Mike Bonnice playing ukulele

Mike plays Hawaiian music with Kaimikahu Hale O Hula. He came to this interest over the course of many years. Hawaiian music represents the intersection of Mike’s enjoyment of music and of exploration.

Mike began learning guitar in the days when it was typical that kids could read music by sixth grade. He even took his first lessons at the same time as Frank Zappa’s album “Hot Rats” was being recorded. After an unsuccessful foray into basement rock, Mike put down the guitar for many years.

He didn’t pick up a guitar again until after a trip to Hawaiʻi. There, he found the style of slack key guitar. Exploring slack key guitar led to revealing Hawaiian music as a source. Within Hawaiian music, ʻukulele is a harmonious rhythm instrument. Conveniently, the ʻukulele is also easy to play and easy to carry, so ʻukulele is now one of Mike’s routes for connecting to Hawaiian culture.

Mike learned ʻukulele from Kumalae Matthews, Mike Nakabayashi, Chad Pang, Walter Kawaiaea, Kimo Hussey and others. From those sources he taught in the Phoenix area; the teaching experience led to maintaining this web site of reference material.

He learned steel guitar from Palani Baxter, as well as with guidance from Kumu Mele Alan Akaka. Most of the steel guitar music on this site came from Mike transcribing the steel guitar parts from his favorite recordings.

Mike once managed the portion of Arizona Aloha Festival associated with experiencing Polynesian music through participation. He currently leads and arranges music for the Desert Strummers, the musical component of halau hula Kaimikahu Hale O Hula.