Herb Ohta, Jr. Appreciation of History

I wanted to have a section on my website to showcase some of the 'ukulele players who have inspired myself and so many other people. The other important purpose for this was to educate people for generations to come. To explain that the 'ukulele players of today are really not innovators! All of us 'ukulele musicians of today was inspired, and emulated many of these 'ukulele virtuosos

Herb Ohta, Jr.
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Click arrow below to listen to Don Baduria

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My Father the late Donald G. Baduria was an innovative, self-taught ‘ukulele artist.  He began at the age of 4 years old and through the years developed a style of playing that has set a high bar even until this day.  His style comprises of various strumming and picking, all while moving a song’s melody through chord progressions rather than single notes.

Perhaps the biggest influence on Baduria was his experience in the late 50’s as part of the Air Force’s ‘Tops in Blues’ talent showcase, in which he was part of a string ensemble called the ‘Strolling Strings’ made up of a flamenco guitarist, a banjo player, and Baduria on ‘ukulele.  He appeared twice on the Ed Sullivan show with the ensemble.  The era in which they performed was heavily be-bop jazz oriented and their selection of songs reflected this influence.  The experience with the ‘Strolling Strings’ allowed each individual to share their musical talents with each other.  From this experience, Baduria developed his various picking techniques, which are innovative and not duplicated even in the present.  He also implemented a lot of banjo strumming techniques into his style of play.  So don’t be fooled if you think something is innovative now, it has already been done in the past! 

Baduria carried on his playing career after finishing his tour with the Air Force.  He performed with Waikiki greats such as Kui Lee and Alfred Apaka.  He also recorded two albums, the first, a jazz oriented mix titled “‘Ukulele in Orbit” recorded in the early 1960’s.  The second, a Hawaiian themed album titled “‘Ukulele Magic Hawaiian Style” recorded with Jack DeMello in the early 1970’s.
  My Father was a gifted artist in which his ear was so developed that he could play any song instantaneously.  All he would need to hear was the melody and he would come up with an arrangement.  He was a stickler for fundamentals in music, especially rhythm and timing (a fundamental lacking in many ‘ukulele artist’s in the present).  Words cannot describe the precision of his craftiness.  Just get a hold of either of his two recordings to partially experience what I had in my short time with my Father, the late, great, Donald G. Baduria.

*NOTE This profile was written and given to Herb by Daniel Baduria. Daniel is a great ‘ukulele player himself.  Look for his own recordings on the ‘ukulele in the near future.
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August 4, 1927 - January 7, 2017

Click arrow below to listen to Eddie Kamae

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 I remember when I first met Uncle Eddie at Ala Moana Center.  I was a member of the Honolulu Boys Choir and we were doing a Christmas concert at center stage with the Sons of Hawai’i.  I introduced myself to him and he said to me, “Nice to meet you! How’s dad?”

Through the years of learning, practicing, and hearing great stories from my father, I can truly say that if it wasn’t for Eddie Kamae, my father wouldn’t be where he is today, and I wouldn’t be playing the ‘ukulele at all.  Uncle Eddie, thank you for sharing your music, knowledge, wisdom, and your love with my father and me! 
Herb Ohta, Jr.

Edward Leilani Kamae was born on August 4, 1927.   When he was 14 years old, his brother found a ‘ukulele on the bus and brought it home.  That’s when it all started.   In 1946, after his discharge from the Army, Eddie began to take the ‘ukulele very seriously.

 After studying music theory with University of Hawai’i Professor Barbara Smith, Eddie tackled difficult classical arrangements.  He then teamed with musical partner Shoi Ikemi and called themselves the ‘Ukulele Rascals.

In 1960, Eddie was joined by Slack-key guitar legend Gabby Pahinui, Upright Bass player Joe Marshall, and Steel Guitarist David “Feet” Rogers to form the Sons of Hawai’i.

Eddie has done many recordings: A few recordings featuring his ‘ukulele wizardry, and many recordings with the Son’s of Hawai’i. 

Today, Eddie and his wife Myrna, produce and direct documentaries to preserve the Hawaiian language, music, history, and culture.  Eddie Kamae is truly a “living treasure of Hawai’i,” and a “living treasure to the world of the ‘ukulele.” 

