Swiss Meets Ukulele Mele

Aloha Friday Inside the Bailey House Museum

“I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track, and as I go I love to sing my knapsack on my back.” My goal for a Swiss couple was that by the end of 5 days they could play the song The Happy Wanderer. Odds were they would be familiar with the German folk song, which would make it easier to learn to play, especially since they had never played the ‘ukulele before. Not only did Sibil and Bruno play the 3-chord chord song, but they also sang along. A person who heard them commented that their accomplishment was a testament to my teaching. We all had fun in the process, too.

It all started back on December 30, 2015 when I received a message from Sibil and Bruno, two touring cyclists from Switzerland, requesting ‘ukulele lessons when in Maui for a week from February 27-March 5, 2016.

From Taiwan to Hawaii

They requested an intensive ‘ukulele course and I proposed two back-to-back lessons every day for five days. They accepted my proposal and it worked! What a joy to teach them to play, and also have time to tell them stories of Hawaiian history and compare travel experiences as I have been to many of the same places (Australia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc.). Turned out they were in Taiwan at the time we were corresponding, and will not get home to Zurich until August. They are winding down from a 18-month around the world cycling trip.

(Go to their website to see photos and read about their experiences.)

Their glowing ukes

One day during lessons, I asked if I could video them playing Happy Birthday which I had taught them in English and Hawaiian. Sure, they said, and started first with a verse in Swiss German. What a surprise when they sang Happy Birthday “to Mele” instead of “to Bruno” as we had been practicing. I was so pleased and proud to hear them play the 3-chord song confidently.


10 ‘Ukulele Lessons in 5 Days on Maui

By teaching ‘ukulele lessons to Sibil and Bruno from Switzerland, I met my mission to spread the joy of making music one ‘ukulele player at a time. Ah, the power of music!

Watch a video of them playing The Happy Wanderer.

Watch a video of them playing Happy Birthday in Swiss German, English, and Hawaiian.

Read their testimonial.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele


Mele Fong is a professional singer, song arranger, and master of multiple strumming styles for the 'ukulele. She is an experienced educator with over 50+ years experience playing the 'ukulele and entertaining worldwide. Mele performs with her husband in the duo "The Hawaiian Serenaders" and leads student groups. In 1996, the duo represented the State of Hawai'i in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Mele and her husband Richard Tom were both born and raised on Oahu and now reside in Maui.