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Best Hawaiian ukulele songs for beginners

Team Soundbrenner, in Music lessons
Aug 31, 2023 | 7 min read

Most instruments take months or even years of practice to be able to dash out a beautiful tune. But then there is the Ukulele, one of the easiest instruments for beginners to start their journey in the music world. All you need is a ukulele and a pocket ukulele tuner, and you can play countless Hawaiian ukulele songs. In fact, ukulele chords are much easier to learn since a typical ukulele has only four strings and you can start playing some of the most beautiful songs with as little as three ukulele chords only!

We all have that one Hawaiian ukulele song that haunts us constantly in our dreams. Hawaiian ukulele songs are the reason many ukulele players fell in love with the instrument and chose to pick it up and learn how to dash out beautiful music. At the same time, Hawaiian music with its wide array of styles is perfect for beginners to start practicing with their ukulele. 

Now some beginners may be wondering which Hawaiian song they should start with. Hence, today we are going to be covering some of the best Hawaiian ukulele songs for beginners to start learning with some of the songs on our list having varying degrees of difficulty and different chords.

1. “Aloha Oe,” by Queen Liliuokalani

Aloha Oe hawaiian ukulele song cover

Source: Homey Hawaii

The first song on our list is “Aloha Oe” by Queen Liliuokalani with only four ukulele chords C, F, G7, and C7 and a slow tempo that makes it an ideal song for beginners who are still learning their way around a ukulele. “Aloha Oe” has a wonderful serene melody that makes playing the song feel almost intuitive as you follow the tune’s pace with the right ukulele chords and tempo.

“Aloha Oe” is part of Hawaii’s heritage as it was written by Hawaii’s last monarch Queen Liliuokalani and sung by her as a farewell to Hawaii being an independent state before becoming part of the U.S.A.

2. “Ku’u home O Kahalu’u,” by Olomana

Olomana hawaiian ukulele song cover

Source: SoundCloud

The second song on our list only has three ukulele chords C, F, and G7. “Ku’u home O Kahalu’u,” by Olomana is a great song for beginners with a simple yet haunting melody. This Ukulele song’s simplicity doesn’t take away anything from its beauty with its serene tunes that carry a lot of emotional weight.

“Ku’u home O Kahalu’u,” directly translates to “My home is Kahalu’u,” as the ukulele song is about a boy who yearns for his home Kahalu’u which is a residential community on the island of Oahu. This classic Hawaiian song has a lot of different interpretations of its beautiful lyrics that reflect nostalgia and an emotional struggle. 

3. “Island Style,” by John Cruz

John Cruz playing ukulele

Source: SoundCloud

John Cruz delivers a hit for the ages with a rich story and equally melodic tunes in “Island Style,”. “Island Style,” by John Cruz is a great song for beginners with only three ukulele chords, C, F, and G7. This iconic Hawaiian ukulele song is one of the best songs for beginners to connect emotionally with the different tunes and melodies a ukulele can produce. “Island Style,” by John Cruz can also act as a gateway for ukulele beginners with a strong creative urge to explore different harmonies by adding their own little touches to the beautiful melody.

4. “Someone to Lava,” by Kuana Torres Kahle

Guide to play Someone to Lava on ukulele

Source: Scribd

“Someone to Lava” is one of the more recent additions to our list with three simple ukulele chords, C, G7, and F. This catchy Hawaiian ukulele song is great for beginners with a simple beat that feels intuitive as you are singing the song’s lyrics. As your ukulele knowledge increases, you can explore and learn to play some of your favourite songs. This can be done simply by checking the Ukulele tabs for that song.

“Someone to Lava” by Kuana Torres Kahle isn’t just catchy. The song’s upbeat tune and romantic lyrics create a serene atmosphere wherever they are played. The song is about a volcano praying to the earth, sea, and sky for someone to “lava” from the bottom of his magma.

5. “Mele Kalikimaka, the Hawaiian Christmas Song” by Bing Crosby

Mele Kalikimaka, the Hawaiian ukulele Christmas Song

Source: Spotify

We are going to be taking it up a notch with “Mele Kalikimaka, the Hawaiian Christmas Song” by Bing Crosby. It has 5 ukulele chords, G, D7, E, C, and A7. This is the perfect Hawaiian ukulele song for beginners to learn when the holidays are just around the corner. “Mele Kalikimaka” is a song that will spread Christmas joy no matter where and when you play it.

“Mele Kalikimaka” literally means “Merry Christmas”. Robert Alex Anderson originally wrote the song in 1949. The earliest recording of the song can be traced back to 1950. Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters originally performed the song.

6. “Over the Rainbow,” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

Over the Rainbow ukulele song cover

Source: Wikipedia

Now we can’t make a list covering Hawaiian ukulele songs without including “Over the Rainbow”. “Over the Rainbow,” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole is the reason many ukulele players today choose to pick up the instrument. This song is a bit more advanced with 6 ukulele chords, C, G, Am, F, E7, and Dm7. However, it is definitely a song worth learning with serene lyrics and melody. It will transport its listeners to a much more peaceful and calming plane.

“Over the Rainbow,” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is a medley. It is a beautiful take on “Over the Rainbow” by actress Judy Garland and “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. The song was originally recorded in 1988 in Hawaii.

7. “E Huli Makou,” by David Chung

Guide to play E Huli Makao on ukulele

The last song on our list “E Huli Makou” by David Chung is one of the most straightforward and most fun to play. It has only three ukulele chords, G7, C7 and F that you can tune using pocket ukulele chords. “E Huli Makou” is a fantastic song for ukulele beginners who love to liven the atmosphere with their music.

“David Chung originally composed the song “E Huli Makou” for a Hawaiian show in 1949. He gained a bellhop earning 26 cents an hour at the old Kona Inn. His fellow employees performed the song.

Thanks for reading our article on the best Hawaiian ukulele songs for beginners! We at Soundbrenner are dedicated to helping musicians stay focused on what truly matters: their music. By creating innovative devices, such as Soundbrenner Pulse and Core, our goal is to deliver the best possible practice experience for musicians. Click here to find out more.

Got a question about Soundbrenner wearables? Reach out to us at [email protected], we’re happy to help!

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