PODCAST: Here’s what an ukulele from the late 1800s sounds like
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The ukulele has a distinct sound, but have you ever thought about how it would sound if it were to come from the late 1800s or early 1900s?
Shawn Yacavone is owner of Ukulele Friend, selling specialty vintage and custom ukulele.
He first became interested in collecting ukulele as a kid. His dad is Italian from New Jersey and his mom is Filipino from Kauai. The story behind the ukulele — with its unique mix of cultures — was similar to his own.
“I’ve always taken an interest in the ukulele and I feel a strong sense of identity,” he said. “In my opinion, the ukulele, although it is identified as, you know, Hawaii or Hawaiian instrument, when I look at the origins of the ukulele, the history of the ukulele, it really is a blend of cultures.”
Today, Yacavone acquires and restore these vintage instruments — made as far back as the late 1800s — for educational projects. And on the business side, he sells new, custom instruments.
“To be able to acquire some of these instruments, they’re extremely rare,” he said. “Anything pre-1900s for ukuleles is extremely difficult to come by.”
In the latest episode of Island Beat, Billy V sits down with Yacavone, as well as musicians Halehaku Seabury-Akaka (with the group Na Hoa) and David Woodward (from the group Walea). They recently performed a benefit concert for Aloha United Way at Kapiolani Community College playing with some of the historical instruments.
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