Learn to play the Hawaiian song, "Wahine Ilikea" on Ukulele
Play along with the "Wahine Ilikea" Ukulele Play-Along with Kawika, Kaui, and Aldrine and if you need some extra help start with STEP 1 below. The chords for this are fairly simple and the rhythm doesn't get too complicated, so with some practice you should be playing along in no time!
STEP 1 - Chord Practice
First, you'll need to learn the four chords for the intro and chorus:
Gmaj7(0222), Am(2000), Bm7(2222), G7(0212)
Most of the time you'll do the pattern: Gmaj7, Am, Bm7, Am. So practice switching between those chords until you can do them with ease, using the following diagram as a guide:
Box 1: Gmaj7, Box 2: Am, Box 3: Bm7, Box 4: Am, Box 5: Gmaj7, Box 6: Am, Box 7: Bm7, Box 8: Am, Box 9: Gmaj7, Box 10: Am, Box 11: Bm7, Box 12: Am, Box 13: Gmaj7, Box 14: Am, Box 15: Gmaj7, Box 16: G7
Use the video below to practice the chord switches that happen during the chorus:
For the verse, the only two additional chords that you'll need to learn are Cmaj7 and D
The chord order for the verse goes like this:
Boxes 1-4: Cmaj7, Boxes 5-7: Gmaj7, Box 8: G7, Boxes 9-12: Cmaj7, Boxes 13-14: Gmaj7, Boxes 15-16: D
Use the video below to practice the chord switches that happen during the verse:
STEP 2 - Beginner Rhythm
Now that you know how to hold the chords and switch to them at the right times during the chorus and verse, practice strumming four down strums for each box in the diagram. Then, progress to adding up strums in between each of the downs.
Use the following video to practice basic rhythm with the chorus chords:
And this video to practice a basic rhythm with the verse chords:
Once you're comfortable using this simple rhythm, try playing along with the Play-Along at the top of the page, using either the down strums or the down and up strums. Congratulations, you just played through the beginner version of this song!
STEP 3 - Intermediate Rhythm
If you're an intermediate player, feel free to continue on with a rhythm slightly closer to what Aldrine is playing. Use a form of the "island strum" to start, then add a roll to the second beat of each box.
Play around with this rhythm and see what works for you. When you're ready, try playing along with the Play-Along at the top of the page and incorporate the strumming rhythm that feels and sounds right to you. Great job, you just played the intermediate version of this song!
STEP 4 - Picking
Finally, as an option, you can add picking to this song. Both Kawika and Aldrine improvised their solos for the Play-Along recording. This means, based on their knowledge of music and familiarity with the song, they came up with their own picking on the spot. For advanced players, it may be more helpful to practice improvising your own solos over this song.
Use the following video, which has the volume of Aldrine's improvised solo turned down, to improvise your own solos. Use the notes of the G scale on the fretboard diagram on the left side of the screen as a reference for "safe notes" you can play.
For those who really want to know the exact picking parts improvised by Kawika (Picking 1) and Aldrine (Picking 2), check out the following videos slowed down to 60% speed. Refer to the Wahine Ilikea Ukulele Picking TABS (.pdf) for more guidance.
When you're happy with your improvisation or have learned the picking parts that Kawika and Aldrine played, try going back to the Play-Along at the top of the page and play along at full speed. Awesome, you've just played the advanced version of this song!
No matter what skill level you're at, use the resources to learn as much as you can and try out this song! It's one of those Hawaiian songs that you'll often hear at live music events in Hawaii. Take your time to familiarize yourself with it, and you'll enjoy it with even more appreciation the next time you hear it. And as always, if you need help, send a message! We're always around to help you with your ukulele playing. Keep strummin'