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Island Style Ukulele 2 Biography

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2015 Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner

Island Style Ukulele 2

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Tahiti’s Florent Atem is a two-time Grammy nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter who has recorded or performed with world renowned musicians such as Virgil Donati, Michael Angelo Batio and Hawaii’s Henry Kapono.  Credited with the creation of an innovative guitar technique called “slide picking,” Florent is also a master of the ukulele. For Island Style Ukulele 2 Florent performed “Sweet City Woman” on a Te Kaha tenor.

Alfredo Canopin picked up his first ukulele at the age of nine, won the first of many contests at the age of 15 and studied under Hal Summers. For many years he performed in Waikiki with his lovely wife Jovina.  Upon retiring from the Hawaii Air National Guard, Alfredo began mentoring the next generation of ukulele players, such as Hawaii Music Award winner and Na Hoku Hanohano nominee Kalei Gamiao and Japan’s young prodigy Rio Saito. Alfredo performed “Waikiki/On the Beach in Waikiki” on a Martin tenor.    

North Shore virtuoso Kalei Gamiao is a Hawaii Music Award winner and multiple Na Hoku Hanohano award nominee whose contemporary style has its roots in his studies under extraordinary Hawaii musicians such as Alfredo Canopin, Benny Chong, and Kimo Hussey.  Kalei’s passion and dedication to his craft brings the ukulele sound into the twenty first century as he thrills audiences and inspires the next generation of ukulele enthusiasts. Kalei performed “E Ku’u Morning Dew” on a Kamaka tenor.

Hawaii’s troubadour, songwriter and storyteller, Gordon Freitas, has mastered several instruments including guitar, mandolin, Hawaiian lap steel guitar, harmonica, and ukulele. Gordon’s popular Local Folk performances, featuring many of Hawaii’s most accomplished artists, celebrate the blending of cultures, affectionately known as “local style.”  Gordon performed “Paniolo Country,” on a Pono tenor.

Corey Fujimoto has been described as a masterful guitar player who can also rip on the 'uke.  This Na Hoku Hanohano nominee’s passion for the ukulele inspired him to create the tutorials for Hawaii Music Supply on You Tube which kicked off the solid following he has today. Corey performs “One Summer’s Day” on a custom Ko’olau tenor.  

Micah Ganiron credits his grandmother with introducing him to the ukulele. He studied under the Shimabukuro brothers, starting at eight years old with Jake at the Ukulele Academy and then with Bruce at Ukulele Essence. A recipient of the Ukulele Festival Hawaii College scholarship, Micah performs with Heart and Soul in the Aulani Disney Resort and Spa’s Starlit Hui show. Micah performed “Love and Honesty” on a Kanile’a tenor.        

World traveling Kimo Hussey, with a reputation for being one of the best ukulele teachers on the planet, is a mentor to thousands of ukulele musicians around the globe.  Born and raised in Hawaii, this self taught virtuoso is a founding member of the Pacific Music Foundation and an author of the multiple award-winning Hawaiian song book, He Mele Aloha.  Kimo performed “Ka Ua Loku” on a Lichty tenor.  

Inspired by the music of master players Jake Shimabukuro and Troy Fernandez, Jody Kamisato caught ukulele fever in high school.  As one of the founders of Ukulele Hale, Jody and his team are now mentoring the next generation of innovative musicians such as up-and-comers Kody Kiyokawa and Honoka & Azita. He’s also a member of the popular trio, “Heart & Soul.”   Jody performed “Love and Honesty” on a Kanile’a tenor.

A student of Bruce Shimabukuro and Brian Eberly, Tj Mayeshiro won the 1st Annual Aloha Tower Ukulele Contest when he was 13 and won the Duke’s Ukulele Contest the following year.  His passion and diligence enabled him to turn his hobby into a full time career. When Tj isn’t teaching ukulele to elementary and high school students he can be found performing in the popular trio Heart and Soul with Jody Kamisato and Micah Ganiron.  Tj performed “Love and Honesty” on a KoAloha tenor.

Blazing his own musical path, Herb Ohta, Jr, son of the world renowned Ohta-San, has been playing the ukulele since he was three year old. With a reputation for being one of the undisputed masters of his generation, Herb is a Hawaii Music Award and Na Hoku Hanohano award winner known for his beautifully expressive picking and pristine technique.  Herb performed “Sanoe,” written by Queen Lili’uokalani, on a KoAloha tenor.

The Big Island’s Brittni Paiva has received multiple Hawaii Music Awards and Na Hoku Hanohano awards for her masterful musicianship.  Credited with bringing a whole new spirit to the ukulele, Brittni is admired for her creativity, dexterity and strength.  Brittni performed “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” on a Kamaka tenor.   

Bryan Tolentino, a virtuoso whose passion for the ukulele earned him the reputation for “playing magic,” has been passionate about the ukulele since the age of 10.  Having performed at the finest venues, such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall, his journey with the ukulele has been nothing short of phenomenal.  Bryan performed “Maika’i Ka Makani O Kohala” on a Kamaka tenor.

It didn’t take Rio Saito long to become known as “the young ukulele sensation from Japan.” He’d only been playing for two years when at the age of ten he took first place at Duke’s Ukulele Contest in Waikiki.  An extended stay in Hawaii opened the door for Rio to study under ukulele virtuosos Kalei Gamiao, Bruce Shimabukuro, Herb Ohta Jr, and Alfredo Canopin among others who enthusiastically helped this budding prodigy develop his own unique style while mastering advanced skills. A frequent visitor to the islands, Rio has an open invitation to perform at Waikiki’s Hard Rock Café.  Rio performed “Norwegian Wood” on a Kamaka tenor.

Aldrine Guerrero is the ukulele instructor behind the world’s most popular ukulele website, The Ukulele Underground, which generates over a million hits a month.   Reaching a growing fan base of ukulele enthusiasts to the far corners of the planet means lots and lots of national and international performances for charismatic Aldrine, who wholeheartedly shares his passion for the uke. Aldrine performed “Dancing in the Moonlight” on a Kanile’a tenor.

Maui’s ukulele virtuoso Derick Sebastian, is known for blending different genres of music such as Latin, Jazz, Clasical, Pop, Reggae and Rock, to create his distinctive “Sounds of Sebastian.” As Maui’s ambassador of aloha, Derick is as comfortable entertaining on his home island as he is performing for international audiences in South Korea, Thailand and Japan. Derick performed “Ulupalakua” on a Kanile’a tenor.

Dynamic duo Honoka Katayama, 16, and Azita Ganjali, 13, Honoka & Azita, are 2013 International Ukulele Contest winners who have literally taken the ukulele community by storm.  Featured on the covers of magazines and in the Huffington Post, these two high energy Ukulele Hale students performing regularly at Honolulu’s Hard Rock Café, opened for Japan’s popular Okinawan band Begin at the Waikiki Shell, and are getting ready for their second Japanese tour.  For “Payphone” Honoka performed on a Kamaka tenor while Azita performed on a Kanile’a tenor.    


Island Style Ukulele 2” is a compilation of 14 newly recorded island style instrumentals by various ukulele virtuosos and popular up and comers, celebrating the remarkable sound and diversity of the ukulele.

Artist Bio’s