I’m not a big fan of Christmas music, but out of all the sappy, December 25th tunes you can play on your ʻukulele, Mele Kalikimaka is my favorite. I grew up listening to Jimmy Buffett singing this song on his album, Christmas Island, but everyone will have their own favorite rendition. Santa only knows, this song has been covered to death!
A study in fantastically clever melody writing, Mele Kalikimaka is an apparently simple tune with many twists and turns that milk the power of “wrong” notes throughout. I mean, who uses a C# melody note over a G7? Robert Alex Anderson, apparently.
There’s not much to it if you take your time and watch out for trouble areas, namely measures 11, 19, 21, and 23, which have some oddball notes. I’ve included the ʻukulele chord diagrams and lyrics for easy strumming if you want to just sing along at your Christmas gathering(s).
Take it for a spin and spread the good cheer!