SOLD OUT! (But you can still join us!)


Rooms at the Kohala Village Inn for the 2017 Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Festival are currently sold out!

But, if you can find accommodations nearby, we’d love to have you join us at the kama’aina rates:

• FULL TIME – Includes all workshops, activities, evening performances, and three meals/day, Sunday –  Friday, Oct. 15 – 20 – $1,189

• DAY TIME – Includes lunch, only, and all day-time workshops and activities, Monday –  Friday, October 16 – 20  – $869

Be sure to visit the website for a full list of instructors and workshops they’ll be teaching.  We’ve got a little bit of something for everyone, including more expanded workshops for Hawaiian lap-steel guitar!

Register Now!

Kevin Carroll      Lehua AhSam      Gerald Ross      KonaBob      Kaliko Beamer-Trapp      Lady Ipo      Brad Bordessa

Lehua Wilson AhSam – The Jewel in the Crown

Lehua Wilson AhSam has been an integral part of the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat since we moved to the Kohala Village Hub two years ago. So, we thought it was time to let you all know a little more about her.

O Kaneohe Koolaupoko kuu one hanau

O Hilo Paliku kuu wahi hanai

O Kohala Loko kuu wahi noho 

O Lehua Ah Sam kuu inoa 

Roughly interpreted: Lehua was born in Kaneohe, Oahu; raised in Hilo, Hawai’i; and lives today in “deep” Kohala with her husband’s family.

But there is much more to Lehua Wilson AhSam than all the places she has been, and she continues to astound us all with her resources, talent, skill, and generosity.  She is the “tock” to the “tick” of the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat: consistently sure and steady, relentlessly operating in the background (as the Executive Director of the Kohala Village Hub), and absolutely indispensable.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and a Master’s in Hawaiian Studies, is fluent in Hawaiian language, and teaches Hawaiian Studies at the Hawaiian Community College.  She is also trained in Hula and has performed at the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo. . . . .and to hear her sing is to take a journey back to the time of the Hawaiian monarchs.

Lehua is also a crew member for Makali’i, Hawai’i Island’s own voyaging canoe.

“He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa” 

“The canoe is our island, and the island is our canoe.”

It is Lehua’s passion for Hawaiian culture and all things wa’a (canoe-related) that will inform and enhance our “extra-curricular” activities, especially our visit to the Maka o Hule Heiau. It is her attention to every detail during our stay at the Kohala Village Inn that will ensure our success, again, at this year’s Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat October 15 – 21, at the Kohala Village Hub in Hawi.

Lehua joins a staff of exemplary talent at this year’s retreat: Gerald Ross (‘Ukulele and Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar); Brad Bordessa (‘Ukulele); Kevin Carroll (‘Ukulele and Uke-estra); Lady Ipo (‘Ukulele and Hula); Kaliko Beamer-Trapp (‘Ukulele and Story-telling); and KonaBob (Slack-key Bass and  Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar.)

It’s not too late to register, but we only have 3 rooms left at the Kohala Village Inn!  So hurry, if you don’t want to miss the most fun you can have with your ‘ukulele on, Hawaiian style!

Click Here for On-line Registration

Lady Ipo Comes Back to Hawi!

Lady Ipo Kahaunaele-Ferreira

Born and raised on Kaua`i, Lady Ipo grew up in a household and community where generations of family members sang, played various instruments (including the ‘ukulele), and danced hula in a typical backyard kanikapila.  Some of you may have seen her impromptu appearance on opening night at last year’s retreat and already know what a valuable addition she will be to the staff of the 2017  Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat, October 15 – 21, in Hawi on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

Lady Ipo came of age at a time when the easiest and most available job for high school graduates on Kauai was singing and playing ukulele at the Wailua River Fern Grotto during the day and  for luaus at the various hotels at night. For many years she danced hula, shared stories of the islands, poured mai tais, emceed shows, and sewed leis. And thus began a career as a performer, recording artist, and teacher that has lasted 45 years!

And she’s not done yet!

Lady Ipo will be joining us at the Kohala Village Hub this year to teach Mele Pana (songs of the Hawaiian Islands) and Hula, bringing the lyrics to life through dance.  But, she’ll also be mixing it up a little bit and will be teaching a few Hapa Haole Classics (with a little swing thrown in for good measure) and a couple of  “Hawaiian” tunes made famous by Elvis when he was on Kauai filming “Blue Hawai’i.

