Annual Lanai Ukulele Festival
The word ukulele roughly translates to “jumping flea.” Rumor has it that it got its nickname because of the way it looks when one strums a ukulele. But a more thought provoking explanation is from Queen Lili'uokalani, the last Hawaiian monarch, who claims the name means “the gift that came here.” There is no other setting more appropriate for the sounds of the ukulele than the islands of Hawaii.
This year, Four Seasons Resorts Lanai and several businesses in Lanai City have selected the world's most highly regarded ukulele players for the First Annual Lanai Ukulele Festival. Musicians of all ages from around the world gather in Lanai to share their eclectic talents with the people of Lanai. "They come from diverse backgrounds, and their playing styles are also very different. The ukulele is versatile; it's not just for Hawaiian music. As audiences will see during the Lanai Ukulele Festival, you can perform everything from classical and blues to jazz and rock 'n' roll with it," says Ken Martinez Burgmaie, an Emmy and Billboard Music award winner who conceived the idea for the festival.
“I've been spending a lot of time on Lanai, making new friends and learning a lot about the island's history and special sites," Burgmaier said. "I thought an ukulele festival would be a great event to offer the community, which doesn't get opportunities to see big-name entertainers perform very often."
Performers range in age from 22 to the 70 year-old Richard Ho‘opi‘i, a Ukulele Falsetto Legend and Grammy award winner.
In true Hawaiian hospitality fashion, admission to the event is free and is something that the whole family can enjoy and experience together. Added Burgmaier, "It'll create wonderful memories and relationships that could last for a lifetime. Like Lanai itself, most of the venues are intimate and casual. Just come in your T-shirt, shorts and rubbah slippahs; hang out with the artists; talk story with them; and experience true aloha through music."