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Kamaka Ukuleles Have Arrived!

Kamaka Ukuleles Have Arrived!

We are very happy to be virtually traveling to Hawaii as we welcome Kamaka Ukuleles to our inventory. Although we would have preferred to have personally traveled to Hawaii to pick up the ukes and take in some sunshine, we had to settle on having them built at the Kamaka workshop and flown over the blue water to snowy New Hampshire.

Samuel Kaialiilii Kamaka began building Koa ukuleles in the basement of his Kaimuki, Hawaii residence. It was 1916 when he named his shop, "Kamaka Ukulele and Guitar Works." It wasn't long before he had built a reputation as a builder of beautifully crafted ukuleles.

In 1921, Kamaka Ukulele was relocated to a larger factory. In the mid-20s, Sam Kamaka designed and patented what is popularly known as the pineapple ukulele, an oval which to many sounds increasingly resonant with an oval-shaped ukulele body. This became the signature ukulele at Kamaka.

Today,the factory is located in Honolulu where they utilize the native and traditional tone wood of Hawaii, koa. The word “koa” means “warrior” in Hawaiian. The warriors of King Kamehameha, created canoes and weapons from this high elevation wood which is plentiful on the Big Island of Hawaii. Interesting that something so delicate as a uke can share such a strong connotation within its make up.

Today, Koa is highly sought after because of its shimmering beauty and detailed grain. Land owners in Hawaii find it a good source of income. All koa harvested from the Big Island comes from naturally felled trees. The State of Hawaii and plantation landowners are conscious about sustainability of the koa forest and harvest the wood with the future in mind.

Tonally, Koa blends midrange focus with extra brightness and resonance. The more a koa uke is played, the more it opens up, adding warmth and sweetness to its voice. This is a perfect wood choice for a Kamaka ukulele, the littlest of the warriors.

As always, Northern Lights Music is happy to bring in Kamaka and introduce our New England community to this Hawaiian family's fine craftsmanship.


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