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Thursday, January 2, 2014

This Week's Entertainment at the Hyundai

Since the Hyundai Tournament of Champions doesn't begin until Friday, there's not a whole lot to talk about yet besides who is in the field. But you can get that info here, and you already know that Tiger and Phil won't be there. So there's not much sense in that, is there?

Ryan Kamakakehau FernandezInstead I thought I'd give you some info about the Aloha Kick-Off Ceremony that happens Friday before the event. I found it very interesting.

I suppose you've noticed that GC typically features a ukulele player on some of their intro pieces during the tournament. Let me introduce you to the man you're most likely to see.

If you're interested in a little ukulele history, keep reading. Otherwise, just skip the next paragraph.
Although most people around the world refer to the instrument as a "yoo-kuh-lay-lee" the typical Hawaiian pronunciation is "oo-koo-lay-lee." The instrument developed during the 19th century as a Hawaiian version of a small guitar-like instrument from Portugal. There are actually several sizes of ukulele -- including bass ukuleles -- but the most common performance instrument is the tenor uke, and it's gaining popularity with serious musicians. If you'd like to hear a real pro playing it, one player you can check out on YouTube is Canadian player James Hill. He has a killer solo uke version of Michael Jackson's Billy Jean where he carries the drum, bass, and guitar parts all at the same time. He's quite funny as well.
Anyway, this year the player brought in by the event is a man named Kamakakehau Fernandez. I think he's interesting because he was originally born in Little Rock, Arkansas but he was adopted at 6 weeks of age (his original given name is Ryan) and taken to Maui, where he grew up. He sings in a style called leo kiʻekiʻe, which is a falseto technique. Here's a YouTube video I found of him:

There's a pretty good chance you'll be hearing him at some point during GC's coverage since he's the event's featured musician. And if you're interested in learning more about him, here's the link to his website. The photo came from his website as well.

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