Good Albums for New Ukers?


Jun 23, 2023
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Hey there!
So I’m just looking for recommendations on good as heck ukulele heavy albums. I’ve got Israel Kawakamiwo’ole’s Facing Future and Eddie Vedder’s Ukulele Songs, both of which I’m loving.

Where do you guys turn for some deeper immersion?

Thank you!
Start with Jake Shimabukuro. His Jake and Friends CD is epic. Honeysuckle Rose by Chee and Maisel is great. Bryan Tolentino and Herb Ohta, Jr. have two CDs out (instrumental only). Island Style Ukulele 3 is a favorite of mine. These are all island based players.

About 100 years ago, a lot of hits were played with the ukulele. Others can chime in here if you are interested in this.
Here are a few of my favorites that are relatively easy to find:
Ohta-San - Bodysurfing
Herb Ohta Jr - Pure Ukulele
The Best of the Ka'au Crater Boys
Pure Heart 1 and Pure Heart 2
Taimane - Hawaiki
Jake Shimabukuro Live
Sunday Manoa - Guava Jam
Sons of Hawaii - The Folk Music of Hawaii
Ledward Kaapana - Jus' Press, Volume 2
Genoa Keawe - Hana Hou
Raiatea Helm - Sweet & Lovely
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I don't listen much to uke music, but aside from the Hawaiian masters I love Marcy Marxer, check out

And she and Cathy Fink also have lots of instructional materials and videos to view. I had the pleasure of spending a week in music camp with them and they are just the greatest.
These artists are playing all the time at our house. I listed an album for each:
Eminent Ukulele by Kimo Hussey​
A Night of Ukulele Jazz with Herb Ohta and Lyle Ritz​
Hawaiian Style Ukulele by Troy Fernandez​

We also spend hours listening to Corey Fujimoto and Kalei Gamiao on the TUS podcasts.
Check out Kris Fuchigama and Feng E on YouTube.
Anything by Tyrone and Lesley is worth your time, exquisitely crafted pieces full of humour and heart. Optimism is a good place to dive in.

Cliff Edwards, commonly known as Ukulele Ike, absolutely deserves a place in your collection. One of my favourite performers. Fascinating Rhythm 1922-1935 is a good selection from his heyday, while Singing in the Rain - Lang-Worth Recordings is a particularly fine selection of performances largely stripped down to Edwards and his ukulele, bringing his unique style to the fore.
As a huge James Hill fan I’m sad he hasn’t been mentioned. His first 3 albums (Playing it Like it isn’t, On the Other Hand, A Flyin Leap) are the typical Ukulele focused flair/virtuoso you can hear from Jake Shimabukuro and Taimane. Then he changed things up significantly after those three and really stretches what a Ukulele is capable of more than anyone else does in my opinion. Man with a Love Song and Old Silo are fantastic albums. He also has two albums with his wife, but she went by a different name each time (Anne Davison and Anne Janelle) that are both great (True Love Don’t Weep and Many a Moon). Lastly he made an album with his father after he recovered from cancer (James and Barry Hill The Brookfield Sessions). He is also working on a new called Uke Heads that should be releasing in the fall that is more in line with his two most recent albums.

That was quite a bit. After that I like to listen to Manitoba Hal (Hal Brolund) for some Ukulele Blues/Slide Ukulele. Others to consider are Lil Rev and Taimane.
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Wow, I have uke songs for days after this. Thanks everyone, I have such a huge playlist to start working through now 💜
If you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, "Born To Uke" is kind of fun.
I wonder if this album pre-dated Jim Boggia's ukulele-fueled Springsteen obsession -- if not, he should have been included!

I know someone already said Herb Ohta Jr but I love this song.

Someone I discovered today who might not be a hardcore Ukulele style of music is LP.

She has very catchy music and I’m actually learning this song.

I know Kalei has been mentioned but I have to show my support for him as he is the person who inspires me the most. I know this is old now (and as Ailevan said, you can check out the weekly TUS podcasts for newer material) but Mach 4 is simply awesome:

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