You Too Can Play the Ukulele
The ukulele is back! This instrument is experiencing a renaissance, big-time.
The ukulele, an offshoot of other guitarlike instruments, had its beginning in the nineteenth century. Brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants who came mostly from the Macaronesian Islands, it was strongly promoted by King David Kalakaua (the last king of the Kingdom of Hawaii), who incorporated it into performances at royal gatherings. It was later popularized during the Panama Pacific International Exposition, held from the spring to the fall of 1915 in San Francisco. The exposition even had a Hawaiian pavilion, which featured a guitar-and-ukulele ensemble, George E. K. Awai and his Royal Hawaiian Quartet. The instrument remained popular through both world wars and into the 1960s. Who can forget Tiny Tim (born Herbert Khaury) performing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”? Many younger audiences may not know of Tiny Tim, but that hasn’t deterred a resurgence of the ukulele’s popularity and a new generation of ukulele players.
Not only is the ukulele portable but it’s also easy to learn! You can start playing and become the hit of the party in no time at all.
Want to learn to play the ukulele? Do you already play and want to learn more tunes? The Oakland Public Library’s music collection has many ukulele instruction scores/CDs and songbooks you can borrow. Click the covers above to request these songbooks, or click here to view a complete list of of ukulele songsbooks and methods.
In addition to the resources mentioned above, the Oakand Public Library has a selection of Hawaiian songs available from the OPL Sheet Music Special Collection. And many of the popular songs of the 1940s and 1950s have ukulele chord diagrams as well. Below are some links to the holdings from the Sheet Music Special Collection that have ukulele chords.
About the Oakland Public Library Sheet Music Special Collection.