Of a number of musical instruments/styles in the United States one can say that are truly Asian American – instruments and/or genres whose structure and playing style are heavily influenced by Americans of Asian descent – probably the most well-known is the ukulele. We have talked about Jake Shimabukuro, who has pushed the limits of the ukulele. Honoka Katayama and Azita Ganjali, 2013 MVP winners of the Ukulele International Challenge, push the bounds of ukulele even farther, doing this bluesy rendition of the classic surf song Wipe Out. Honoka and Azita having been playing ukulele since they were 8 and 4, respectively.
It’s amazing how international the ukulele has become. Contests for the ukulele challenge come from all over the world, and Honoka and Azita have played at the third annual Czech Ukulele Festival, in a place you might think wouldn’t be very interested in ukulele music.