Video and audio: Music from Makani and the spirit of the Na Kupuna Ukulele Club

(Photo: Jon Sall)

Dave Hoekstra welcomes the Lee family: Alyssa, Brittany, Courtney, Gracie and father Kaleo, of the local Hawaiian music group Makani, for some live tunes and a conversation on the legacy of the Na Kupuna Ukulele Club, a group of elder ukulele players that became a well-oiled machine playing gigs around the city.

The girls talk about how their father and grandfather’s influence got them into playing music at young ages and tapping into the “blood harmony” of playing in a family band.

Original Na Kupuna member Tonko Doi also joins the conversation and gives a brief history of the club and recently departed co-founder Helen Kuwashima, who learned the ukulele from Kaleo and his father and made the club a staple of the Japanese-American community in Chicago.

Video by Jon Sall.