BY MUSTAFA KAMALIDDIN
In this ukulele fingerstyle tutorial we’ll take a look at a beginner-intermediate arrangement of the Hawaiian Wedding Song.
Check out more from our Fingerstyle Songs For Beginners series here
You might know this tune from Andy Williams’ 1958 hit accompanied by Anita Wood, or maybe you’re more familiar with Elvis Presley’s version from his 1961 movie Blue Hawaii. There have been several recordings of this song over the years, including others by Pat Boone, Perry Como and Donny Osmond. But it began its life as a 1926 love song called “Ke Kali Nei Aua“ (Waiting There for Thee) written by Charles E. King and recorded in its original Hawaiian language by Helen Desha Beamer.
To make this beginner fingerstyle version work you’ll have to use rubato (free flow of rhythm and tempo) without sounding like you’re off beat. You’ll need to know where the phrases are and lead your chord resolutions properly. In other words, the main challenge of this piece is not technical, but musical.
That’s not to say there are no technical challenges in the piece. There are few difficult passages that will require some work, including some with fingerings that require you to plan ahead to be prepared for upcoming passages. I’d say anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks is a good estimate to be able to play through this piece, depending on your level.
Mustafa Kamaliddin is a ukulele and guitar teacher specializing in fingerstyle playing. You can see more of his videos in his Ukulele Fingerstyle Basics Course and on his YouTube channel.
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