The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #84223   Message #1554457
Posted By: Mark Cohen
02-Sep-05 - 12:40 AM
Thread Name: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
But please, spell it right! Two U's, followed by two E's. Uku in Hawaiian means flea or other small insect (when I had my pediatric practice on the Big Island I treated lots of kids for ukus, a/k/a head lice), and lele means leaping or jumping. Hence, the name of the instrument means "jumping flea." There are two competing explanations for that: (1) it refers to the player's fingers, (2) it was the nickname of the diminutive British naval officer who played his small vihuela at the royal Hawaiian court and led to its popularity throughout the islands.

Aloha,
Mark