“When I first began taking interest in playing the ukulele I learned immediately about the Kamaka brand. My father gave me his 1970ʻs Soprano Kamaka Ukulele to learn on, and I guess you could say that was my first Ukulele. My grandpa also had a few Kamakaʻs of his own, and when I was in my early teens, my grandpa used to take me to Oʻahu to visit the Kamaka factory and take the tour and try out a new uke! As I was progressing with playing music, the Kamaka brand was also the choice amongst my peers. Back then I chose Kamaka because it was sort of like a family tradition and now that I am playing music professionally I choose it because of its wholesome sound, and beautiful craftsmanship.
That KK logo is as iconic as the swoosh on a Nike shoe. Congratulations and Mahalo Nui to the Ohana Kamaka on 100 years of making beautiful, and quality instruments, and I am so humbled and proud to be playing your Ukulele.”
Meet Mark Yamanaka, a Hilo-raised, falsetto-singing, multi award-winning musician. With just two albums under his belt, this humble father of two has already garnered some of the top awards in the Hawaiʻi recording industry including:
Most Promising Artist of the Year (2011)
Male Vocalist of the Year (2011 and 2014)
Song of the Year (2011 for Kaleoonālani)
Album of the Year (2011 and 2014)
Hawaiian Album of the Year (2014)
Single of the Year (2014 for Maui Under Moonlight)
His talents are varied, with vocals ranging from a crisp, clear falsetto, to a rich baritone and his distinctive Hawaiʻi Island-style playing pays tribute to the island upon which he was raised. Here’s what noted Hawaiian music reviewer John Berger had to say about Mark’s work:
“Lovely album [Lei Pua Kenikeni] is award-worthy debut.”
“Lei Maile is another superb showcase of his [Mark’s] talents as a musician and Hawaiian falsetto vocalist.”
There’s much more to come from this young musician and the future certainly looks bright for him, full of beautiful music that we can all enjoy.