Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association... encouraging the study, teaching and performance of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar
Music by Ken Ufton
Ken Ufton

Ken Ufton
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Sadly, Ken passed away on 10-14-2011.
An incredible musician, he will be missed terribly by his friends at HSGA.

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Scroll through Ken's Song Notes while you enjoy his music...

New!
Hula Medley

Hawaiian numbers are so short in content, making it difficult to arrange something to last some 3 min. or so... so, I decided to do a medley of 4/5 of these, most of the listeners will be able to name these, enjoy, Ken.

 A Flower Lei




 
    
  

  

This one takes me back some 70 years. Composed in 1929 by Noble and Carson. The Bass and Guitar tracks are from Ian, then I added the Uke and Steel tracks.

The more I listen to this I hear how profound an influence Ho'opi'i must have had on me when I was first learning to play. I refer to the style, this is just how it comes across to me, and, it never crossed my mind until I had finished it.

I think I recorded this some 3 years ago, I have no doubt lots of listeners will hear it differently.
Akaka Falls From the LP HAWAIIAN SUNRISE DS 001. Ian Ufton -Backing rhythms, Ken Ufton - Melody.
Anna Ken Ufton, all instruments.
Bittersweet Waltz

This one is one of those things which come out of the blue, coined some 20 years ago, I think, I was either feeling sorry for myself or for someone else, time dims the truth, such a simple melody, hope you all enjoy it, copyright, Carousel Music 1989 KU.

Ken Ufton, all instruments.

Blue Hawaiian Moonlight Blue Hawaiian Moonlight, composed by Dexter and Paris. You will hear this one at most every convention, here's an opportunity to hear a version I did some 2 or 3 years ago. Ken Ufton, all instruments.
Blue Pacific Waters Ken Ufton, all instruments.
Charmain

Commentary by Basil Henriques...

Composed by Lew Pollack and Erno Rapee.
Ernö Rapée (or Erno Rapee) (4 June 1891 in Budapest, Hungary – 26 June 1945 in New York City, New York)   In Budapest, Rapée studied as a pianist and later conductor at the Budapest Conservatory. Later, he was assistant conductor to Ernst von Schuch in Dresden. As a composer, his first piano concerto was played by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Vienna, and after a tour of America as a guest conductor, began performing at the Rialto Theater in New York as assistant to Hugo Riesenfeld, where he began composing and conducting for silent films.
 
The song became an International Hit when adopted by Mantovani as his signature tune where it featured "Cascading strings" To become Mantovani's trademark, BUT it wasn't HIS idea. that stroke of genius belonged to Ronnie Binge,The cascading strings technique developed by Binge became Mantovani's hallmark in such hits arranged by Binge as "Charmaine". Binge developed this technique to replicate the echo experienced in venues such as cathedrals by arrangement alone, in an echo-free surrounding.
 
Author Joesph Lanza describes Mantovani's string arrangements as the most "rich and mellifluous" of the emerging light music style during the early 1950s. He stated that Mantovani was a leader in the use of new studio technologies to "create sound tapestries with innumerable strings", and that "the sustained hum of Mantovani's reverberated violins produced a sonic vaporizer foreshadowing the synthesizer harmonics of space music."

Ken adds:
The only other thing that I would like to add is the fact, that, this is another one of those pleasant things that, can be associated with ones childhood, I am pretty sure this is one of those melodies that, I used to hear every Sunday evening before I got shuffled off to bed.
 
I did, btw, use Mantovani's arrangement as a guide line, for the second chorus, KU.

 
Ken Ufton, all instruments.

Cinco Roblis Ken Ufton, all instruments.

Foolin' Around

That is just what it is, something like 1999, no pre idea of what I was going to do, it just seemed to fall into place after a little practice.
He Hideth My Soul
(and Sol Ho'opi'i version for comparison)
When I recieved the recording of this song by Sol some 50 years ago, I liked it so much that, I had to try to do it, it will give you the opportunity to make a comparison between how a master [Sol] approached it, and how I, a novice, perceived it after hearing it.
 
