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My Top 5 Favorite ‘Ukulele Things to do on the Big Island

I am moving back to Hawai’i (the Big Island). I know, I’ve got it rough… My family and I should be moved by the middle of October. While we’ve been going crazy packing and trying to get ready, I’ve been thinking about what sort of fun ‘ukulele things I’ll be able to do once I’m back. Here is what’s at the top of my list:

The Kahumoku ‘Ohana Music and Lifestyle Workshop – This event has given me more knowledge about music and life than any other. Put on by multiple Grammy award winner Keoki Kahumoku, the camp is a week-long learning experience located in the small town of Pahala. Each day begins with a circle gathering (ho’oponopono) where the newcomers learn and returning students brush up on the chant that Kumu Liko Puha composed for the event. Then it’s off to the workshops that include ‘ukulele, slack key, lei making and more. Some of the ‘ukulele artists who have taught at the workshop in the past include: Herb Ohta Jr., Brittni Paiva, David Kamakahi, Kimo Hussey, and Daniel Ho. Keoki and the cooking crew create great food from local farmer’s products, three times a day. On the last day there is a community concert in which students can participate and watch their teachers at work.

Waikoloa ‘Ukulele Festival – This is one of the best events on the Big Island to see your favorite ‘ukulele artists perform. I have seen Troy Fernandez, Raiatea Helm, Ohta San, Manoa DNA, Holunape, and many more perform here. Located in the Queens Marketplace in Waikoloa, it is an annual event put on by Roy Sakuma and hosted by the “Ambassador of Aloha” Danny Kaleikini (more like “Alllllllooooooohhhhhhhhaaa!”). Beyond the great shows there are also ‘ukulele giveaways and a small workshop taught by Roy Sakuma. All for free.

Mele ‘Ohana Kani Ka Pila – Jam with Jack Knight, Konabob, and friends at the weekly “Konakapila” in Keahou. Awhile back, the group outgrew Sam Rosen’s (owner of the Holualoa ‘Ukulele Gallery) garage, so the crew moved south of town to the Keauhou Shopping Center. Bring your “blue book” (He Mele Aloha) and strum along with your favorite Hawaiian and Hapa-Haole tunes. Participants get a discount at Rocky’s Pizza!

Wednesdays, 6pm at the Keahou Shopping Center main stage at the south end of Kailua-Kona town. Free! Mele ‘Ohana Yahoo group.

Hilo Guitars and ‘Ukuleles – An ‘ukulele related visit to Hawai’i wouldn’t be complete without going to a music store to look at and try new instruments. My favorite place to go is Hilo Guitars and ‘Ukuleles because they have a whole wall full of great sounding ‘ukuleles. They carry high end Kamaka, Kanile’a, Gstring, and Moore Bettah brands along with more budget models.

56 Ponahawaii Street off of Kamehameha Ave. in Hilo. 808-935-4282 http://www.hiloguitars.com/index.html

Jake Shimabukuro at the Kahilu Theatre – The man himself in one of the best venues in the islands. This is where I saw him and it was awesome. The theatre is small, sounds wonderful, and I don’t think there is a bad seat in the house.

Meet The Author:

Brad Bordessa

Brad plays 'ukulele on the Big Island of Hawai'i. He writes original music, performs, and hunts unicorns - all with only an 'ukulele.

2 comments… add one
  • Kanaka916 Sep 12, 2009, 6:32 am

    Brad, moving back. hah? Making us guys ova hea jealous. Anyway, pass my fondest regards to the family. I know the braddahs back at the Grill wish you and the family all da best. Drop a line from time to time and let us guys know how everything’s goin!

    Malama Pono

    • Hippie Guy Sep 12, 2009, 7:50 am

      Yes, we are headed back. Dad got a job offer and they will move our stuff – it makes sense in this economy. I’ll keep in touch. You’ll still see me around UU. I’d love to come down and jam at the HSG one last time, but we are pretty swamped, so I don’t think it will happen. Let me know when you are on my side of the ocean and on the BI. I’ll take you to the jam that is over there.

      Take care,

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