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The Ukulele, Ukelele (this is by English translation) or simply Uku It is an instrument that makes us imagine the Hawaiian Islands but does it really originate in this region of the world?
Traditional Hawaiian music is based solely on rudimentary songs and percussions (na mele oli) used to accompany the dances (hula). So specifically the ukulele does not have its native origin in Hawaii.
It tells the story that at the end of the 19th century, from the Portuguese island of Madeira, the British ship SS Ravenscrag sailed loaded with 423 crew, most destined to work in the sugar cane plantations. The Ravenscrag, after a four-month trip, arrived at the port of Honolulu on the island of O'ahu on August 23 of 1879.
Upon arriving in Honolulu, João Fernandes takes his cavaquinho and plays a song with him, captivating the locals with his sound. The natives called it Ukulele which literally means "Jumping flea" (Uku is a flea in Hawaiian, and Lele means jumping) Up to here we can see that Cavaquinho is called Ukulele.
Our Ravenscrag crew, after finishing their contract in sugarcane plantations, stayed in Honolulu as carpenters. They made furniture and musical instruments such as guitars, cavaquinhos and five-string rajãos (another typical Madeira instrument). At one point they created a hybrid, with the shape of the cavaquinho and its four strings, but with a tuning similar to the rajão of 5 strings. This is how the Ukulele was born.
The official date of presentation of the Ukulele is in 1889 at a party held on the British yacht Nyanza in the port of Honolulu. Perhaps the fact that the instrument was linked to royalty and that it was built with Koa wood Native to Hawaii (and a symbol of respect for land and nature) made the instrument an undisputed symbol of Hawaii.
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