The 5th Annual Maui ‘Ukulele Festival returns to the MACC (Maui Arts & Cultural Center) on Sunday, October 17th from 1-6 p.m. The free festival features an afternoon of island music, showcasing Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning musicians and nominees from Maui, as well as a mixture of senior players and young rising stars.
Gates open at 12:30 pm; blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged. Renowned ‘ukulele advocate and teacher Roy Sakuma serves as M.C. Popular ‘ukulele players scheduled to perform are: Uncle Richard Ho‘opi‘i, Herb Ohta-san, Kelly Boy De Lima, Uluwehi Guerrero, Kamakakehau Fernandez, Derick Sebastian and Da ‘Ukulele Boyz with Peter DeAquino and Garrett Probst. Young musicians Nick Acosta, Aidan Laprete Powell and the Kalama Intermediate ‘Ukulele Band will also perform.
Door prizes will be given away throughout the afternoon, including finely crafted ‘ukulele provided by Kamaka ‘Ukulele, KoAloha ‘Ukulele, Ko‘olau ‘Ukulele, Kanilea ‘Ukulele, Kala ‘Ukulele, Pono ‘Ukulele and MGM ‘Ukulele.
For over 130 years, the ‘ukulele has been celebrated by the people of Hawai‘i as the instrument of the ali‘i as well as maka‘ainana. In 1879, Portuguese immigrants arrived in Honolulu to work in the cane fields and brought with them a braguinha, a four-stringed instrument. As soon as they jumped off the boat, they started playing sweet strains and Hawaiians who came down to the dock were impressed with the speed of the musicians’ fingers as they danced across the fingerboard. They called the new instrument ‘ukulele, which translates into English as “jumping flea.”
The day-long festival will be preceded by a free ‘ukulele workshop on Saturday, October 16, in the McCoy Studio Theater, beginning at 10 am. This workshop is conducted by Roy and Kathy Sakuma for students of all ages, from children through adults. Lessons are designed for beginning and intermediate players — the only requirements are that a student be familiar with C, F and G7 chords. Students will be invited to participate in the Ukulele Festival on one of the songs taught in the workshop. Students should bring their own ‘ukulele, notepaper and a pencil. Register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up at the door of the workshop prior to 10 AM on Saturday.
Maui ‘Ukulele Festival is presented by ‘Ukulele Festival Hawai‘i and Maui Arts & Cultural Center with support from Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, County of Maui Office of Economic Development, Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts and Pacific Radio Group & KPOA 93.5. For more information, call the MACC Box Office at 808-242-SHOW.