Note: This profile was written by Herb Ohta, Jr. with blessings from Eddie Kamae  *Some information gathered from “The ‘Ukulele, A Visual History” by Jim Beloff
*Photo taken from “‘Ukulele Masters in Japan 1960 – 1964”  
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“Hawai‘i’s greatest ‘ukulele player.”
 -Johnny Noble (Hawaiian composer)

 Ernest Kaai was the first ‘ukulele virtuoso from Hawai‘i.  Ernest was a talented musician.  He also played the mandolin, violin, steel guitar, and guitar.  He was also a songwriter, music arranger, vocalist, and a music teacher as well.  Though talented musically, he is best known as a ‘ukulele player, composer, entertainer, and publisher. 

Because of his talented abilities, he is known for turning the ‘ukulele into a featured instrument of the Hawaiian Orchestra.  He organized Ensembles and also ran the Kaai ‘Ukulele Manufacturing Company.

Kaai is also credited for writing and publishing the very first ‘ukulele instructional book: “The ‘Ukulele, A Hawaiian Guitar” in 1916.  This book introduced the ‘ukulele as a sophisticated musical instrument.

Ernest Kaai was the foremost ‘ukulele king of his time.  As an entertainer, songwriter, he captivated people all over the world.  As a ‘ukulele virtuoso, his sophisticated strumming techniques and finger picking showcased his musical ability and also showcased the ‘ukulele as a solo instrument.  He was truly the first ‘ukulele ambassador of Hawai’i. 

Note:  Photos was taken from the book:
 Hawaiian ‘Ukulele, The Early Methods, The Collection of Popular Early Hawaiian ‘Ukulele Methods
©1998 Centerbrook Publishing

Profile was written by Herb Ohta, Jr

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Click arrow below to listen to Ohta-San

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At 9 years of age, Herb Ohta performed at a local radio station’s contest called “Amateur Hour” and walked away with first prize winnings. What humble beginnings.  Herb began playing the ‘ukulele when he was 9 years old. 
 At the age of 12, he met Mr. Eddie Kamae.  He taught Herb many techniques and told him to apply these techniques to all kinds of music.  Eddie was Herb’s first and most influential mentor.

 Eddie Kamae said of their first meeting:  “Herbert was maybe 12 years old.  He had his ‘ukulele and we talked.  I remember asking him to play a song for me.  He played the “Stars and Stripes Forever,” Jesse Kalima’s song.  I told him as time goes by, he should play something that would identify him.  I had a feeling that he was very dedicated and serious about his music.”

After World War 11, Ohta-san played his ‘ukulele at the Honolulu Army-Navy YMCA on weekends with John Lukela.  From 1953 – 1963 he served with the U.S. Marine Corps. During these years, his career as a musician prospered.  By the time he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1955, he had spent two years studying music theory with Barbara Smith at the University of Hawai‘i.
When he left the Marines, his former St. Louis High School classmate, Galen Kam, a distributor for Decca Records, introduced him to Don McDiarmid, Jr. President of Hula Records.  In 1964, his first recording was released.  He recorded “Sushi” for Hula Records, and was given his professional name, Ohta-san by Don McDiarmid, Jr.  “Sushi” became a hit!  The song was later released to Warner Brothers. 
Ever since then, Herb has performed at many hotels in Waikiki and traveled the world.  He has recorded on over 75 recordings locally in Hawai’i, internationally on the Decca, Surfside, Warner Bros., Polydor, JVC Victor, M&H Hawai’i, Poki, and others.  After the success of his now signature song “Song for Anna,” written for him by French composer Andre Popp (sold over 6 million copies), A&M Records signed him to a five-year recording contract.  He is the only ‘ukulele artist to have over 300 tunes played on national radio
Ohta-San’s style is expressive, with cleanliness and a feel that is unique.  It is very hard to describe. The listener has to determine the feeling that is expressed when they hear the ‘ukulele being played by the magical hands of Ohta-san.  A person will not believe that a ‘ukulele, being played by Ohta-san, is actually a ‘ukulele. 

