This week we visit a legendary ‘ukulele/guitar player Ledward Kaapana. Known by many as Uncle Led, Ledward has received critical acclaim throughout his career including his work with Hui ‘Ohana and as a solo artist. Being instrumental (pun intended) in the Hawaiian Renaissance, Uncle Led’s legacy as a master of the kī hōʻalu style and his ability to integrate a multitude of genres with it has “Led Heads,” popping up all over the world to this day.
Here is a famous slack key number and Hui ‘Ohana tune, L-N-D Slack Key. Written by the original members Ledward Kaapana, Nedward Kaapana, and Dennis Pavao, L-N-D Slack Key is a good example of an ‘ukulele taking the lead in the kī hōʻalu style. Utilizing a thumb pick, Uncle Led is constantly alternating between his thumb and index finger. Hammer-ons mixed with traveling double stops and pull-offs create a fast rhythmically driven tune. Reminisce of bluegrass and country music, we hear the very clear relationship between Hawaiian and country music. We also can’t forget Mike Kaawa playing a perfectly complimented rhythm to Uncle Led’s fast and furious style.
Lastly we see the rare sighting of a Mo’ Bettah ‘Ukulele hand crafted by Chuck Moore. These ‘ukuleles excel in not only in sound but in design as well. Off the grid in his home on the Big Island, Chuck solely makes these ukes one piece at a time making them a rare and beautiful sight. Being an, “‘ukulele nerd,” it’s hard to leave it unmentioned!
UkePrints is a curated playlist of some essential ukulele tracks that all ukulele player should listen to. These songs have left a legacy for future players and in essence, sound impressions of the ‘ukulele or what I like to call them: UkePrints.