Inspired to play ukulele after hearing Eddie Kamae

Living in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor Mother taught him how to play the ukulele Inspired to play ukulele after hearing Eddie Kamae How he got on the All-Navy show on Ed Sullivan Friend convinced him to make a record Number 1 Hit "Sushi" Playing 3 shows a night in Waikiki "Song for Anna" Performing in Japan

Transcripts available in the following languages:

Then I met Eddie Kamae when I was twelve years old. He was like late teens, like about nineteen. And the amazing thing is, he played for me in this coffee shop, and I was shocked that the ukulele could sound that good. To play all that…those intricate and difficult thing.

He did a lot of things, like playing double picking.  [plays ukulele] So I bugged him every weekend, after we were there, didn’t have school, to play for me. He didn’t actually say, do this, do that, do this. You know, he played for me, and by watching, I learned more.

All these things, he started, like Latin music. [plays ukulele]

So in the end, I ended up sounding like him, you know, his style. He told me, you better find your own way of playing, you know, style, because copying somebody isn’t such a great thing, you know. But like anything else, you have to do that in the beginning, I guess. Copy somebody, you know, who you admire or something.

So he took me under his, you know, under his arm, and he really gave me a chance to learn, you know.

Date: August 2012
Location: Hawai`i, US
Interviewer: John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

hawaii music musician ukulele

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

The Nippon Foundation