I did the melody first and then, added the Uke, the Organ, I added just a few years ago when, I figured out how to find the chords on the thing, I think, the only thing that I copied was that part of the melody when he moved from a third to a second interval in several spots, KU.

Ken Ufton, all instruments.
Hula Blues

I must have played this number hundreds of times when I was doing dance work in the 50s, always Sol's version, thought I would give it a 'freshener', not as good as what he did but, who could!?

Ken Ufton, all instruments.

Imiaiaoe Ken Ufton, all instruments.

 Jesu Meke Kanaka
Wai Wai






 
    
  

  

Composed in 1916 by one of Hawai'i's prolific composers, John K. Almeida, this has been taken by quite a few people (some 30, I think) and used as if they were the original author.

This is as it appears to me. It was originally regected by the Mormon Temple, as, too much like a Hula, maybe this was in its original form. These do not come too often, I hope I do it justice.

The story, according to the notes by Huapala, relate to a very rich man asking God how he could enter the Kingdom of Heaven. God tells him to give away all his wealth and follow Him, this idea did not seem to go well with the rich man and led God to tell him that he could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Food for thought.

Kaneohe Ken Ufton, all instruments.
Kaula Ili

This little ditty I recorded some time last year, it has that poignant flavour to it.
KAULA ILI.

As I understand, looking at the lyrics and, not being too efficient with the Hawaiian language, it appears that, the song refers to the possibility of a Paniolo either, falling from a Horse or, with the reference to the Lariat, being hung from the Horse, Wild West style, maybe someone, would be kind enough to elucidate for us, Ken.

Ken Ufton, all instruments.

Ku'u Home 'O Keaukaha
Composed by Albert Haule'a to honour Prince Jonah Kalaniaha Ole for his contribution to modify a Land Act in Hilo.

I had never heard this done instrumentally. I came across it from a recording by the Makaha Sons, I think, and I thought it was such a pretty tune that I decided to give it a try.
La Rosita This is actually a rejected cut from the LP DS003 Latin Mixture, the version which is on the LP now, is a little different. Ken Ufton, all instruments.
Mai Poina Oe Au

I believe this little ditty came into being around the start of the last Century, written by Eliz Kahau Alohikea, Mai Po'ina 'Oe Ia'u, Do Not Forget Me, I think it is also one of the most pleasant sounding ones alongside, Aloha Oe, KU.

Ken Ufton, all instruments.

Mauna Kea One of maybe 5 tries and none completely satisfying to me, I guess this is one of the things we have to contend with, with multi-tracking, we feel we can always do it better, I think it is far easier to work for a Producer, KU

Ken Ufton, all instruments.

Mi Nei
[How about me]

  

  

King. 1948 ?

This is one of the first tunes I remember learning to play from a recording by Ray Kinney with Tommy Castro and Kainapau.

I recorded this on DS001, I think. The original has only two choruses but with a little manipulation with the splicing techniques, I made it into three choruses for this particular effort, it is a pretty simple process.

A little interesting fact with this particular number is when my old buddy Harry Greenwood recorded the tracks for about 36 numbers that would constitute the basic rhythm for about three cassette tapes, he used a unique type of beat which is done in triplets. It turned out very nice.

Molokai

This one came to light some years ago. I was not thinking of anything in particular, just pressing a few pedals. I had no idea just what to call it until the first chord change, which happened to move to the minor of the first chord, it just suggested the title to me. These things sometimes happen this way.

Moana Chimes









 
    
  

  

Normally this tune is played so that one can take advantage of 7th and 12th fret harmonics. Since this machine I have will convert the basic tuning to some 5 different keys making it possible to utilize the 7 and 12 principal, I have started this in the key of B then using the circle of 5ths principal, I go to the key of E from the lead in B7th chord. Then from the lead in chord of E7th, I go to the key of A, then from the A7th lead in chord to the key of D and lastly from the D7th chord to the key of G, two choruses in each of the five possible keys.

