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The ukulele was introduced to Hawaii around 1879 with Portuguese immigrant sugarcane field workers. The story goes that one fellow was so happy to reach Honolulu after a 4 month ocean journey that he grabbed a friend’s braguinha (a small 4 string guitar) and began playing folk songs from his homeland at the wharf. A crowd of Hawaiians were impressed and marveled at how his fingers jumped like fleas over the strings. They would later call the instrument a “ukulele” which translates into “jumping flea.”

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