Learn to play "Ei Nei" (Hawaiian) on Ukulele
This month on Uke Lessons, we've got a special treat! It's the Hawaiian song, "Ei Nei" featuring our friends Lenny and Larnelle Brezee of Makani Entertainment. You may recognize Larnelle as the hula dancer in the Play-Along video for Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai and she does and amazing job here as well. During the video Aldrine plays some fancy chords and does an interesting artificial harmonics technique. But even if you're a beginner, you can play along using simple chords and a steady down strum. Try playing along with the Play-Along above and if you need any help learning this song, feel free to start with any of the steps below:
STEP 1 - Chords
Begin by learning these 8 chords:
Add these additional chords to round out the set:
Aldrine uses Gmaj7 instead of G during the song, but you can use either depending on what's easier for you. Try them out, memorize the names of each chord and how to play them. Then practice switching in between each of the chords and get them down smooth. D#7 is always paired with D7, and C#maj7 is always paired with Cmaj7 during the song, so feel free to practice those together.
Once you've got it down, go back up to the top of the page and play along with the "Ei Nei" Ukulele Play-Along to practice. If you would like to dig a little deeper into the song structure / chord patterns for this song, head over to Step 2:
STEP 2 - Chord Progression
Next, check out the chord patterns for the Verses and Chorus to practice along with Aldrine. Be sure to check out the chord sheet for "Ei Nei" as well for more guidance.
If you're repeating the Verse, replace that last G or Gmaj7 chord with another walkdown from the Bm7 to the Am.
At the end of the Chorus during those last two D7 chords, you can choose to play the artificial harmonics riff that Aldrine adds (see Step 4 below) to transition back to the Verse.
When you're comfortable with the chord changes, practice them by playing along with the "Ei Nei" Ukulele Play-Along at the top of the page. Great, you just played along with the song! When you're ready to add some simple rhythm to your chords, check out Step 3 below:
STEP 3 - Strumming / Rhythm
After that, add a simple rhythm to your song. Aldrine uses a simple down strum with the pad of his thumb on every beat. This keeps the strum soft, quiet, and steadily emphasized. You can add some up strums and syncopation to create a fancier strum, if you feel the song calls for it. Try out the suggestions in the video above and see what works for you.
When you've figured out a rhythm that works, try it out using the "Ei Nei" Ukulele Play-Along at the top of the page to play along with the entire song. Great job! If you'd like to add some final embellishments, check out Step 4:
STEP 4 - Artificial Harmonics & Ending
That's pretty much it - you have everything you need in order to play "Ei Nei" on ukulele! If you like this, be sure to check out the rest of our Hawaiian Ukulele Tutorials here on UU, including Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai, where Larnelle dances hula for the Play-Along video as well. Have fun and as always, if you have any questions or need anything at all, just send a message! Have a great one, keep strummin'