No. 26, Fall 2019

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140 years ago, a ship arrived in Hawaii carrying migrants from the small Portuguese island of Madeira. Three cabinetmakers who made the journey—Augusto Dias, Jose do Espirito Santo, and Manuel Nunes—changed everything by creating the ukulele. In our extensive feature, Jim Tranquada (a great-great-grandson of Dias), paints a picture of the early years after their arrival as they settled Hawaii and created the ukulele, with photos of antique ukuleles created by the three founders. Start Playing Ukulele Now! is this issue’s special focus. From holding and tuning your ukulele to playing your first songs, your teacher, Heidi Swedberg, makes it easy for you to start playing. A thorough companion video demonstrates all of the feature’s concepts and songs. The focus continues with a concise guide to the important components of the ukulele. Peter Rowan is a familiar name to fans of bluegrass and American roots music, but he has a long connection to the music of Hawaii and his recent album, My Aloha, explores his roots and the connections between bluegrass and Hawaiian music. After decades of teaching children to play music, using the ukulele as a vehicle, and starting influential ensembles, the dynamic educator Peter Luongo is now using his Max Uke program to focus his considerable energy and enthusiasm for music on adults.



  • “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
  • “My Blue Hula Girl” by Peter Rowan
  • “Aura Lee” (the basis for the melody of “Love Me Tender”) arranged by Byron Yasui for ukulele trio
  • “Woodpile Waltz” a baritone piece by Aaron Keim



  • Learn to trust your ears and you’ll never be out of tune
  • Daniel Ward’s single-note melody lesson to duet with yourself
  • Practicing with a metronome, Cathy Fink on adding focus to any rehearsal


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