Herb extends his love of the ‘ukulele from Hawaiian music to classical, jazz, rock, pop, and Latin.  His diversity, knowledge, and style reflect his lyrical sense, and respected as a master of his instrument. 
Today, Herb continues to fascinate his audiences at special events in Hawai’i and abroad.  He continues to record his feel for music with the ‘ukulele.  He his considered to be the best ‘ukulele virtuoso in the world.  He is considered by many to be a “‘ukulele god in Japan”.  Herb Ohta is surely one of the reasons why the ‘ukulele is where it is today, and where it will go in the future.
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Oct. 31, 1920 – Jul. 13, 1980

Click arrow below to listen to Jesse Kalima

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`Ukulele virtuoso, musician, singer, actor. Born in Honolulu on October 30, 1920, 2nd of 4 children to mother Amy Pakiko of Napo`opo`o, S. Kona, and father, Jesse Andre of Kailua, Kona. In 1926, at a very young age, Jesse's father passed away. Later, Amy Pakiko remarried Solomon Kalima and had a daughter. Jesse grew up on Green Block in Pālama and attended Kai`ulani School, Central Intermediate, and Farrington High School.

Jesse's mother, Amy, a teacher and democratic district president, also a singer and musician, performed with Lena Machado. At the age of 9, Jesse performed with his mother doing the hula on a flatbed truck for territorial political rallies. He learned to play the `ukulele from his mother at the age of six.

The family played in the American Legion Band. While at Farrington High School, Jesse played on the football team, also played the baritone saxophone in the school band where he learned to play marches like, "Stars & Stripes Forever", "Under the Double Eagle", and "Hilo March", and transferred the marches on to `ukulele. At age 15, he won 1st place in the Listerine Amateur Hour on KGMB, playing "Stars & Stripes Forever" and taught his brother Albert to accompany him on the stand up bass. He performed at Farrington's first Ho`olaule`a. His teachers were his biggest fans. In school, Jesse carried his `ukulele and someone else carried his books. He left school in his senior year to go to work.

Jesse moved from “Green Block” in Kalihi-Palama to Kapāhulu, where his mother died at the age of 39. Jesse traveled the islands playing in a dance orchestra with Henry Mucha on piano and he on saxophone. He taught his brothers, Albert and Honey to play musical instruments. Albert became one of the best upright bass players and Honey, a fine musician on guitar with an outstanding falsetto voice. Jesse’s sisters, Amy and Koleka also would join the group from time to time. About 1938, he formed a group with his brothers, and cousins, Junior Kalima, Julian Gaspar on steel guitar and Henry Mucha on piano. Their first job together was at a restaurant and their payment was food. You can imagine that the owner’s of that restaurant would have been richer if they paid the group in cash!

Their first big show was at the Princess Theater Pot Luck Show, with 3 hula dancers, (who also danced with his mom) Leilani Awo Alameida, Ida Wong, Momilani Victor Reeves (Keanu Reeves grandma), a female knife dancer Siliwa Kaleikini and a comic hula by Mona Kalima of the "Hilo Kalima’s". Curtis Kekoa, now a retired Colonel of the air force, was occasionally featured as a baritone vocalist. The success of the show landed a long contract at the Seaside Gardens.

Jesse worked during the day at the Shell Oil Company. Then in 1940, he married the girl next door, Dorothy Louise Routh Halouska, the boss’s daughter. Even as Pearl Harbor was invaded, he had to report to work at the oil company.

In 1942, Jesse and his wife moved to 256 Wai Nani Way in Waikīkī, where they later raised six children, Margo, Jesse Jr., Marsha, Dana, Andrea, & Kaliko. The Kalima Brothers had a strong following. During this time of war, Henry Mucha, his piano player, was drafted into the army. Jesse’s search for a young, talented musician ended when he heard this handsome young 13 year old, Richard Kauhi playing the organ at the Kapāhulu Theater. From then on, Richard was part of the family playing and practicing on Jesse's tiny stand up piano. Jesse was very particular of the sound he wanted from the piano and Richard learned very quickly.

The Kalima Brothers & The 1000 Pounds of Melody, a name they gave themselves because of their size and combined weight, made their first recording on the Bell Records label. They recorded many songs and also accompanied the group Kani Leo's.

Jesse loved the beach, he had a taxi stand across from Kūhiō Beach and a lot of kolohe things went on, like streaking across Kalākaua Ave. and skinny-dipping. Beach boys would come to the house and pick up the piano and carried it to Kūhiō Beach under the banyan tree, where Jesse and the gang would have jam sessions.

