A long, soft, slow, rhythmic melody. The familiar yet elusive notes of “Happy Together” from an instrument you didn’t know had the ability to sound so majestic—until it fell into the hands of a master. Kimo Hussey seamlessly blends melody, rhythm, and dynamic nuances with his ukulele solos creating a distinctively beautiful sound. One of the most respected jazz ukulele players in the world, his solo style pays close attention to a song’s melody and he plays that melody strictly—eliciting both nostalgic and positive memories from his audience. Music for Kimo is not just about notes, but about emotion.
Growing up in Hawaii, ukuleles were all around Kimo. Yet, it wasn’t until his Uncle Richard took him under his wing at age 5 that Kimo learned to play and love the ukulele—a love that has only grown over time. As Kimo says “Emotion is the key in nurturing ukulele because people around the world enjoy the instrument because it is fun, first and foremost, and therefore provides a moving emotional reward.” His music is deliberately slow, a style that he is often sought out for as a teacher and instructor. For Kimo, however, he “grew up with this ukulele sound all around me. It was somewhat characteristic to all those local ukulele players to whom I ascribed a ton of respect.”
A musician with a small instrument but a big heart, Kimo is a former director of the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii, previous Board Chair for Sounding Joy Music Inc., a non-profit organization specializing in clinical music therapy, and the Board Chairman and Founder of the Pacific Music Foundation, a non-profit organization specializing in Hawaiian music that soothes the listener.
Kimo is also a much-sought after performer and teacher, traveling extensively to ukulele festivals and conducting workshops around the world. With a heart for community service events and a belief in the soothing power of the ukulele, he has performed in many hospitals, senior centers, and hospice facilities. In all of these, the ukulele showed its magnificence in supporting those very real tenets of music therapy, a concept very important to Kimo. “The ukulele is NOT an end. It is a catalyst through which we facilitate music that soothes.”
Kimo has recently recorded his second solo ukulele project, a follow-up to his well-received first recording, “Eminent Ukulele.” “Low G,” is an instrumental collection of favorites hailing the harmonies created by the sound of the “low G” string. He is also an author of the multiple award winning Hawaiian songbook, He Mele Aloha which has sold millions of copies around the world and has been translated into other languages.
With a new CD to share with his fans Kimo continues to conduct ukulele workshops and seminars around the world. His goal is “to share as much of my knowledge of ukulele as possible. Years of musical experiences teaching and playing throughout the world have consistently shown me what I most enjoy about music and ukulele is being a part of music’s creative process. I have learned that I continue to learn about ukulele and so I never run out of things to share. The process massages the soul. It’s a real joy and one big reason why I love doing workshops about anything that has to do with ukulele, sharing with others what has been shared with me.”