I had every intention of posting this Wednesday, but I’m afraid life got in the way. Sorry.

Thank-you Jeanne & Reece, for a wonderful kanikapila on Sunday and a big welcome to  Terry Sigel, proud new ‘ukulele owner. We’re looking for a host for May, so please let me know if you’d like to open your heart to a bunch of lovely ‘ukulele enthusiasts who will play for wine. (It doesn’t necessarily have to be on a Sunday!)

Also, the website for the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival is now up and running, so you might want to take a peek there and subscribe to it to stay up to date with that event, specifically. 

I promised we’d get back to our Hawaiian Roots, and what better way on this day, April 22, EARTH DAY, 2009, than with a song, “Hawai’i 78,”  by the late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, also known as IZ:

If there remains any doubt about how important the ‘āina (land) is to the Hawaiian people, take a look at their view of the planet:

Hawaiian-eye view of the planet Earth

Hawaiian-eye view of the planet Earth

That’s a whole lot of water surrounding that precious piece of paradise. And the health of the water surrounding those islands is just as important as the health of the land. If you are at all interested in conservation needs and efforts in Hawaii, please you can visit the website for the Nature Conservancy in Hawai’i.   They also have a wonderful booklet you can download  about the coral reefs surrounding Hawai’i.  And (in a weak moment of shameless advertising)  if you’d like to purchase the “Go Fish-Hawai’i” card game or Hawaiian fish magnets, created by yours truly, you can visit my other website at www.cardsharkpress.com

Another little Hawaiian language lesson: When you’ve only got 8 consonents (h,k,l,m,n,p,w, ‘) and 5 vowels (a,e,i,o,u) making up a language, you can bet each one counts.  In the process of making sure I had all my ‘okinas in the right place in the spelling of ‘āina above, I came across these other, very similar, entries in my Hawaiian dictionary.  The important thing to note is how the ommission of the ‘okina (‘) in front of some of the vowels and/or the macron (-) over some of the vowels, changes the meaning of the word–significantly, to say the least:

aina. n. Sexual intercourse.

‘aina. n. Meal. (See what I mean? This spelling can also mean “rejected”)

‘ai.nā. nvi. Sore aching; stiffness, as from over exercise.

‘āina. n. Land, earth.

‘a’ina. n. Crackling, snapping; an explosive sound.

Here’s two more you might like to know:

‘āina hā.nau. n. Land of one’s birth.

‘āina haole. n. Foreign land, mainland United States.

The ‘okina and macron also affect the pronunciation. (Remember, there was no written Hawaiian language until the missionaries came, so the ‘okina and the macron were put into place by them, to make it all make sense.) The ‘okina (n. Cutting off, ending, severance, separation) creates a glottal stop in front of the vowel, such as when we say, “uh oh.”  The macron tells you that the vowel is just slightly elongated and drawn out. 

I am in no way an expert on Hawaiian language, but we do happen to have an incredible resource right here in Santa Rosa, Liko Puha. (Some of you may remember him from the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival last year.)  Liko teaches at the Kaululehua Hawaiian Cultural Center  in South San Francisco and also teaches  for the Aʻo Makua Program, an outreach component of Kamehameha Schools that offers 3- to 4-week-long short courses in Hawaiian language and culture on line.



And what does all of this have to do with the ‘ukulele?  Quite a bit, actually, if you don’t want to sound like a complete bozo while singing this, one of the most beloved and well-known songs in the world: “Aloha ‘Oe.”  Here’s a version by Amy Hanai’ali’i Gilliom, one of my favorite Hawaiian vocalists:  

I will add Aloha ‘Oe  to our Song Files soon, but in the meantime “Hawai’i 78” (with a stirring reference to the ‘āina) has been added along with some tab from Dominator showing how to play the introduction.  There’s also a link to the song by IZ on the sidebar to the right. While you’re there, be sure to listen to songs from the rest of album, Facing Future–it has the “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” medley that IZ has become famous for all over the world.)  

So much going on!

It’s another busy ‘ukulele weekend here in Northern California.  (Don’t forget the festival in Hayward on Sunday!) You’ll see a new tab up top called ‘Ukulele Events.  That will get you to a calendar that I’ll try to keep updated on a daily basis.  In the meantime, this just in from Steven Espaniola (you may remember him from last year’s Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival):

“My good friend, ‘ukulele virtuoso Bryan Tolentino will be heading to the Bay Area for a couple of workshops and intimate performances. He will be joined by the equally talented Asa Young and yours truly. Bryan is the consummate “musician’s musician” and has performed with some of Hawaii’s top artists including Raiatea Helm, Weldon Kekauoha, as well as his own legendary Sideorder Band (featuring Chris Kamaka, Asa, and Del Beazley). It’s been a while since his last visit to the Bay Area so you won’t want to miss these rare opportunities!”

Saturday, April 25
Kaleo Café
Final Event @ Kaleo Café – Closing Doors 😦
1340 Irving St.
San Francisco, CA 94122
Workshop 3:00 – 4:00pm $20
Concert 4:30 – 6:00pm $10* (free if you attend workshop)
RSVP: info @ kaleocafe.com or 415.753.2460

Sunday, April 26
Northern California ‘Ukulele Festival
Hayward Adult School
22100 Princeton
Hayward, CA 94541

Monday, April 27
Bocci’s Cellar
140 Encinal St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
boccis @ gmail.com
Workshop 5:00 – 6:30 $25
Concert 7:00 – 8:30pm $10 (advance) $15 (door)
Workshop + Concert Combo $30
RSVP call Timmy Hunt: 831.428.7546

And as if that’s not enough, there’s a workshop and concert with Derick Sebastian at Mike DaSilva’s on Friday, April 25 and Bill Tapia (100+plus years old) will be there on Monday, April 27! For more information, please visit the  DaSilva ‘Ukulele website. And to close, here is an absolutely charming story by Bill Tapia about how he got started with the ‘ukulele umpteen years ago.  Have a wonderful week-end. Hope to see you at Hayward on Sunday.