a and badhabits for the two song suggestions, I'll start with those.
    And a great suggestion by Bill1, thank you for those links! It would have taken me some time to track those down.
    And yes, I've definitely been enjoying playing different styles and moods on this versatile instrument, including the blues, jazz, reggae, pop and rock. My repertoire is limited but I love that the mighty uke can adapt to different genres so well :-)

  5. #5
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    Kamaka HF3, Tenor
    Ko'olau C1, Concert
    Pono MC, Concert

  6. #6
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    Definitely 'Hone A Ka Wai' for me, love this song:



    You can get tabs for the song from the video description.

  7. #7
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    I recommend a book called He Mele Aloha, which contains more than 200 Hawaiian songs. He Mele Aloha only has chords and lyrics, but you can find videos for most of the songs in the book on YouTube in order to learn the melodies.

    https://hemelealoha.com/
    Last edited by mds725; 05-17-2021 at 02:58 AM.

  8. #8
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    With all respect to Tia Carrere, her phrasing of the hui (chorus) of Aloha 'Oe is not how Queen Lili'uokalani wrote it. I encourage people to learn this version instead.


  9. #9
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    there are a number of picking tabs out there for both Aloha oe and Hawaii aloha if singing isn't your thing, if interested maybe check Brad Bordessa's site (live ukulele). He mele aloha book has it's limitations as noted, but Steven Espaniola is doing tutorials for songs in book on youtube and his channel is a great resource for that. harry's guitar channel also has simple versions of Hawaiian songs
    Last edited by badhabits; 05-18-2021 at 06:01 AM.

  10. #10
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    Excellent feedback everyone, thank you so much!

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