In 1948, Kalima Brothers played at Pago Pago, where he met Lucky Luck just out of the Marines. Jesse helped Lucky Luck set up a bottle club on Kalākaua Ave. and became close friends ever since. The Kalima Brothers performed at many USO shows, featuring Lucky Luck and Eddie Sherman, along with comedian, Gabby Gomes.

Jesse, Albert and Honey rehearsed with Johnny Costello, Jimmy Kaku, and Twinkle along with Sonny Kamaka in Jesse’s garage. They later played at the Koko Head Tavern as the "Kalima Jrs.". Later, Richard Kauhi formed his own group with these boys.

Jesse's garage also served as a place for old fashion, 3-day luaus, weddings, baby luaus, and a place where many would stop by. Just to mention a few - Eddie & Betty Cole (Nat King Cole's brother) on the piano out in the lawn. Also, James Darren, Richard Boone and a whole movie cast, Gabby Pahinui, Andy Cummings, Kahauanu Lake, Don Ho, Kui Lee, and many great island entertainers. It was also a place for teenagers to gather. A teen club called the Go-Getters Club with members likes Marlene Sai, Jesse's children, and other teenagers from around the neighborhood. His home was always open for the beach boys or anyone who needed a place to stay or sleep.

In 1950, Jesse opened a music store on Kalākaua Avenue selling `ukuleles with his own label. Just before that, he had a hamburger stand, also in Waikiki, on the corner of Kalākaua and Kapahulu.

During the 50's, Jesse & The Kalima Brothers traveled to Chicago and played at Club Waikiki. About this time, Jesse’s cousin, Julian Gaspar, passed away. Benny Kaneaikala joined the group to replace Julian. They later traveled to New York and boarded the S.S. Leilani on its maiden voyage to the Caribbean and through Panama Canal. The Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas with Mahi Beamer was a highlight of his travels.

Junior also was drafted and later he and Henry Mucha called California home. Honey pursued other interests. Honey recorded with the Royal Hawaiian Serenaders and performed at the Tahitian Hut in San Francisco.

Along with brother Albert, Jesse formed a new group with Sonny Waia`u on piano and Stanford Shutte on percussions. They recorded their first LP album, "Holiday in Hawaii" Luau time, produced by Sounds of Hawaii, Inc. on Lehua record label. "Lepe ula `ula" and "Po Me Ke Au" was just a couple of the outstanding songs on this album.

Sounds of Hawaii was so pleased with the first album, they called Jesse once again to record an instrumental album with just the ukulele. And so, he recorded his second LP, "Jess Uke", with songs like "Nani Ko`olau", "Haunani Mine", and "Hilo March".

Jesse recorded a single 45 with the song, "Nanakuli Ea" which became quite popular. "Richard Boone's Slack Key" was on the flip side, which he composed and dedicated to the actor. It was used in the documentary, "Mark Waters Story".

Jesse traveled to California to do the musical score for the movie "Kona Coast" starring Richard Boone and also, "Mark Waters Story" a documentary for an anti-smoking campaign.

Richard Boone and Jesse went to many parts of the island where Jesse would teach the `ukulele and Richard Boone would teach acting to teenagers as an outreach program. Kamaka `Ukulele donated instruments for this project.

Early 70's, brother Albert died. It was very hard for Jesse to replace him and then he met Cyrus Green, a gentle man with a beautiful voice.

Jesse opened up his own nightspot, called Jesse’s that used to be Kapahulu Tavern. There they played music and featured vocalists like Leina'ala Haile.

One of the proudest moments of Jesse's life is when he got to play with his sons, Jesse Jr. on bass, and Dana on percussions. They recorded their 3rd LP, "Jesse Kalima and Sons" with Sonny Waia`u, with songs like, "Kilakila O Moanalua", "Hilo Hula", "Mai Puni". He also featured his sister Dorothy "Koleka" singing "Punalu'u", also a very special song to Jesse, "Ka I'iwi Polena", which he took from a very old recording of his mother.

Also in the 70's, Little Joe Kekauoha and sister Koleka along with son, Jesse Jr., teamed up with Jesse and continued to play the circuits.

There was an occasion that touched Jesse very much. He volunteered to play at nursing homes. While playing at the Beverly Manor, he was told that this Hawaiian man never talked since he's been there at the nursing home. Jesse went over and sang a Hawaiian song to him, and to everyone's surprise he began to sing along with Jesse. Beverly Manor later honored him by having a “Jesse Kalima Day.”

