‘Ukulele and Pahu Drum Official Instruments of Hawaii

A year ago when lawmakers first proposed naming the ‘ukulele the state instrument of Hawai’i, the public responded with controversy and claimed the ‘ukulele was not Hawaiian enough due to it’s heritage traced back to the Portuguese. Now officially the ‘ukulele is dubbed as the Auana or modern instrument of Hawai’i and the traditional instrument of Hawai’i goes to the pahu drum. The pahu drum is reserved for more ceremonial purposes and is a better definition to a traditional Hawaiian instrument.

The organization We Vote, got more than 100,000 children from Hawai’i to vote on the discussion. The results help cement the results with the ‘ukulele wining the Auana category by a landslide:

Ukulele                83,241

Steel Guitar          11,111

Slack Key Guitar    7, 226

The traditional category was a closer run:

Pahu ( drum)                    33, 923

Ipu Heke ( gourd drum)     28, 614

Ipu Heke ( feather gourd)   17, 821

Pu’ili ( bamboo rattle)          10,516

Phe Hano Ihu ( nose flute)   9,666

I think it was a great idea to hear what the children of Hawai’i had to say on the discussion. As much as I agree with the modifications they made, I am happy to hear the ‘ukulele is in the hearts of the children!

You can read and watch the report on KITV4 here!

-Neal Chin


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