Hawaiian music done traditionally or with a little swing, songs of old (and new) Hawaii, hula that tells the story in the song. . . . .these are the stylings of Lady Ipo Kahaunaele-Ferreira and this is just a small bit of what she will be sharing with us at the retreat.

Lady Ipo rounds out an already stellar staff with: Gerald Ross (lap steel and ‘ukulele), Kevin Carroll (‘ukulele and uke-stration), Brad Bordessa (‘ukulele), Kaliko Beamer (‘ukulele, stories, Hawaiian pronunciation, and rhythm), and KonaBob (stick bass and steel guitar).

And!  We still have a few rooms left at the Kohala Village Inn, if you’d like to join us! There really is no better place to learn to play the ‘ukulele than Hawai’i!

Register Now

Introducing Kaliko Beamer Trapp

Kaliko Beamer Trapp will always hold a special place in my heart.  He is the instructor who took this faltering, struggling ‘ukulele beginner with six thumbs on each hand, and got her to the point where she could change chords, strum, and sing (in Hawaiian). . . . .all at the same time. . . . .and with a certain amount of ease!  So Kaliko was a natural choice to teach our beginning ‘ukulele classes at the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat. . . . . .and  this year, we were finally able  to nab him!

But, teaching beginning ‘ukulele is just the tip of the iceberg.

Kaliko, is the hānai (adopted) son of the late Aunty Nona Beamer and brother of famed Hawaiian slack key guitarist, Keola Beamer. He is an avid student of Polynesian culture and language and is a lecturer in Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. And he’s a fabulous story teller who lovingly, and respectfully, recounts the ancient tales of his adopted homeland. He will be bringing all of that with him to this Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat, October 15 – 21, at the Kohala Village Inn in Hawi.

In addition to teaching ‘ukulele for beginners, Kaliko will be teaching a workshop on rhythm (something we all can use) with traditional Hawaiian percussion instruments and another workshop focusing on “Hawai’i Aloha,” the beautiful song that traditionally closes any Hawaiian gathering or ceremony. His students will also  learn the meaning and correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian words.  (Imagine if you heard a visitor enthusiastically singing “Tinkle, tinkle, little star!”. . . . .Don’t be that person!)

He will also be offering delightful storytelling sessions each day after lunch, Ha’i Mo’olelo, accompanied by a Hawaiian mele, or song.  And Kaliko will also be our personal guide for an optional visit to Pu’ukoholā Heiau, a temple built by King Kamahameha and dedicated to Kū, the Hawaiian war god.  There’s a fascinating story there no visitor to North Kohala should miss.

Kaliko’s fun-loving approach to ʻukulele and his ability to make everyone feel at ease as they chart new territory will be a huge benefit to all beginners at this year’s retreat. But what he brings for everyone else is every bit as valuable: a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Hawaiian music, culture, history, language, and tradition . . . . . a very important piece of the puzzle that makes up this year’s Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat. We sincerely hope you can join us.

Register Now

(Hurry!   We only have 4 rooms left!)

Brad Bordessa: Going places with his ‘ukulele

Brad Bordessa has been with the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat from the beginning, but I have known him much longer than that.

We first met at Keoki Kahamoku’s Hawaiian Lifestyle Workshop in Pahala, back in 2007. Brad was just 14 years old at the time, but even then, he showed amazing promise and a passion for music that went well beyond wanting to “wow” everyone with youthful skill and speed. He was hungry to learn and eager to share what he was learning with everyone around him, but he did it in an unassuming and generous manner. Barely in their teens, Brad and a friend created Live ‘Ukulele,  one of the first on-line blogs devoted exclusively to the instrument. That blog, now more than 10 years old, is still maintained by Brad and is updated regularly with lessons, tabs, and gear reviews. To this day, it is a valuable resource for all students of the ‘ukulele.

Over the years, Brad, who now lives in  Honoka’a, just over the hill from Hawi, has been mentored by the best:  Chuck Moore, George Kahumoku, Herb Ohta, Jr., and James Hill. And while Brad is an amazing performer and a thoughtful and talented songwriter, he also excels at sharing with his students all he has learned from the masters in an easy-going,  informative manner that is easy for “adult learners” to comprehend.

