Friday - July 11, 2008
The Internet has made its presence known throughout the music industry. Websites such as YouTube and MySpace have broadened the scope for musicians and listeners.And sites such as Rhapsody,iTunes and Amazon have made the purchasing of music as easy as a click.
Well, three Kauai boys -Ryan Esaki, Aaron Nakamura and Aldrine Guerrero - have tapped into the power of the Net and a year ago started Ukulele Underground. The Internet-based company was created to grow the next generation of ukulele players around the world - beginning with Hawaii’s keiki.
The site,which now has about 2,500 members,includes a discussion forum, video ukulele lessons, reviews and the latest news about everything ukulele.
“When we started the website we thought maybe a hundred people would check it out, but it really took off,” says co-founder Esaki. “We all have complementary skill sets - Aaron does all the video stuff, Aldrine comes out with all the content-ukulele instructor and I do the web design.”
Catering to the beginner, the website has actually become a jumping-off point for the guys. They have since added a music label to their company,which recently released its first album by Guerrero. The trio also worked with Kala Ukuleles on the design of the ukulele, which is now in development in China.
“What we tried to do is create the perfect starter ukulele and a price point that’s good for them,“says Esaki.“Our whole focus is teaching the next generation of ukulele players, so we really cater to the beginner.”
Keeping current on all things ukulele is an ongoing process for Esaki, Nakamura and Guerrero. In fact, upand-running for just nine months, the guys are in the process of adding new shows, building on their products line and allowing the business to be a full-time endeavor.
“We’re really just going to go all out,“says Esaki.“Aldrine is still on Kauai, and Aaron and myself will be moving back to Kauai soon (from Oahu) to focus more on the company. Our goal is to become an ukulele media company for everything ukulele-related.”
Check them out at www.ukuleleunderground.com.
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