This maybe sounds a little complicated but, really is not. I designed this Changer with this sort of thing in mind. Simply because it is a pedal operated guitar, it does not follow that I have to play the thing with my feet. Lots of the greats did the same thing out of the necessity of keeping the instrument up front sort of. They knew that, that original A low bass had to advance somehow, had to get out of the way.
Near the Cross Ken Ufton, all instruments.
O Solo Mio Ken Ufton, all instruments.
Pokarekare Ana

I think, this could be called the  'Aloha Oe' of the Maori's, a song composed by a Maori soldier, Paraire Tomoana, in 1914 to his Sweetheart, Kuini Raerena, I understand, the 'karekare' implies that , he feels agitated in the breast, suppose, we, English speakers, might put it as 'heartache', maybe, we have some NZ Maori who would put me right about that.
 
There is some dissenssion, with regard to the above, some say, it, the music is copied from this or that, I would like to believe that, the whole thing was, the brainchild of Paraire in his agony. KU.

Ken Ufton, all instruments.

Pua Lilia Ken Ufton, all instruments.
Sanoe Ken Ufton, all instruments. This one, Sanoe, comes from the pen of Queen Liliuokalani, seems, she was keeping her eye on some of her Court, the translation from Hawaiian to English does not seem to give a lot of detail but, I find this is quite common with this sort of thing, I suspect a lot of these translations are not really accurate and, to the real point with what I suspect, really happened, not that it matters all that much, the melody is very sweet and simple, not many players seem to get into it, I think I have only heard  one more, that was by Ah See, no doubt there are more.
Silent Night This seasonal tune is the first multi-track I recorded after fitting the new FOUNTAIN PUP to the 800. I tried to leave the sound without too much colouration, there is just a slight amount of Ecko from a Line 6 Ecko Park unit, I do not use an Amplifier at all, going direct into the Recorder, a Tascam 88 Digital, to say that I am tickled to bits with it is, putting it mildly, the sustain is really something, KU .

Sleepy Lagoon

It appears Sir Coates [our Eric] penned this little ditty around 1930, music only, and, after some talk with Jack Lawrence, Eric allowed him to add the lyrics, this is the general gist I have of it, even after it meant changing a little of the melody.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

This 1933 Kerne and Harbach tune features the usual beautiful flowing melody of the time. I sometimes wonder just where they have all gone to. I believe I recorded this around 2005.

Song of the Islands

Composed by Charles. E. King in 1915, this must be one of the most recorded Hawaiian songs ever, maybe, only surpassed by Aloha Oe.
Sunrise Serenade I think this is one of the prettiest combination of notes to come out of the last century, it just seems to flow and, I do not think I do it justice.
 
I think it was written by a guy called Frankie Carle and boosted by Glenn Miller.

Ken Ufton, all instruments.


Sweet Leilani
    
  

  

She arrived via the pen of Harry Owens for the occasion of the birth of his daughter.

Published in 1934, coincidental to the time when I started learning to play, and featured in the film "Waikiki Wedding," this version is from one of my LP's, DS006, the last one I did.
 
I should give credit to my life-long friend Harry Greenwood for the PG tracks on all the LP's, DS004/5/6, which he did, over one weekend before he died of Parkinson's disease around the year 2000.

I miss him, the friendship lasted some 70 years.

To Each His Own

1946. Another pretty melody. I was very surprised when I started researching this title. I was expecting some lavish explanation but no composer or lyricist is given, although the reason for the title is explained. I will leave you to peruse Google on that... I am sure you will find it as interesting as I did. After a little more searching I did find the composer, namely, Ray Evans but little else. I would still advise you to read the story.
Wang Wang Blues This is a Sunday afternoon one off  by Ian, Harry and myself.
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