Just before his passing, Jesse along with Little Joe, Jesse Jr. and his daughter, Andrea a hula dancer, gave his last performance at The Royal Hawaiian Poolside. After that performance, they went to see Don Ho at Polynesian Palace. They had a good time especially when Don called upon Jesse and Little Joe to sing a few songs. That was his last performance. After returning home and sharing his night experiences with his wife, Jesse passed away hours later in his wife's arms at the age of 59.

Jesse Kalima was a strong family man, with a very close family. He left behind a legacy of love and music. His children and grandchildren continue his legacy until this day.

This is from an editorial by the Star-Bulletin:

Jesse Kalima gave tons of music, laughter and tears to Hawai'i before his death.
"I cry music," he said in a 1972 Star-Bulletin interview.
"If I sing a song that touches me, I cry. You cannot
be a mechanical musician. You must love music within
your heart. People can tell when you sing from your heart."
Jesse's heart is still now, but his music lives in the memories of many.

• Jesse Kalima and Brothers were the first Hawaiian group to perform on live television on KGMB.

• He was the first to amplify a ukulele. He cut a rubber tube to hold the mike in place.

• The first Hawaiian band hired to perform on a steamship sailing out of Hawaii.

• Morrow’s Nut House named a candy after him. A recipe he came up with.

• Lifetime member of the American Federation of Musicians

• Member of the Elks Club

• Inducted in the Ukulele Hall of Fame in New Jersey in 2002

• 2005 Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award

TV appearances:
Kinipopo Show (Live)
Lucky's Lanai
Don Robb's Show (frequent guest)
Leonard's Bakery commercial
Royco Pluming commercial - Played a character "Noa Liki" and came up with the word "pipeline" (pronounced like a Hawaiian word)


Seaside Gardens
Biltmore Hotel
Dan’s Den
Lau Yee Chai
Elbow Room
Kalia Garden
Queen’s Surf
Grand Hotel
Pago Pago
Stardust - Las Vegas
Surfrider Hotel
Florentine Gardens
Bowling Alleys
Ginza Cafe
Haiku Gardens
Dot’s Drive Inn
Waikiki Harry’s
Kewalo Inn
Club Waikiki - Chicago
The Dragon’s Den
Park Shores Hotel
Zebra Room
Waikiki Holiday Inn - opening
Fort Shafter
Hawaiian Regent Hotel - opening
Waimea Ranch Hotel
Trader Vic’s
S.S. Leilani Cruise
Top of the Isle
Niu Malu Room
Many Parties
Many Special Guest Appearances

Note: This profile and photo was given to Herb by The Kalima 'Ohana for this website.
Special Mahalo to Kaliko!
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Born January 2, 1932, Wailuku, Maui to Thomas C. Lake and Cecelia Kuliaikanu’u Parker, 7th generation descendent of Kamehameha 1, Stepfather was Prince David Kalakaua Kawananakoa;

Married to Margaret Ma’iki, renowned Kumu Hula (deceased June 19, 1984)

Education: St. Augustine; Waikiki:  St. Louis, Honolulu:  St. Anthony, Wailuku, Maui:  St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California

Military Service: Korean War Veteran – 1954

Entertainment History:
1955 - Organized the Kahauanu Lake Trio, Halekulani Hotel
1967 - Entertained at the Kaimana Beach Hotel, Waikiki
1971 – Entertained at the Surf Room, Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Concert performances on all islands; Mainland U.S.A., and Orient

Recording For Hula Records
          “Kahauanu Lake Trio at the Halekulani”
          “Kahauanu Lake Trio at the Kaimana”
          “Kahauanu Lake Trio at the Royal Hawaiian”
           Seven Record Albums and 2 CD’s

