12 Hawaiian Ukulele Songs for Beginners

There’s nothing quite so sweet as a classic Hawaiian ukulele song! Whether you’re headed to the beach or looking for an easy way to brighten up a gloomy day, you’ll enjoy this list of 10 fun, simple Hawaiian ukulele songs for beginners.

1. “Aloha Oe,” by Queen Liliuokalani

4 chords – C, F, G7, C7

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It’s very easy to play “Aloha Oe” on the ukulele, as it offers a very slow tempo. Learn the words and sing along to bring out the melody!

2. “Hi’ilawe,” Sam Liea

4 chords – C, Bb F, G7

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Hi’ilawe is one of those classic Hawaiian hula songs everyone knows – and it’s one of the easiest ukulele songs for beginners, too. This song is about a love affair, so take it slow and easy.

3. “Ku’u home O Kahalu’u,” by Olomana

3 chords – C, F, G7

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This easy Hawaiian ukulele song is about an Oahu boy who leaves home and finds himself dreaming of returning one day. Professional performers add lots of beautiful flourishes, but you can play the easy version with just three simple chords.

4. “Island Style,” by John Cruz

3 chords – C, F, G7

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After you learn how to play “Island Style” on the ukulele using C, F, and G7, you’ll be able to sing along. Listen to how it’s played and after you get the basics down, you might want to add in a little bit of finger picking to give this song some island style of your own!

5. “Someone to Lava,” by Kuana Torres Kahle

3 chords – C, G7, F

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“Someone to Lava” is an easy ukulele song that makes the most of three basic chords. The strumming pattern is simple and once you learn the words, you’ll be singing this one out loud – like the volcano, perhaps for years and years!

6. “Mele Kalikimaka, the Hawaiian Christmas Song” by Bing Crosby

5 chords – G, D7, E, C, A7

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Whatever the time of year, learn to play Mele Kalikimaka on the ukulele, and you’ll be ready for the holidays! This is a fun song that people enjoy singing along to – it’ll make you even more popular than you already are.

7. “Over the Rainbow,” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

6 Chords – C, G, Am, F, E7, Dm7

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With six chords, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Over the Rainbow” isn’t the easiest Hawaiian ukulele song on our list – but it is one that you’ll want to learn! Listen to the tune and you’ll soon realize that this beautiful piece brings elements from two traditional songs together: “What a Wonderful World” and of course, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  With a little practice, this tune is likely to become one of your favorites.

8. “Maori Brown Eyes,” by Palolo

5 chords – D, C, D7, G, A7

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Playing the chords for Maori Brown Eyes is the easy part! Learn how to pronounce the Hawaiian words in the lyrics as you practice and soon, you’ll put it all together. This classic Hawaiian ukulele song is simple, but beautiful.

9. “E Huli Makou,” by David Chung

3 chords – D7, G7, C

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E Huli Makou is a cheerful, bright ukulele song that’s incredibly easy to play. Composer David Chung was working as a bellhop at the Kona Inn when he wrote this famous hula song in 1949. Today, it’s a favorite all over the islands – and it’s one of the easiest Hawaiian ukulele songs to play and sing along to! Check out the lyrics and learn the meaning of E Huli Makou.

10. “E Ku’u Morning Dew,” by Sons of Hawai’i Larry Kimura & Eddie Kamae

3 chords – Am, D7, G,

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Ready to learn some new chords? You’ll want to give E Ku’u Morning Dew a try. Originally written in a minor key, this song has a haunting quality and is absolutely beautiful. Take a little time to practice and soon, you’ll be able to sing and play E Ku’u Morning Dew on the ukulele.

Blue Hawaii by Elvis Presley (1988)

Chords: – G, C, A, D

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This this is a classic and beautiful choice for beginners who’ve gotten comfortable with G and are working on the D chord — or vice versa.

“Island in the Sun,” by Rivers Cuomo of the band Weezer (2001)

5 chords – Em Am D G C

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Bright and breezy, here’s another song sounds sweet on ukulele. Keep practicing that Em!

Common Beginner Chords

You really could choose any chord as your first ukulele chord, and learn them in any order, but many beginning ukulele players start with 1- and 2-finger chords, and with songs that contain just a few chords total, before moving on to more fingers and more chords.

It’s very common for a ukulele player to start out by learning the 1-finger shapes of C, C7, Am, and A7 chords. These are frequently followed by F and/or A chords (2 fingers). G and G7 chords are 3-finger chords considered crucial by most players, as is the D chord. Em is another one I encourage you to learn early on. Eventually you’ll want to add D7 and E7, D7, B-family chords, and the much-maligned (but so worth learning!) E chord.

Getting Started with Easy Hawaiian Ukulele Songs

It’s easy to get started with one of these popular favorites. Just pick a song that makes you think sunny, beachy thoughts, take a look at the chords, and practice those chords one at a time until you’ve mastered it. Next, practice your chord changes and work on your strumming pattern. Keep listening to the songs in the videos and work on singing along, if you like! You’ll be playing easy Hawaiian songs on the ukulele before you know it. Aloha, and happy strumming!


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