"Pure 'Ukulele" By Herb Ohta, Jr.





  1. 01 Ka Makana
  2. 02 Sunrise
  3. 03 Kuahiwi Kau I Ka Noe
  4. 04 Nāpili Slack Key
  5. 05 Trade Winds
  6. 06 Magic Castle
  7. 07 Ten
  8. 08 Hui ʻAna
  9. 09 Nalu
  10. 10 Maluhia
  11. 11 Always With Me

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Executive Producer: Lele Music Productions & ʻUkulele Source
Producer(s): Herb Ohta, Jr. & DJ Pratt
Recording Engineer: DJ Pratt
Mix: DJ Pratt
Mastering: DJ Pratt
Photography: Kumagai Akira, Jam International
Graphics: Yuko Porter, Media Etc.
Recording Studio: Blue Planet Sound


In my 23 years in this crazy but fulfilling thing we call the music business, I met so many people, made so many friends, and learned so much by traveling around the world performing Hawaiian music. I want to continue what so many ʻukulele artist before me have done promoting this small and humble instrument.

Through the years, I’ve had many requests for a recording with just the ‘ukulele. They commented wanting to hear what I was truly doing on the instrument, and they couldn’t hear that with other instrumentation.

So with “Pure ‘Ukulele”, I wanted to present the songs with no other instrumentation. This is a first for me and was actually a challenge for me just recording the ‘ukulele. But after listening, I hope that everyone will appreciate the pure sound of the ‘ukulele.

Herb Ohta, Jr.

Extraordinary, beautifully melodic, dynamically calming….. Herb Ohta, Jr. - Hawaii's own 'ukulele master technician - performs his favorite melodies of past, present, and of the Pure 'Ukulele with grace.

DJ Pratt
Founding member of the popular group, KALAPANA
01 Ka Makana Herb T. Ohta, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Ka Makana was written for the Tohoku region of Japan after the earthquake and Tsunami of 3/11/11.

02 Sunrise Herb T. Ohta, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Sunrise was written in Korea earlier this year while on tour there. Missing a nice sunny day.

03 Kuahiwi Kau I Ka Noe Herb T. Ohta & Darciann L.M.L. Baker, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Written about missing a place that I’ve traveled to.

04 Napili Slack Key Herb T. Ohta & Sterling M. Seaton, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Written during a sound check at Uncle George Kahumoku’s Slack-key concert with Sterling.

05 Trade Winds Herb T. Ohta, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Written with trade Winds in mind. Sometimes gentle breeze, and sometimes gusty.

06 Magic Castle Kwangjin Kim, EX Entertainment
Heard this song while on tour in Korea. Fell in love with the melody. A very popular K-Pop song.

07 Ten Herb T. Ohta & Keith K. Yoshioka, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Written with Keith Yoshioka. Keith had a chords and wanted melody to his progressions. Came up with this song before we went on tour in Korea in 2012.

08 Hui ʻAna Herb T. Ohta, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Hui ‘Ana means to meet, togetherness…. WITH A PERSON OR GROUP

09 Nalu Herb T. Ohta, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Written at Punalu’u Beach on the Big Island. Keoki Kahumoku’s music camp was spending a couple of days at the beach. Had a break between lessons and while watching the waves coming in, wrote this song.

10 Maluhia Herb T. Ohta, Lele Music Publishing ASCAP
Written while in Japan on tour thinking of how peaceful it is in on Sunday mornings in Japan compared to other days of the week. Maluhia means peace or peaceful. I thought it was a perfect title.

11 Always With Me (Itsumo Nandodemo) Wakako Kako / Youmi Kimura, Studio Ghibli Inc. (JASRAC) Administered by Sony/ATV Tunes LLC (ASCAP)
Originally recorded on a Japan CD back in 2007. This song is one of the songs from a Japanese animation movie called Spirited Away. Performed it many times in Korea, Thailand, the Mainland US and people couldn’t get the CD. This song was also a favorite of Hiroyo, a close friend that passed away earlier this year. It was a no brainer to record this song again.

Star Advertiser
December 22, 2013

Island Mele
Review By John Berger

Stacks Image 158

Ohta Jr. goes ‘Pure’

Throughout his career, currently two decades and counting, Herb Ohta, Jr. has emerged from the shadow of his father, internationally acclaimed ‘ukulele virtuoso Herb “Ohta-san” Ohta, with a similar commitment to precision and technique.

There is certainly a place for experimentation as the ‘ukulele continues to evolve --- various sizes, additional strings, different materials and, of course, the full range of electronic effects used over the years by rock guitarists. Ohta Junior has left such things to others and concentrated instead on achieving everything he possibly can with the basics: four strings and an acoustic wooden instrument.

His musical odyssey includes solo albums recorded with studio musicians
behind him and duet projects with other well-known artists. With “Pure ‘Ukulele,” Ohta steps out entirely on his own --- no celebrity partners, no studio musicians, just the pure sound of a solo ‘ukulele.

Nine of these instrumentals are original compositions. One that is not, “Always With Me (Itsumo Nandodemo),” is known to anime fans as the closing theme of Hayo Miyazaki’s Oscar - winning movie “Spirited Away.” It will certainly appeal to his many fans.

Originals titled “Sunrise” and “Napili Slack Key” catch the ear with their faster, brisker tempos.

The Japanese song stands out as an example of Ohta’s skill as an arranger of other composers’ work. The beauty that can be achieved with a solo ‘ukulele comes through on all of them. So does the range and precision of Ohta’s technique in playing what he describes as a “small and humble instrument.”

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