Musical Compositions
          Pua Lililehua – For Ma’iki Lake (Lyrics by Kawena Puku’i)
          Pualeilani – For Prince Kuhio Kalaniana’ole
          Kawena – For Mary Kawena Puku’i
          Mauna’ala – For David Kalakaua Kawananakoa (Stepfather)
          Kuliaikanu’u – For Mother, Cecelia Kuliaikanu’u Parker
          Ka Wa Kahiko and Hole Waimea ‘Elua – For Kamehameha 1
          Ka’ahumanu Ali’i – For Queen Ka’ahumanu
          Ke’elikolani Nui – For Princess Ruth (Kamehamehas)
          Mokule’ia – (Lyrics by Kawena Puku’i) For Hula Records
          Ka Lehua Kapu – For Jesus Christ (music of Makalapua)
          Misty Rains and Lehua – (with Maddy Lam)
          At The Halekulani – (With Maddy Lam)
          Kaupo – For Thomas C. Lake (Father)
          1981 – Life Member – Friends of ‘Iolani Palace
          1986 – Na Makua Mahalo ‘Ia Award – Brigham Young University, Hawai’i
          1987 – Honpa Hongwanji Mission Hawai’i “Living Treasure”
          1989 – Na Hoku Hanohano “Lifetime Achievement Award”
          1997 – Ka Himeni Ana Tribute – Richard Towili, Hawai’i Theater
          1998 – David Malo Award, West Honolulu Rotary
          2001 – St. Louis School “Honorary Diploma”
          2002 – “Holoku Ball Honoree” – Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu

Current Activities
           Since 1995, Chairman, Advisory Board, Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame and Museum (Hawaiian Music Foundation)
          2002 – Director & Co-producer of CD (Hula Records):
          “Na Mele ‘Auhau”
          Songs of Tribute for the Kahauanu Lake Singers with “K” on the baritone ‘ukulele and Tommy Lake on stand – up bass.
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Lyle Ritz was assigned to an Army Band at Ft. Ord, California as a Tuba player in 1953.  During that duty, he studied String Bass.  At his release of duty from the military, he moved to Los Angeles.

As a new arrival, he worked in many local clubs.  Later, he worked with big bands such as Les Brown and Les Elgart.

Lyle recorded two Jazz ‘ukulele LP’s by Verve Records in the late 1950’s: “How About Uke” and “50th State Jazz”.

Lyle played with jazz woodwind man Paul Horn in his quartet, and with jazz guitarist Barney Kessel.  He did some location work with Andy Williams in Japan and Monaco, Nancy Sinatra in Canada and Lake Tahoe, and Ray Conniff for two South American tours.

Later as a studio bass man in Los Angeles working on both acoustic upright bass and Fender electric bass, Lyle played on more than 5000 recording sessions backing up many of the artists active in the 60’s and 70’s.  He contributed the bass lines to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ hit “Taste Of Honey”, Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds”, and Sonny and Cher’s hits.  He also recorded artists such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Linda Ronstadt, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Chet Baker, and the Righteous Brothers.

Lyle Ritz also played on motion picture and television sound tracks with Nelson Riddle, Burt Bacharach, Mike Post, and John Williams.  For the film “The Jerk”, Lyle played the ‘ukulele for Steve Martin on the track: “Tonight You Belong To Me”. 

Lyle is currently a Hawai’i resident and has focused on the ‘ukulele, recorded CD’s for Roy Sakuma Productions and Flea Market Music, and performs in the Annual ‘Ukulele Festival produced by Roy and Kathy Sakuma, as well as many appearances in the Hawai’i, Japan, and the mainland.

Note: This profile and photo was given to Herb by Roy Sakuma for this website.
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Listen to his music on iTunes

He was an artist, an actor, a practitioner and a mentor, but perhaps Nalani Moe “Animal” Keale will be remembered most as an “ambassador of aloha!” His love for the human soul was his passion and he loved sharing it with kama’aina and malihini alike. Friends would return to his shows regularly just to experience that aloha, hear his beautiful ukulele and pure Hawaiian voice.

Moe Keale was born on the island of Ni’ihau to native Hawaiian parents on December 3, 1939. His father was employed as a civil service worker at Pearl Harbor which eventually prompted Moe and some of his siblings to take up residence on the island of O’ahu. At the age of 4, Moe began playing the ukulele. He never put it down. From his childhood days at Palolo Elementary to his teen years attending Kaimuki and Roosevelt High School, he continued to fine tune his art. As a Waikiki beachboy, he would explain the concept of “beach boy music” to all passersby. It included the blending of jazz chords on the ukulele and 4 and 5 part vocal harmonies. It was the beginning of an era.

In the mid to late 60’s, Moe became an integral part of the “Sons of Hawaii” with Gabby Pahinui, “Feet” Rogers, Eddie Kamae and Joe Marshall. In 1987, Moe won his first Na Hoku Hanohano Award for his recording project called “Aloha is . . . A Part of Me, A Part of You”. Danny Lopez composed “A Part of Me, A Part Of You” and called it the “Hospital Song” because Moe would frequent the Queen’s Medical Center and sing this song to the patients there. Truly an example of aloha!

