Kamaka Hawai‘i

Mark Yamanaka

9-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner, Mark Yamanaka, is proud to call Hilo, Hawaiʻi his home. A father of 2, Mark released his debut album, Lei Pua Kenikeni, in 2010. It went on to win 4 of the most coveted awards at the 2011 Hōkūs and in 2013, he followed that success with the release of Lei Maile. Just as successful as its predecessor, Lei Maile also received 4 awards at the 2014 Hōkūs. In 2015, he collaborated with his close friends, Kūpaoa, to release a holiday album, A Gift of the Heart. That album was named Christmas Album of the Year at the 2016 Hōkūs.

After a 5-year hiatus from his solo Hawaiian releases, Mark is thrilled to share his latest collection of songs on this 2018 release, Lei Lehua. He has never released a selection as personal as this one, with 8 of the 14 tracks written or co-written by himself. Lei Lehua is a celebration of Mark's love for his hometown, his love for his family, and his growth as a musician, vocalist, and composer. Like his previous albums, Lei Lehua is an unforgettable garland of songs, sure to adorn your heart and mind.

“When I first began taking interest in playing the ukulele I learned immediately about the Kamaka brand. My father gave me his 1970ʻs Soprano Kamaka Ukulele to learn on, and I guess you could say that was my first Ukulele. My grandpa also had a few Kamakaʻs of his own, and when I was in my early teens, my grandpa used to take me to Oʻahu to visit the Kamaka factory and take the tour and try out a new uke! As I was progressing with playing music, the Kamaka brand was also the choice amongst my peers. Back then I chose Kamaka because it was sort of like a family tradition and now that I am playing music professionally I choose it because of its wholesome sound, and beautiful craftsmanship."

His talents are varied, with vocals ranging from a crisp, clear falsetto, to a rich baritone and his distinctive Hawaiʻi Island-style playing pays tribute to the island upon which he was raised. Here’s what noted Hawaiian music reviewer John Berger had to say about Mark’s work:

“Lovely album [Lei Pua Kenikeni] is award-worthy debut.”

“Lei Maile is another superb showcase of his [Mark’s] talents as a musician and Hawaiian falsetto vocalist.”

There’s much more to come from this young musician and the future certainly looks bright for him, full of beautiful music that we can all enjoy.

“When I first began taking interest in playing the ukulele I learned immediately about the Kamaka brand. My father gave me his 1970ʻs Soprano Kamaka Ukulele to learn on, and I guess you could say that was my first Ukulele. My grandpa also had a few Kamakaʻs of his own, and when I was in my early teens, my grandpa used to take me to Oʻahu to visit the Kamaka factory and take the tour and try out a new uke! As I was progressing with playing music, the Kamaka brand was also the choice amongst my peers. Back then I chose Kamaka because it was sort of like a family tradition and now that I am playing music professionally I choose it because of its wholesome sound, and beautiful craftsmanship.

That KK logo is as iconic as the swoosh on a Nike shoe. Congratulations and Mahalo Nui to the Ohana Kamaka on 100 years of making beautiful, and quality instruments, and I am so humbled and proud to be playing your Ukulele.”