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Interview with Kainoa from Easy ‘Ukulele.com

Jun 15, 2009 ~ Kainoa is the guy behind Easy ‘Ukulele.com. He has been working on the site for quite some time, sharing his knowledge through video lessons and articles. I asked Kainoa if he would be wiling to do an interview for Live ‘Ukulele and he answered: “Blast me over your questions!”. So I did. Here are his answers – thanks Kainoa!

Hippie Guy: What inspired you to start Easy ‘Ukulele.com?

Kainoa: It all started when I was in High School. I had a bunch of friends that played “Jawaiian” music back in the early 90’s. It’s pretty much Hawaii’s version of Reggae music… Jamaican+Hawaiian=Jawaiian. Then I enrolled in “Polynesian Music” during my Sophomore year in High School. I was brought up listening to and “Trying” to play Hawaiian music my whole entire life, as with many Hawaiian kids, so I thought it made sense and it was the “In” thing too!! So while growing up my “‘Ukulele Idols” were Peter Moon, Moe Keale and Eddie Kamae. During High School it was Kelly Boy Delima, Troy Fernandez and Israel Kamakawiwoole. Yup, showing my age now!! So now, here I am in High School, listening to my friends play “Tropical Baby” by Kapena (Kelly Boy ripping up the ‘ukulele solos), “Tropical Hawaiian Day” by Ka’au Crater Boys (Troy Fernandez shredding his ‘ukulele) and “Henehene Kou Aka” by Israel Kamakawiwoole. Now I really got the “Bug”. I really wanted someone to show me how the heck these guys shred on the uke like that. So I took it upon myself, to learn as much as I could and learned how to play by ear. During my Sophomore year, entering my Junior year, I bought Kapena’s, Ka’au Crater Boys and Braddah Iz’s CD’s to teach myself by ear. It wasn’t easy in the beginning!! But after a year or so, of grueling daily practice, I kind of got it down. After that, I said to myself, “I’m gonna find a way to share the things that I learned, to try and make it easier for other people who are interested in learning how to play the ‘ukulele!!” So finally, I’ve decided to put a website together, to teach free ‘ukulele lessons. [www.easyukulele.com]

HG: What is your favorite part of the site that you would like more people to see?

K: Everything!! As well as my other favorites, liveukulele.com and ukuleleunderground.com!!

HG: What kind of process do you use to make your videos? Do you just fly by the seat of your pants or do you use a script?

K: I just set up my camcorder and record!! Just give ‘um, Hawaiian Style!! Actually, I should start using a script!! HAHA!!

HG: The ‘ukulele that I see you play on your videos doesn’t look like any I’ve seen before. Who is it made by?

K: The ‘ukulele that’s seen on most of my videos is a Custom Tenor Cutaway G-String ‘Ukulele, made by Derick Shimizu. The other one is another Custom Tenor Cutaway Heart and Soul ‘Ukulele, made by my friend Corey Ho’omana. Really awesome ‘ukuleles!!

HG: Is Easy ‘Ukulele your only musical outlet or do you play gigs, teach lessons, etc. as well?

K: Besides easyukulele.com, I’m currently in a Hawaiian Trio, called Hali’i. I also used to be in a “Jawaiian” group called “96744”, back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

HG: Go check out Easy ‘Ukulele and learn from Kainoa’s video lessons and articles! Thanks for doing the interview Kainoa.