Portugal is the motherland of Ukuleles which is a Hawaiian name of a stringed instrument called machete that looks like the guitar but much smaller in size. The machete is a member of the guitar family with its roots within the European and Middle Eastern stringed instrument the lute, played by plucking. Portuguese immigrants who went to Hawaii in the 1800s to work in the sugarcane fields took the instrument to that land with them hence the Hawaiian name Ukulele. The instrument considered a cousin of the guitar and the lute owes its popularity in the Hawaiian Islands to the three Portuguese named Jose Do Espirito Santo, Manuel Nines and Augusto Dias who arrived on the archipelago on board the Ravenscrag from the Islands of Madeira in Portugal in 1879.

Ukulele reaches the American shores

After America annexed the Hawaiian Islands, the government in its bid to popularize the new destination to the people of the mainland America organized a gala musical exhibition named Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915 that featured Ukuleles of Jonnah Kumalae and plenty of Ukulele music. The instrument sparked the imagination of people who dreamt of visiting a mythical island and signaled the booming popularity of Ukuleles in the US.

The transformation begins

The instrument that so far held its place of pride as a Hawaiian novelty gradually started losing its indigenous status and became a part of the American music scene by the 1930s as piano scores started featuring ukulele chord diagrams. The Ukulele transformed into Ukulele Ike that became associated with jazzy songs and trilbies and smoky bars. However, the popularity of the Ukulele took a nosedive after the great Wall Street collapse in 1928. Meanwhile, the Ukulele made inroads into the UK and attained high popularity courtesy George Formby who strummed the banjolele to create the sound of World War II.

Popular once again

The Second World War marked the comeback of Ukuleles in the US as the instrument began to regain its popularity. Ukuleles brought back from the Hawaiian Islands by the US troops after its accession to official US statehood contributed to its popularity. Mass produced plastic goods flooded the US shops during the booming consumer economy of the 1950s, and during this time Ukuleles became a prime instrument for mass selling to kids with plastic Ukuleles manufactured by Maccaferri, the jazz guitar manufacturer flooding the market. The popularity for Ukuleles reached new heights when celebrity TV star Arthur Godfrey used the Ukulele that marked the beginning of a new boom time for the instrument that under the shadows for long many years.

Ukuleles belong to the class of folk instruments like mandolins, banjos, and harps and a lot of the millennial musicians are using it as a growing acoustic alternative to the guitar. The popularity of the instrument is evident from the demand for Ukuleles for Rent, as many young musicians are experimenting with unusual instrumentation and eclectic sounds. The internet has contributed handsomely to spread the popularity of Ukuleles that is fast catching up with the new generation of musicians.