Ukulele sounds are as iconic to Hawaii as palm trees and aloha shirts. The soothing sounds of the strings seem to be the soundtrack for many island residents. That’s why we’re so excited about the annual Ukulele Festival at Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki.
This annual festival is a Hawaii summer tradition. The festival’s mission is to bring laughter, love and hope to children and adults throughout Hawaii and the world through the music of the ukulele.
In 1971, at a time when very few people were interested in the ukulele, Roy Sakuma organized the 1st Annual Ukulele Festival. It was his dream to present a free concert to show people that the ukulele could be played as a solo instrument. Today, the festival is internationally known and brings together local artists and an 800-piece ukulele orchestra.
To prepare for the festival, here are some of our favorite smile-inducing ukulele songs and artists:
• Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole, Somewhere Over the Rainbow
• Jack Johnson, Breakdown
• Jake Shimabukuro, Bohemiam Rhapsody
If you’re not smiling after watching those videos, head to the festival to see the ukulele magic in person.