From the Spring 2017 issue of Ukulele | BY ADAM PERLMUTTER

Ernest Ka’ai was a pioneering Hawaiian musician, composer, and teacher. He was born in Honolulu in 1881 and died in 1962. A brilliant, self-taught multi-instrumentalist, he played mandolin, guitar, steel guitar, and violin equally well, and was the first Hawaiian to copyright his music. But he’s most celebrated as a prodigiously gifted ukulele player—to whom all modern players, whether or not they know it, owe a large debt.

This rendition by Sam Muir is from Ka’ai’s book, The Ukulele & How it is Played

This song, “Haele,” first appeared in his book, The Ukulele & How it is Played, published in 1916. The arrangement here was made by Adam Perlmutter for Ukulele magazine.


Our arrangement of “Haele” by Ernest Ka’ai, is presented as a companion to the Gods of Uke feature on this pioneering Hawaiian musician, composer, and teacher.

Haele by Ernest Ka’ai, arranged by Adam Perlmutter

Haele by Ernest Ka'ai, Adam Perlmutter arrangement, ukulele music notation
Famous Solos and Duets for the Ukulele book cover by John King

Essential Ernest

Several of Ernest Ka’ai’s compositions were arranged by John King and appear in his Mel Bay book Famous Solos & Duets for the Ukulele.

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