Mele Fong, aka Ukulele Mele, is a professional singer, song arranger, and master of multiple strumming styles for the 'ukulele. Mele plays 'ukulele, guitar, and piano, dances hula, and teaches Hawaiian history. She performs as a soloist, in the professional husband and wife duo, The Hawaiian Serenaders, and in the Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio. In 1996, the duo represented the State of Hawai'i during State Days at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Mele and her husband Richard Tom reside in Maui.
- Read more about the story behind Ukulele Mele
- See photos and more about Mele's memories growing up in Hawai'i
- Read a newspaper feature story - online version or download PDF version
Biography: Born on Oahu of Hawaiian-Chinese ancestry, Mele graduated from The Kamehameha Schools in 1973, known for its college prep and music program for Native Hawaiian students. After 27 years of living and working on both coasts of the continental United States, Mele and her husband, also from Oahu, returned home to Hawaii in 2000. As the circle is completed, Mele returns to her first goal to use music as a therapeutic tool to help people enjoy life more.
Education: Playing the piano since the age of 7, Mele entered the Conservatory of Music at the University of Pacific because of her piano audition. Mele studied music therapy, and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Recreation, Youth Agency Administration.
Teaching Experience: In January 2009, Mele saw the need for formalized 'ukulele instruction where adults would have fun and learn to be better 'ukulele players at Kaunoa Senior Center in Maui. Mele wanted to challenge retirees to expand their horizons, set higher expectations, and do more than they thought they were capable of doing. Thus, Mele developed a music education and 'ukulele curriculum to fulfill that need for adult lifelong learning. In July 2011, Ukulele Mele On Maui was born and this website launched later in November in response to students' encouragement to reach a global audience.
WHY LEARN WITH MELE?
- Read reviews from students
- Learn what makes the "Ukulele Mele Way" unique"
- Ways to learn with Ukulele Mele
- Press Kit Products
1. Institute of Hawaiian Music - Mele mentors students in the University of Hawaii Maui College program since 2012.
2. Ukulele Explosion - Mele teaches and performs at this annual public event at Kalama Intermediate School since 2012.
3. Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival - Mele teaches at this annual 3-day event at Ka'anapali Beach Hotel since 2012.
4. University of Hawaii Statewide Cultural Extension Program - The Hawaiian Serenaders are listed artists since 2008.
Performing Groups: Past Events
1. Maui Ukulele Pops Band – 12 student members take Mele’s classes at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults ages 55+, and also perform in the community, since 2009.
2. Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio – Mele's master student joins Rich and Mele for fun and performances of Big Band jazz and other difficult to play pop favorites.
3. The Hawaiian Serenaders – professional husband-wife duo of Richard Tom and Mele Fong on 'ukulele and 'u-bass specialize in nostalgic Hawaiian and hapa haole favorites from the Boat Days era of Hawaii Calls (1930’s) and beyond. The Serenaders have performed themed shows since 1994 in Washington, D.C. including the "History of Hawai'i Through Music" where Mele danced hula as Rich played 'ukulele and sang.
KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH WHAT'S HAPPENING:
- SIGN UP NOW to receive our monthly e-newsletter "UKE News You Can Use" that arrives on the 1st of the month.
- Like Ukulele Mele on Facebook as well as on Maui!
- Bookmark Mele's blog on Ukulele Mele Mondays to gain insights on Maui's music scene, Hawaiian history, and more. Special New Year's posts were published on December 31, 2013, with continuous postings since January 6, 2014.
- Bookmark Ukulele Mele's Event Calendar to check out upcoming events for when you're in town. For example, you can participate in 'Ukulele Strumming Workshops, Oral History & Sing-Along Programs, and attend public performances by The Hawaiian Serenaders, Maui Ukulele Pops Band, and Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio.