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Origin of the Ukulele

Ukulele is a musical instrument; the mystically pleasing sound originating from its string has ruled the air of North America for centuries.

It resembles a guitar, but it is smaller in size and has just four columns. 

Yet, despite having great cultural importance, very little has been researched about how Ukulele got its name? When did the Ukulele get invented? Who made the Ukulele famous? And many other questions like that.

We aim to answer these questions along with many others in today's blog post. So, don't go anywhere and read on.

 

The origin of the Ukulele:

Although the people who have closely followed the history of the Ukulele describe it as a musical instrument that is purely Hawaiian in origin, there are solid shreds of evidence that the Ukulele has its roots in the Portuguese braguinha or Machete de Braga.

It is said that the economic uplift due to sugar plantation in the mid-1800 caused an influx of a lot of Portuguese immigrants who brought their braguinha with them. It was then that the instrument received immense popularity among the Hawaiian population. 

How did the Ukulele Get Its Name?

There are several theories regarding the name Ukulele. According to a famous legend, when a passenger ship named Ravenscrag, after an arduous journey, reached the harbor of Honolulu, the passenger started singing songs along with playing the instrument. 

One of the passengers was moving his finger so quickly that it resembled fleas jumping. That is why the natives named it jumping flea, one of the possible translations of the Ukulele.  

However, Queen Lili'uokalani, who made serious efforts to help the Ukulele gain popularity, thinks differently. According to her, the Ukulele is a translation of the gift that came here. 

A brief history of the Ukulele:

After the instrument was brought to Hawaii, especially by three craftsmen, like Augusto Dias, Manuel Nunes, and José-do-Espírito Santo, who used to make instruments after working in the sugar fields, the device soon became a household item. 

One thing that particularly helped Ukulele to firm its position in North America was the immense support of the Hawaiian king, King David Kalakauna, and his sister Queen Liliuokalani. Both of them considered it a mandatory part of the country's culture and arranged lyrics contests for writing songs that could be played on the Ukulele.

The entry of the Ukulele into the mainstream international media was because of the beautiful landscape of Hawaii, which mesmerized tourists at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1915, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which took place in San Francisco to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, boosted the overall exposure of the Ukulele to the people.

The present scenario:

After the 1950s, the popularity of the Ukulele underwent a downfall. The invasion of rock and roll music and modern instruments badly impacted the overall demand for this old instrument. In many places, it was replaced by a guitar.

However, the sweet and unique sound of the Ukulele has made it able to come back to the scene again. More and more young boys are interested in Ukulele, and the instrument's future seems bright.  

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