There are certain ukulele kani ka pila songs that tend to appear at every jam you go to. Aunty Edith Kanakaʻole’s song “Ka Uluwehi of Ke Kai” (or sometimes just “Uluwehi o Ke Kai”) is one of these.
This classic hula song about the different types of seaweed (limu) is a great example of a simple Hawaiian song structure. In this style song, all you get is verses. The chord progression, melody, and rhythm all stay the same. All that changes are the lyrics in each verse.
Because of this repetitive structure, a Hawaiian vamp is added between each verse. This breaks up the content and allows the singer a chance to catch their breath.
The vamp as you can see below is A7 D7 G. This is universal in Hawaiian music, though there is one variation that you sometimes see (more info at the link above). The timing is two beats, two beats, four beats. You can notate a beat as a slash in a simple shorthand so you get: A7// D7// G////.
The chords are super simple themselves, especially if you use the “Hawaiian” D7 (2020). For a strum, you can use a brisk D D D DU played with a straight feel.
Free PDF Version
Vamp: A7// D7// G//// G He hoʻoheno ke ʻike aku C G Ke kai moana nui lā C G Nui ke aloha e hiʻipoi nei D7 G Me ke ʻala o ka līpoa G He līpoa i pae i ke one C G Ke one hinuhinu lā C G Wela i ka lā ke hehi aʻe D7 G Mai manaʻo he pono kēia G Hoʻokohukohu e ka limu kohu C G Ke kau i luna o nā moku lā C G ʻO ia moku ʻula lā e hō D7 G ʻOni ana i ʻō i ʻaneʻi G Haʻina mai ka puana C G Ka līpoa me ka limu kohu C G Hoa pili ʻoe me ka pahe'e D7 G ʻĀnoni me ka līpalu