E komo mai!
Thank you for visiting our website.
Like the guitar, the ʻukulele is a very versatile instrument, capable of playing pretty much any genre of music. There are some important basics to learn but gradually, the development of techniques with both hands come into play. A bit of music theory can also go a long way and prove to be quite useful. Ear training is a must. Learn to depend on your ear and not just written music in front of you that you read, and you will open yourself to your own unlimited creativity.
English and ‛Ukulele
Lessons are taught in English but Japanese is used when necessary with Japanese students. Previously I had studied a foreign language formally for two years, and found myself unable to converse in that language, but what an eye-opening experience it was when I had a foreign roommate in college and naturally picked up her language well enough to converse. This experience made way for the practical approach I have when teaching English to non-native English speakers, so conversational skills can be developed quickly.
Kuʻulei Mamo here. I am a certified teacher (grades K-12) and a professional musician (AFM Local 677). Besides the ʻukulele, I'm also passionate about teaching English. Born and raised in Hawaii, the ʻukulele was the first instrument I learned to play, as my father was an ʻukulele teacher and taught me how to play as soon as I was able to hold the instrument. In my childhood, I also studied drums and performed in various rock bands as well as being a percussionist in my junior high and high school bands before entering the University of Hawaii as a percussionist, majoring in Music Education. Later, I transferred to Roosevelt University "Chicago, Illinois", where I completed my undergraduate studies with a Music Education/Special Education Concentration degree.
Please send me a message to inquire about ukulele lessons or ask general questions.
E komo mai!
English and ‛Ukulele
Kuʻulei Mamoです。私は教員免許（幼稚園から12年生）とプロのミュージシャン（AFM Local 677）の資格を持っています。ウクレレだけでなく、英語を教えることにも情熱を注いでいます。ハワイで生まれ育った私は、父がウクレレの先生で、楽器を持てるようになるとすぐに弾き方を教えてくれたので、ウクレレは初めて習う楽器でした。幼少期にはドラムも習い、さまざまなロックバンドで演奏したほか、中学・高校ではバンドのパーカッショニストとして活躍し、ハワイ大学にパーカッショニストとして入学、音楽教育学を専攻しました。その後、ルーズベルト大学「シカゴ、イリノイ州」に編入し、音楽教育/特別教育集中の学位で学部課程を修了しました。
1. Over the Rainbow [Harold Arlen / E. Y. Harburg]
It took so long to make this CD, I was seriously contemplating the idea of naming it “Finally Pau” (even went as far as translating it completely into Hawaiian: “Ua Pau” – which means “Finally Finished.”) Then it just suddenly came to my mind: Michael’s ashes were scattered off of Waikiki and at the top of Diamond Head (thus the cover shot, which is a photo I took right after Michael’s ashes were scattered) and “Over the Rainbow” was the last song I arranged and played for him before he passed away. Needless to say, itʻs a very, very special song to me.2. Stompin’ at the Savoy [Edgar Sampson]
This ʻukulele arrangement was done for my “haole sister,” Sue Campbell Hawkins, who constantly played this on the piano when she lived in Hawai‘i. Her father, Howard Campbell (my “haole dad,” of course!) is pictured with me in the montage, as I was teaching him how to play the ʻukulele.3.Ku‘ulei ‘Awapuhi [Emily Kekahaloa Namau’u Taylor]
My ‘ukulele student and dear friend, Aitor Hernandez, showed me an ‘ukulele tablature arrangement of this song and I promised him that I would make another arrangement of this beautiful song….and that I would teach it to him. Aitor can now play this as an ‘ukulele solo and he is also an incredibly talented accordion player. What an honor it was to have Greg Sardinha accompany me on guitar and bass and Bryan Tolentino “Bryanize” my simple, humble arrangement with his tasteful “little sprinkles of ‘ukulele touches” here and there. Mahalo, gentlemen!4. Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue [Ray Henderson / Sam M. Lewis & Joseph W. Young]
This is one of the many songs my father taught me how to play on the ʻukulele when I was just a child. Dad was a phenomenal player and taught me how to play the ʻukulele as soon as I could hold it. I must have been around 3 or 4 years old. Funny…..whenever Dad asked me to get my ʻukulele, I always eagerly ran to get it and I was always so attentive to his teachings. Not once did I ever dread practicing or feel an obligation to practice. It was something I enjoyed so much, it was simply a part of my life. My time learning the ʻukulele from my father was a treasured experience and has become a treasured memory.5. The Girl From Ipanema [Antonio Carlos Jobim]
I thought it would be nice to add a little bossa nova tune and this truly is one of my favorites to play.6. Pūpū Hinuhinu / Kahuli Aku [Pūpu Hinuhinu: composition, lyrics, music by Helen Desha Beamer / Kahuli Aku: N. B. Emerson with traditional mele and lyrics translated by Helen Desha Beamer.]
