The month of October is nearing it’s close and if you live in the United States you know how much we love Halloween. My last couple posts have been about the spookiest time of the year, like how you can ‘Frankenstein’ an ukulele to learning to play catchy Halloween themes. But for this post I’m gonna switch gears as there is another huge event we celebrate all month long that I don’t want to miss. This being ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’. So if you’ve seen the flood of professional athletes wearing pink socks, and just pink ribbons everywhere, you now know what they are supporting.
When I think about breast cancer awareness I think of the ladies in my life. My mom, wife, and soon to be born daughter (January 8, 2021). Then there are the many friends and family members that have had their lives changed by this disease. Whether they have fought the fight, or have lost someone to this horrible disease. This is why we at Leolani are donating parts of the proceeds from all our online sales to the BCRF, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, in the month of October. The BCRF is valiantly fighting the fight to find a cure for breast cancer.
So for this post I wanted to spread joy by highlighting some of the ladies of ukulele. These women sure can jam on the ukulele. I can’t even hold a candle to them!
Here we GO!
Honoka and Azita
Better known as Honoka and Azita, Honoka Katayama and Azita Ganjali stole the hearts of ukulele community and the world. They met each of other while learning the ukulele at Ukulele Studio in Honolulu under the tutelage of ukulele sensei Jody Kamisato. They became friends and realized that their skills complemented each other. When I say these ladies sure put on a show, that is a huge understatement! From their quick picking to their advanced strumming, these ladies will leave you smiling. And that‘s apart of their appeal, their magnetic smiles! Oh, and if you didn’t know—— they can sing as well.
As of 2019, Honoka has moved on as a solo artist blazing a new path while Azita is currently pursuing her degree in medicine. But I’m not gonna lie if I said I’m already excited for their reunion and return!
Maia Mayeshiro is a bright up and comer. I had the pleasure of getting to know her when she worked at the famous ukulele company KoAloha! She is sweet and full of positivity. But don’t let that give you the impression that she’s all sunshine and rainbows. Put a ukulele in her hand and the storm clouds roll in. Her playing is electric to watch!
Maia found her inspiration to play the ukulele from her older brother TJ. Him too being an exceptional ukulele artist. A family that jams together stays together! Maia is not only known for her playing but also for her beauty having entered and winning beauty pageants. Try and guess what her talent was during the talent segment of the contest.
Check her talent out here!
Brittni Paiva has been enthralling audiences for almost 20 years. She started playing the ukulele at 11 years old and cut albums shortly after. It all started when her grandfather bought her an ukulele. Being classically trained on the piano since she was 4, Brittni transferred her passion to the ukulele and the rest is history! She’s even played on stage with legends Carlos Santa and Tommy Emmanuel.
Brittni’s level of musical knowledge makes her an incredible artist to watch and listen to. Every note and strum being methodically chosen to make you feel the music! Bravo!
numerous other awards and nominations throughout the years,
Read my post on my current top 10 ukulele players and you will know what I feel about Taimane. An artist to the core of her being. Strong, feminine, and supremely talented! Taimane has been playing the ukulele since she was could ride a tricycle. Her name means ’diamond’ in Samoan and she truly is a diamond the rough. She plays many genres and lives her art.
Another amazing artist in my top 10 post! I‘m a huge fan of Karlie Goya and can‘t wait to see what she puts out into the universe. By the age of 18, she already has won numerous awards and competitions. She is not only a gifted ukulele player, but an amazing singer, songwriter, and producer!
Grace Vanderwaal! The 16 year old phenom who stole the hearts of America on AGT. I mean she won the whole SHEbang! Hyper talented. She picked up the ukulele at young age (she’s still young) and secretly honed her craft posting videos of her original songs and covers on YouTube and performing at open mics. Then she entered the AGT at just 12 years old. Just her, her talent, and her ukulele.
Thanks to Grace, the ukulele resurged amongst the younger generation, becoming the gateway instrument for a new generation.
Thank you ladies for your incredible talent! I hope you all enjoyed this post showcasing some of the best ukulele players in the game.
Let’s not forget to stand together and fight the good fight of ending breast cancer. Support the BCRF and love on the ladies in your life!