With countless ʻukulele podcasts out there, amazing uke-related discussions are at your fingertips. Here are some of our personal favorite uke-related podcasts to explore.
In 1948, a young 22-year-old ʻukulele aficionado, Eddie Kamae, set foot onto the campus of the University of Hawaii for the very first time - in search of a conversation. In the past he had many conversations about his favorite topic, the ʻukulele, with musicians all over Honolulu. He had talked for hours with his friend and fellow bandmate, Shoi Ikemi, exploring the musical limits of what the ʻukulele could do. But in order to push those boundaries, Eddie knew he needed to find a specific conversation. He knocked on the office door of Professor Barbara Smith, and the conversations he had with her would eventually transform ʻukulele world forever ...
Luckily today, we don't need to go very far to hear wonderful conversations regarding the ʻukulele. With numerous video tutorials and ʻukulele podcasts, anyone with a smartphone can instantly listen in on meaningful uke-related discussions any time of day, from practically anywhere in the world. Each week on the Ukulele Underground Podcast, Aldrine, Aaron, and Kahai answer the questions YOU submit and provide answers, advice, and suggestions to help you grow as a player. And with countless other ʻukulele podcasts out there, it's easy to go even further down the rabbit hole. Here are a few of our favorites, in no particular order:
1. The Live ʻUkulele Podcast
Brad Bordessa was one of the first members of the original Ukulele Underground Forum and his website, Live ʻUkulele, has been around as long as Ukulele Underground itself! He's a fundamentals-first ʻukulele player in the lineage of Uncle George Kahumoku, so when we heard that he was going to start a podcast in 2020, we were super excited to hear it. The Live ʻUkulele Podcast delivers with a mix of information, advice, and interview. Check it out to hear more great conversations about the uke. https://liveukulele.com/podcast/
2. The OokTown Podcast
Stuart Yoshida began broadcasting uke-centric conversations from sunny Colorado back in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. Along with his co-host, the effervescent Doug Brown, OokTown discusses all manner of ʻukulele talk and often brings on special guests from all regions of the ʻukulele world, including professional players, festival organizers, and charity directors. Great conversations and fun listening all around. https://ooktown.com/podcasts
3. The Ukulele Review Podcast
For years Andrew Kitakis has been providing one of the best online ʻukulele buying experiences through his website, The Ukulele Site. With a massive selection of ukes to choose from and top-notch service, there are few better in the business. Along with regular guest musicians, Corey Fujimoto and Kalei Gamiao among others, the Ukulele Review Podcast demos and reviews literally the most gorgeous looking and sounding ukuleles available. Feel free to listen to the audio, but to be sure, this pod is best consumed in video format for the visuals. Check out all of the demos and uke-related discussion here: https://theukulelesite.com/podcast
4. The AM Ukulele Podcast
Professional ʻukulele player, Andrew Molina, might be young and new to the ʻukulele podcasting scene, but his career has already spanned almost a decade. His intricate, precise playing, along with likable personality and many friends in the professional ʻukulele world, The AM Ukulele Podcast brings lots of fun stories and discussions to light. Check out Andrew's podcast on iHeartRadio, Facebook, Audible, or watch on Andrew's YouTube page.
5. Uketropolis Podcast (with James Hill)
It's no secret that Canada's very own, James Hill, is one of our favorite ukulele players of all time. His podcast is formatted Q&A style (similar to the Ukulele Underground Podcast, but with less video game references) where James does a deep dive to answer student-submitted questions. His down-to-earth humor really shines through, so definitely check it out and send James an email to encourage him to continue making more episodes! https://www.uketropolis.com/podcast
Need even more uke-filled podcast content?
Here are a couple runners-up: Abe's Ukulele Podcast (especially the episode featuring UU, or the episode of the Ukulele Underground Podcast featuring Abe) and Ukulele Is The New Black. Both of these are primarily interview-based podcasts focusing on professional uke players, with lots of fun stories and anecdotes to listen in on.
With Professor Smith's guidance, young Eddie Kamae was introduced to music theory, chord structure, and the process of deciphering and translating classical pieces never before attempted on the ‘ukulele. As a result of their conversations, Eddie produced the very first ‘ukulele arrangements of "Malagueña" by Lecuona, portions of Ravel's "Bolero", and Rachmaninoff's "Second Piano Concerto." These arrangements marked the beginning of a revolution in the 1950s, blending Hawaiian, classical, latin, blues, country, and jazz to form a brand new voice for the humble four-stringed instrument. Eddie would go on to do a world tour, record nearly a dozen albums, form the Sons of Hawaii with Gabby Pahinui, and influence players of every generation including the now legendary Ohta San.
May these podcast conversations inspire you to experiment more with your instrument and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible on the ‘ukulele. The real epilogue to the story is what you create next.