Ukulele may become Hawaii’s official state instrument

Kamaka Ukulele

The state of Texas has the guitar, while Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and South Dakota share the fiddle. But did you know Hawaii doesn’t have an official state instrument?

There are 16 adopted or designated symbols of Hawaii including the state motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono” and the state bird, the Nene Goose.

But missing from these symbols is the state instrument… until now.

“One of the things that Hawaii is very proud of is music and a lot of times when you talk about music, you talk about the ukulele,” said Rep. Mark Takai (D) Aiea.

A bill that will soon be heard on the House floor aims to designate the ukulele as the official musical instrument of Hawaii.

“I think it’s fabulous. It’s important, I think, for the world to actually see the power of the little instrument,” said Chris Kamaka of Kamaka Ukulele.

Kamaka and his family have been producing ukulele for nearly 100 years.

“It actually has its roots here in Hawaii and for it to be recognized is just terrific,” Kamaka said.

While the ukulele was originally invented in Portugal and arrived in Hawaii in 1879, it has become an integral part of the Hawaiian culture.

“People look at the ukulele as a symbol of Hawaii,” Rep. Takai said.

With artists like Jake Shimabukuro, Herb Ota, Roy Sakuma, and many others, the instrument is now being played worldwide.

“We have a lot of different state stuff and in this case, it’s the state musical instrument,” Rep. Takai said.

“It couldn’t happen to a better state I think,” Kamaka said.

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