Several years ago PBS Hawai’i did a segment on Kamaka ‘Ukulele titled Heart Strings: The Story of the Kamaka ‘Ukulele. It is a great opportunity to see the faces and hands behind the creation of this legendary instrument. As the last of the original ‘ukulele makers in Hawai’i, it is a historical documentation on not only the legacy of the Kamaka family but the ‘ukulele itself.
“It’s really important to know the person who made the instrument, their heart and soul is in the instrument.” – Jake Shimabukuro
Instrument building is an art form. With a piece of wood and some raw materials, a true maker has the ability to create an instrument that makes the greatest of us both weep and smile. The maker breathes life into an instrument just as much as the player who picks it up so understanding the person who makes your instrument can only add depth to your playing. It enables the player help channel the intent of your instrument, bringing a richer tapestry to the song at hand.
Whether you have a Kamaka ‘Ukulele or not, this documentary helps you understand a big part of ‘ukulele history. Their story is beautiful and integral to knowing the ‘ukulele and the tiny instrument’s people.