Steel guitar makes Hawaii think twice on ukulele

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on April 26, 2014 at 5:33 AM

Updated Saturday, Apr 26 at 11:03 AM

HONOLULU (AP) — Sorry, ukulele. Hawaii won't spurn the steel guitar to sound its love for you.

Bills in the state Legislature that would've declared the friendly little guitar the official instrument of Hawaii both died near the end of the legislative session.

The measures easily passed the Senate and House earlier this year, but with differences that meant more debate. That's when steel guitar players stepped in, led by a music teacher who happens to be the son of a former U.S. senator. They argued the instrument born in Hawaii, showcased in Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk," better represents the state.

It was enough to reverse the ukulele's momentum.

Alan Akaka says the steel guitar deserves consideration for the honor in the future. He argues the distinctly Hawaiian instrument has influenced other genres.

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