Here is a recent video that was recorded at The Ukulele Site located in my hometown of Haleiwa. This song is a cover of Coldplays “Viva La Vida”. Check out their site! http://www.theukulelesite.com/ 2013 NAMM Show is just around the corner! The NAMM Show is something something that I always look foward to attending …View full post
Click Here to Purchase My Latest Album “Redefined”! Aloha everyone! Its been a while since I updated my website! I promise to be more active on here! Every new year bring new opportunities and this year is going to be a BLAST! 2012 was filled with awesome adventures in Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan. This year is …View full post
Here is a recent video that was recorded at The Ukulele Site located in my hometown of Haleiwa. This song is a cover of Coldplays “Viva La Vida”. Check out their site! http://www.theukulelesite.com/
2013 NAMM Show is just around the corner! The NAMM Show is something something that I always look foward to attending every year. There is so much to see. Its like walking into a candy store. If there was a Disney Land for musicians the NAMM Show would be it. Its so awesome to be able to check out the latest music gear such as, ukuleles, guitars, amps, strings, effect pedals, bags/cases, recording gear, bass’s, violins, cellos, drums, microphones, lighting, and basically anything music related! People come from all over the world for this event. There are also many celebrity artists walking around. You never know who you might run into. There are artists such as John Mayer, Victor Wooten, Andy Timmons, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Carlos Santana, Tony Royster Jr. , Slip Knot, Nirvana, and much more, who come to NAMM every year. I am really looking foward to attending this years Winter NAMM Show! I am Super excited! http://www.namm.org/thenammshow/2013
Purchase my latest album “Redefined” here!
Its been a while since I updated my website! I promise to be more active on here!
Every new year bring new opportunities and this year is going to be a BLAST! 2012 was filled with awesome adventures in Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan. This year is going to be even better! Great things in stored for 2013. I will be traveling to do shows in Korea, Guam, Thailand, and will also returning to Japan for an eight city tour! This year is going to be awesome! I will be sure to keep all of you updated!
Let the adventures begin!
Here is a new original song! The video was shot at Hawaii Music Supply in Wahiawa. I had a lot of fun writing this new composition. When I write new music, I always challenge myself to make the next song sound completely different from the previous ones. This song in particular involves a few key changes and variations. This is the first song that I have written that has a key change or modulation. I am very happy with how this song turned out. I had a the hardest time giving this new piece a name and for a while it remained untitled. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to give it a name. The title is “The Unknown”. The reason for this title is because it is very sporadic and mysterious. I really love writing music. It is so much fun. Music composition is always an adventure!
Its been a while since i’ve been to Roy Sakuma’s Ukulele Festival and I am glad I was able to attend this year’s festival. It was great to see all the vendors, ukulele manufactures, and my fellow ukulele players. There is never a sad or dull moment when the ukulele is present. You just can’t help but smile when you hear the ukulele. Every year people from around the world travel to Hawaii to attend this wonderful festival. This years entertainment lineup included performers from the U.S. mainland, Japan, and Thailand.
Here are a few pictures I took during the event.
There is a Ukulele craze happening! The demand for ukulele has never been greater. There many Ukulele Festivals across world. Some festivals exceed 10,000 attendees. There are so much ukulele manufactures and players out there today its hard to keep up with everything that is happening. Although there are many ukulele makers no other company has been around longer than Kamaka Ukulele. Here is their story.
The Kamaka Story
Shortly after the turn of the century, Samuel Kaialiilii Kamaka began crafting koa ukuleles from the basement of his Kaimuki, Hawaii home. In 1916, he formed his one-man shop, “Kamaka Ukulele and Guitar Works,” and soon established a solid reputation for making only the highest quality ukuleles.
In 1921, Kamaka Ukulele established a shop at 1814 South King Street. In the mid-20s, Sam Kamaka laid out a pattern for a new oval-shaped ukulele body. His friends remarked that it looked like a pineapple, so one of Sam’s artist friends painted the front to duplicate the tropical fruit. A few years later in 1928, Sam Kamaka patented the design. Thus began the original Pineapple Ukulele, which produced a resonant, mellow sound distinct from the traditional figure-eight. The Pineapple Ukulele became an instant success worldwide, and continues to be Kamaka’s signature ukulele to this day.
During the 30s, Sam Sr. introduced his two sons, Samuel Jr. and Frederick, to the craft of ukulele-making, even though the boys were only in elementary school. In 1945, the business was reorganized as “Kamaka and Sons Enterprises.” Sam Jr. and Fred Sr. were then drafted into the Army, and after serving in WWII, both brothers attended college on the GI bill. After graduating from Washington State University, Fred Sr. began a career in the Army, while Sam Jr. earned a masters degree and went on to pursue a doctorate in entomology at Oregon State University.
In 1952, due to illness, Sam Sr. went into semi-retirement and hauled his equipment to his Lualualei Homestead farm in Waianae. When he became seriously ill the following year, Sam Jr. abandoned his studies and moved back to Hawaii to care for his father. Sam Sr. died in December 1953, after hand-crafting koa ukuleles for over 40 years.
Immediately following Sam Sr.’s death, Sam Jr. put aside his personal career aspirations to continue the family business. Building on the knowledge he had picked up from his father, Sam Jr. restored the factory at the previous 1814 S. King Street location. Five years later in 1959, the company expanded to its current location at 550 South Street.
Kamaka and Sons incorporated in 1968 and became “Kamaka Hawaii, Inc.” After retiring from the Army in 1972, Fred Sr. joined the business as its general manager. Along the way, Sam Jr.’s sons, Chris and Casey, also got involved with the company as did Fred Sr.’s son, Fred Jr. The sons now play major roles at Kamaka Hawaii, Inc.: Chris is the production manager, Casey crafts the custom orders, and Fred Jr. is the business manager. Other young family members are also helping with the business, carrying the Kamaka tradition into the fourth generation.
As the Kamaka legacy moves forward, it is important to reflect on what has made the company endure. The guiding philosophy at Kamaka Hawaii has always been the candid, but sensible advice handed down from Sam Sr. to sons:
“If you make instruments and use the family name, don’t make junk.”
I just want share one of my favorite songs that was featured in the movie “Batman Forever” which came out in the 90’s. Its called “Kiss From a Rose” and it was written by one of the greatest R&B singers of all time, Seal. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to arrange this wonderful piece for the ukulele. It was very challenging. It is very difficult to duplicate the fullnest and pure sound of vocals on the ukulele. For one thing, the ukulele doesn’t have much sustain. Another, is that I only have two octaves to work with and my lowest note is middle C on the piano. My arrangement is simple but the song is not. I wanted the main focus to be on the melody. Choosing the right key, the right chords, and the way you combine them with the main melody is most important when arranging any song for the ukulele. Overall, I’m glad that the arrangement turned out OK.
This video was filmed at my favorite music store Hawaii Music Supply.
Thanks for visiting!
After a few years, I finally have my website up and running! Big mahalo to Jason and Lisa Ching for helping me put this website together. Here are a few links for you to visit while you are here!
Kalei Gamiao “Mach 4″
Hawaii’s finest ukulele manufacture, Kamaka Ukulele.
Thanks for visiting! More updates coming soon!