The 'Ukulele: A History

by John King & Jim Tranquada
sku: 116-2
Drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, this book tells the surprising story of how an obscure four-string folk guitar from Portugal became the national instrument of Hawai'i, of its subsequent rise and fall from international cultural phenomenon to "the Dangerfield of instruments," and of the resurgence in popularity (and respect) it is currently enjoying among musicians from Thailand to Finland. Shows how the technologies of successive generations (recorded music, radio, television, the Internet) have played critical roles in popularizing the 'ukulele. Famous composers and entertainers (Queen Liliuokalani, Irving Berlin, Arthur Godfrey, Paul McCartney, SpongeBob SquarePants) and writers (Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, P. G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie) wind their way through its history, as well as a host of outstanding Hawaiian musicians (Ernest Kaai, George Kia Nahaolelua, Samuel K. Kamakaia, Henry A. Peelua Bishaw). In telling the story of the 'ukulele, Tranquada and King also present a sweeping history of modern Hawaiian music that spans more than two centuries. Softcover. 282 pp., 62 illustrations.   More Details...


  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. These little Instruments, of Which They Are So Fond
  • Chapter 2. The Sound of Pa, Ko, Li
  • Chapter 3. The national Instrument of Hawaii
  • Chapter 4. Have You Seen the Bouncing Flea?
  • Chapter 5. A landscape Set to Music
  • Chapter 6. A Craze of the Frisco Exposition
  • Chapter 7. The Height of Its Popularity .
  • Chapter 8. Made of a new Gleaming Plastic Material
  • Chapter 9. The Growing Underground Movement
  • Appendix A: Chronological list of Early Hawaiian luthiers
  • Appendix B: Annotated Checklist of Selected ‘Ukulele Methods and Songbooks, 1894–1920
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index