Who? Hawaiian Queen 1891 – 1894.
What’s so special? The ukulele really took hold in Hawaii thanks to its extensive use by the Royal Family. Queen Lili’uokalani and her brother King David Kalakaua were massive supporters of the early ukulele makers and players. She is said to have written the ultimate ukulele tune ‘Aloha Oe’ and caused rows by saying that ‘ukulele’ means ‘gift from afar’.
May Singhi Breen
Who? 20s and 30s ukulelist, singer, arranger and radio star. The original Ukulele Lady.
What’s so special? A tireless promoter of the ukulele responsible for the almost universal adoption of ukulele chord diagrams in sheet music and for convincing the Musicians Union that the ukulele is a real instrument. Put together and taught numerous ukulele groups. She brought in the talents of Albert Allen to create the first electric ukulele.
Want to hear more? Take a listen here.
Learn to play like her May Singhi Breen’s New Ukulele Method
Who? Welsh girl with a Lancastrian voice and a Vegas sensability.
What’s so special? Tessie started out in the music halls of Blackpool before making it big in London – even having Noel Coward create a role for her. She rocketed to US startdom thanks to her appearance on the legendary Beatles edition of the Ed Sullivan show. Her signature tune was a rousing banjolele version of Two Ton Tessie from Tennessee
Want to hear more? Tessie at Sea Sounds
Who? Ukulele songstress and GIGAPUS figure-head.
What’s so special? Her catchy, laid-back tunes have made her the female Jason Mraz and inspired a slew of arty girls to pick up the correct instrument.
Want to hear more? Ingrid Michaelson – Be OK
Learn to play like her You and I Chords
Who? Leading light of the UkeTube generation.
What’s so special? Julia Nunes started out making ukulele videos in her dorm room and became a weblebrity after being featured on YouTube. Her success has spawned the ‘cute ukulele girl’ trend and been responsible for thousands picking up the uke and making videos.
Want to hear more? Julia Nunes – I Wrote These
Learn to play like her Build Me Up Buttercup Chords