“Pūpū Hinuhinu” was one of the first songs I arranged for the ‘ukulele and it has always gone nicely with “Kahuli Aku.” I did all the ‘ukulele arrangements but I give Greg all the credit for putting this beautiful medley together!7. Winchester Cathedral [Geoff Stephens]
Mary Lou Chai is responsible for this one. One day she excitedly told me that this song came to her in a dream. She told me that I just had to make an ‘ukulele arrangement for it. To my surprise, the song really did match the ‘ukulele!8. Akaka Falls [Helen Lindsey Parker]
Yoshiko Mitsuishi came to ‘ukulele class one day, all excited about a beautiful song she had heard and wanted to learn. She didn’t even know the name of the song and when Iasked her how it went, I was amazed that she was able to play a bit of the melody on the ‘ukulele. It was enough to recognize that it was obviously “Akaka Falls.” She can play it now as a solo ‘ukulele piece along with her classmates, Sumi Oda and Kunio Oda, who started learning the ‘ukulele from scratch.9. Dream a Little Dream of Me [Fabian Andre / Wilbur Schwandt]
Masumi Watanabe, a singer, loves to sing this song and we performed it together at our annual “Hawaiian Christmas Dinner Party” a couple of years ago. After accompanying her, I thought it would also make a nice solo ‘ukulele.10. Yellow Bird [Michel Mauleart Monton]
This is one of my favorite “Arthur Lyman” songs. The music of Arthur Lyman is just amazing and my drum [set] teacher, Harold Chang, was his drummer. One day (years ago) at Territorial Tavern in downtown, Honolulu, Arthur Lyman was playing and he asked me to sit in with him on the drums. I couldn’t believe that he announced “Yellow Bird” as the song he was going to play! I used my mallets and played ever so “lightly and carefully” so I wouldnʻt be in his way. It was one of the two times that I had “chicken skin” when I was actually performing!11. Sophisticated Hula [Sol Bright]
While I have my father’s style, I also have my own style and my “a cappella pieces” really reflect this. I just wanted to make a lively arrangement of this song. (I like chord inversions, too, so they are not “wrong chords” – just Dm and Am inversions that I wanted to use!)12. I Left My Heart in San Francisco [George Cory / Douglass Cross]
Sometimes I don’t realize just how beautiful a song is until I do an arrangement of it on the ‘ukulele. “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and “My Favorite Things” are perfect examples of that, and they were ‘ukulele arrangement requests from my student, Masako Kawamura. She absolutely loves these two songs and I think she has great taste. “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was an “experiment” to see how it would sound with “full orchestration” behind the ‘ukulele.13. My Favorite Things [Richard Rodgers]
My Favorite Things” was performed on my Craft Musica ‘ukulele. When I first saw this ‘ukulele at a music store, it caught my eye and I was so intrigued by its shape and size. When I played it, I was so deeply impressed by the sound that resonated from it! When I first started on the arrangement of this song, I wondered what key I would do it in. I wanted the “ringing of bells” depicted right in the beginning and I found that a D sus4 with an open G and an open A (0 2 3 0) gave me that effect. Craft Musica instruments are the epitome of Japanese fine woodwork-craftsmanship. As a luthier in Japan, Takayama-san is second to none.14. He Punahele Nō ‘Oe [Albert Nāhale’ā]
It was the year 2000 that I started teaching the ‘ukulele in Japan and it was my idea to have my three original students record with me on my first CD because……. after fourteen years, they are still with me! They knew Michael very well and they are truly my ‘ukulele ‘ohana class. They are so shy and humble, but I am so proud of them: Hiromi Okuzumi, Megumi Yoshida, and Masayuki Kōno on ‘ukulele.Yukie Sasaki, is playing on her bass stick bass guitar, that was made by KonaBob on the Big Island. I tease Yukie a lot and gave her the nickname “IZn’t” but she does a fine job for someone who was thrown in the water and knew it was either “sink or swim.” When I happened to come across that KonaBob StickBass bass guitar hanging on the wall of Sam Rosen’s little ‘Ukulele Gallery in Holualoa (Big Island), and found out that the 3-stringed bass could be tuned to a root, bass, and third triad, I immediately “drafted” Yukie as my bass player. I also played a beautifully crafted guitar by luthier Yasuo Takayama of Craft Musica on this song.15. The Other Side of the Sun [Janis Ian / Albert Hammond]
This was recorded at a small recording studio in Chicago by Glenn Odagawa, who used to be the soundman for “Olomana” and the “Brothers Cazimero” in Hawai‘i. (He was the sound man for the O’Jays and worked out of Chicago.)Dr. Byron Yasui kindly did the beautiful string arrangement for this song. Yes, itʻs me on vocals. I did all the vocal tracks on this CD, but I really don’t profess to be a singer.