He formed several groups after that, but though he enjoyed playing with his steady musician friends, he loved performing with newcomers! He would tell me he wanted to help them ‘ease’ into the business. This expression of aloha has reaped dividends today as Hawaiian music continues to prosper. In a Na Hoku Hanohano Awards ceremony in 1997, Moe Keale was quoted as saying:
“One of the great pleasures being in our industry over the past two decades has been to witness the renaissance in Hawaiian music. Not only have great masters been appreciated again, but we’ve created masters within our own generation. And there is a healthy stream of young people coming forward determined to continue the art and artistry of traditional Hawaiian music.”

On April 15, 2002, Moe Keale died leaving a legacy he hoped would continue. He will be missed . . . .


Note: This profile was written and given to Herb by Michael Keale
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From the late 1960’s, there was one man that everyone wanted to emulate on the ‘ukulele.  This man is Peter Moon. 

Peter Moon was a major part of the Hawaiian Music Renaissance in the late 60’s, early 70’s.  He helped transcend the way Hawaiian music was being played.  As part of the legendary group Sunday Manoa with Robert and Roland Cazimero from 1968 – 1974, they inspired the young and the old with their style of music.  One integral part of their music was the musicianship and creativity of Peter on the ‘ukulele and guitar.

 In 1979, Peter went to even higher heights forming the Peter Moon Band.  With over 15 recordings to their credit under his own recording label (Kanikapila Records, Inc.), they toured Japan and the Mainland U.S.A, and won numerous Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Best Group, Album of the Year, etc…)

Today, Peter Moon continues to share his feel for the ‘ukulele and guitar by giving lessons to people who want to learn how to play.  He is one of the reasons why many musicians in Hawai’i today play guitar or the ‘ukulele.

Band Leader
The Sunday Manoa (1968 –1974)
The Peter Moon Band (1979 – current)

Record Distributor
Hailona Distribution, Inc. (1981 – current)

Record Label President
Kanikapila Records, Inc. (1981 – current)

Concert Promoter   
Kanikapila (1970 – 1995)
Blue Hawaiian Moonlight (1981 – 1998) O’ahu  Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association

Formerly on Board of Directors:
Hawai’i Youth Symphony
Hawaiian Music Foundation
Rehabilitation Center of the Pacific

Guitar and ‘Ukulele (Current)      

Note: This profile was written and given to Herb by Mr. Peter Moon for this website.
This photo(s) are from the Peter Moon Band Recording:
“The Best of Peter Moon” Panini Records PCD – 1013 (1981)
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There are teachers, and then there are Teachers.  Roy Sakuma is truly one of the gifted ones.

As a student of Herb “Ohta-San” Ohta, dean of Hawai‘i’s ‘ukulele artists, Roy Sakuma quickly proved himself as a stellar student.  When Ohta-San encouraged his disciple to venture out on his own, Roy didn’t follow in Ohta-San’s footsteps as a performing artist.  Instead he devoted himself wholeheartedly to teaching.

Since then, Roy has developed an effective and joyful method to teach anyone to play the ‘ukulele.  His system is fast and fun, about as close as you can get to becoming an instant ‘ukulele player.

Roy opened the first Roy Sakuma ‘Ukulele Studio in 1973.  Since then, the Studio has expanded to four locations on O‘ahu with a staff of 25 instructors, all of whom are former students.

Since 1970, Roy Sakuma and his sponsors have presented the Annual ‘Ukulele Festival in Waikiki.  He is the founder and executive director of the free Festival, which brings together the finest ‘ukulele players in the world, a ‘ukulele ensemble of over 300 children, and celebrity entertainers from Hawai’i and the mainland.

As a record producer, Roy has brought the beauty and versatility of the ‘ukulele to a much wider audience.  As well as featuring the ‘ukulele in the traditional setting of Hawaiian music, his catalogue showcases the instrument’s adaptability to Rock, Pop, and Jazz.  Sakuma’s label has garnered several Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Today, Roy and his wife Kathy continue to teach and promote the “‘UKULELE”.

Note: This Profile and Photo was given to Herb from Roy Sakuma for this website

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