Brad is always on the look-out for things he thinks we need to learn and ways to teach complex concepts in an understandable fashion. That’s what he brings to the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat each year, That’s why we keep asking him back.

Among other things we can expect from Brad at the retreat this year are some definitive workshops on ‘Ukulele Chord Shapes, since he just wrote the book on that subject. He’ll also be teaching us how to play using our ears–and not our eyes–and how to strum and pick to deliver a cleaner, more polished, sound, over all. For more advanced players, Brad will be teaching a brand new workshop on how to tab out some favorite tunes, so you can create your own arrangements with a little finger picking, alternate chords, and chord melody.

Brad joins an all star line-up at this year’s retreat in Hawi, October 15 – 21, with Gerald Ross, Kevin Carroll, Kaliko Beamer Trapp, Lady Ipo, and KonaBob.

We still have a few rooms left and Early Bird prices are  in effect until midnight (PST) tonight (July 1). So, if you’re thinking of joining us, this would be a great opportunity to take the plunge and save a hundred dollars or more in the process.

Plus, you really should take this opportunity to meet Brad now, so you can say, “I knew him when.”

Tchaikovsky comes to Hawai’i!

Tchaikovsky and Irish Fiddle Tunes!

jifkogfiddjpfbbkHave we got a treat for you! ‘Ukulele instructor extraordinaire, Kevin Carroll, will be joining us at the Kohala Village Inn, October 15 – 21, for the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat, bringing incredible opportunities to learn and play world music with one of the finest instructors we know.

How about learning a little Celtic ‘Ukulele?  You’d be surprised at how similar in format and spirit an Irish “session” is to an Hawaiian kanikapila and how readily an ‘ukulele can play Celtic fiddle melodies!

Or how about a 5-day class in ‘Ukulele Blues & Soul to experience the gritty, rhythmic tones and textures that unfolded as “the blues” and morphed into “soul.”  Think Bessie Smith. The Four Tops. Vocalists, bass players, baritone and standard ukulele players will all find ample opportunities here to expand their skill sets.

And if you’re a classical music buff (and even if you’re not) you could work on your picking, strumming, timing, and learning to play as an ensemble while learning, practicing and performing Tchaikovsky’s Chanson Triste. . . . .on the ‘ukulele!

And because it is Hawai’i (and because Kevin always goes all out), don’t be surprised if  Kevin also brings us a couple of  arrangements of classic Tin-Pan-Alley “Hawaiian” tunes to play as an Hawaiian band!

Honi kâua wikiwiki!

We love working with Kevin Carroll and his students agree that he is simply one of the best ‘ukulele instructors out there.  We are over the moon that Kevin has agreed to join us in Hawi  and hope you will join us as well!

Registration is open and we still have rooms available in all categories, though all choices (especially with shared bathroom) are in increasingly short supply. Register soon for the most options.

Click here for more information.

Guess who’s coming to Hawi?

No doubt about it, some of the folks who come to the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat are hankering for ways to expand their musical repertoire beyond the ‘ukulele. Consequently we will be extending this year’s offerings by bringing in the “King of Swing,”  the inimitable Gerald Ross, who will be teaching not only ‘ukulele, but Hawaiian lap steel guitar, as well.

For many years now, Gerald has been one of our favorite ‘ukulele instructors, always bringing new advanced techniques and tunes (and occasionally a few new jokes), and delivering them all with a relaxed, easy-going style (bordering on mischievous) that only someone with his years and years of musical experience can deliver.  (He did, after all get his start on “Captain Kangaroo.”)

Not only are Gerald’s workshops top-notch, but he is also an amazing band leader with a propensity for putting together some stellar bands on the fly, and bringing out the best in everyone!  He is a jam master extraordinaire and his musical repertoire seems limitless, from tunes of the Big Band era to the slinky tones of surf music. . . . . and beyond.

Gerald joins a stellar cast of characters already committed to this year’s retreat, including Hawai’i Island’s own KonaBob, Brad Bordessa, and Kaliko Beamer. So, you know we’re in for a week of wonderful ‘ukulele instruction, camaraderie, and good-hearted fun.

There’s more to come, including a few additions to the staff, but in the meantime you should know that registration is  now open and we’d love to have you join Gerald and the rest of the crew at the Kohala Village Inn, in the lovely little town of Hawi, October 15 – 21.

Click here for rooms and rates