Quick—name a Hawaiian musical instrument.
Chances are you said “’ukulele” (and of course the headline gave it away), and that’s a great answer, because of all the instruments native to Hawaii, or associated with it, the ‘ukulele is definitely the best known.
In the 1860s, a ship carrying Portuguese settlers landed in the Hawaiian Islands. Soon everyone was talking about the strange instrument, called a braguinha, that some of the men were playing. Hawaiians—most notably members of the royal family—were fascinated with how quickly the braguinha players were plucking their fingers across the strings. They thought it looked like jumping fleas! Soon Hawaiians had a new instrument of their own: the “’uku” (flea) “lele” (jumping).
Because the ‘ukulele was so loved by nobility, it soon became a popular part of Hawaii’s music culture, and it remains so today. Many couples getting married in the islands choose ‘ukulele music to add extra Hawaiian flavor to their ceremony and reception. Doug is often asked to play the ‘ukulele, and he loves it.
“The uke is a versatile and really fun instrument to play,” Doug says. “It’s great for driving the rhythm of an upbeat song, but it can also be very delicate and romantic, perfect for Hawaiian weddings.”
Listen to Doug playing the ‘ukulele: