By Stephanie Powell
It started with a simple idea: Plant a koa tree for every ukulele that Kanile’a built. But thriving forests don’t exist with only one species of tree, and so the dream turned into a challenge: create a biodiverse, healthy forest with varying native species in a full-on reforestation effort.
Kanile’a founders, Kristen and Joe Souza, went on to create Saving Hawaii’s Forests, a nonprofit organization that spearheads the reforestation efforts. The nonprofit and Kanile’a teamed up for a new program: auctioning off a one-of-a-kind ukulele that will travel the world with and be played by Uncle Willie K.
This Kanile’a ukulele (pictured above) is built with highly figured koa front, back, and sides. It includes an ebony armrest, cutaway, fretboard, and bridge. All of the inlays are made out of stabilized poplar. It includes detailed art of the ‘I’iwi, a native Hawaiian bird plumed in vibrant scarlet feathers, and koa leaves that travel up the headstock, as well as Koa buttons for the tuning keys.
Uncle Willy K will take this uke on tour for the next coming months, and eventually return it back to Saving Hawaii’s Forests, which will then auction it off. That’s where you come in! The auction is scheduled to go live on December 1. For more information, visit: kanileaukulele.com.