The History of Ukulele

One narrative of how a ukulele got its name states that whenever one of the passengers on the Ravenscrag, Joao Fernandes, reached the Honolulu port, he was so happy after four months at sea which he quickly jumped off the ship and started playing folk songs from Madeira on the wharf. Another account of how a ukulele got its name relies on the understanding that the Englishman Ed Purvis played the instrument. Ed Purvis acted as an Assistant Chamberlain to King David Kalakaua, the last reigning King of Hawaii, as well as a man who’d been very important in the first life of the ukulele.

How a ukulele got its name

More tales about how a ukulele got its name endure, with numerous different translations of the term being utilized as evidence. After its arrival in Hawaii, the ukulele was rapidly adopted into Hawaiian culture. King David Kalakaua was very keen on the little instrument, which is recognized as a vital element which led to the ukulele becoming so popular. It is King Kalakaua who encouraged the ukulele as a Hawaiian instrument, as well as used the instrument at proper royal capabilities, to play traditional Hawaiian music, as well as to accompany hula. As the ukulele became popular under the patronage of King David Kalakaua, more ukuleles were made by these 3 men.

Global Expansion

The most effective of the 3 was Manuel Nunes, who extended to make ukuleles following the instrument was launched to the American mainland, as well as whose sons continued to produce ukulele after him. The ukulele made a certain impression on mainland Americans throughout the Panama Pacific International Exposition which was held in San Francisco, California in 1915. The Exposition presented performances by Hawaiian ukulele players, performing as both soloists as well as in groups, have been remarkably popular with the fair visitors. Following the ukulele started to gain fans in mainland America, the ukulele was then embraced by local mainland musicians, who used it to play traditional Hawaiian music, as well as additionally launched the ukulele into other genres.


The recognition of the ukulele thundered through 1915-1920, with Hawaiian music becoming as popular as the mainland music. Despite this tension the recognition of the ukulele kept growing in America well into the 1920, and ukulele sales generally continued to increase. The growing popularity of the ukulele led to the manufacturing of affordable models which gave many individuals access to understanding the ukulele. The ukulele built up a reputation as a great beginner’s instrument due to its fairly low price and small, portable size.

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