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Hawaii considers making it official with ukulele

  • ­Dennis Oda / doda@staradvertiser.comThe Waikiki Community Center had been looking to expand its senior program
    ­Dennis Oda / doda@staradvertiser.com
    The Waikiki Community Center had been looking to expand its senior program

Hawaii’s ubiquitous ukulele could become the state’s official state musical instrument under a bill lawmakers are considering.

The tiny, four-stringed guitar has been associated with Hawaii since the late 1800s. It was adopted by the Hawaii royal family, and became a symbol of patriotism as the island nation lost its independence to the U.S.

The instrument has entered the mainstream music world through Tiny Tim, who played as he sang "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" in the late 1960s, and Bette Midler, who grew up in Hawaii and sang "Ukulele Lady" on national television in 1997.

Lately, ukulele virtuosos such as Honolulu’s own Jake Shimabukuro have helped elevate the instrument’s stature.

The bill states that recognizing the ukulele would honor music teachers and musicians throughout the state.

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