Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to roam around and learn a bit more about Portuguese History. To find your interests, please, have a look at the right side of the page, where you can find all the posts arrenged into labels, such as "Society", "Politics", etc. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 3, 2013


On a previous post on traditional Portuguese dances, I have referred to a typical Portuguese musical instrument called “cavaquinho”. You may know it better as the Hawaiian ukulele. It thought it would be interesting to introduce to you some of the historical facts related to this. Not a lot, just the basics.
Here's a very quick research that might interest you and even broaden your minds. It says so, on Wikipedia:

«The origins of this Portuguese instrument are not easily found. Gonçalo Sampaio, who explains the survival of Minho region’s archaic and Hellenistic modes by possible Greek influences on the ancient Gallaeci of the region, stresses the link between this instrument and historical Hellenistic tetrachords. The author holds that the cavaquinho and the guitar may have been brought to Braga by the Biscayans.
During the 15th Century the four-course cavaquinho was brought to Africa by Portuguese sailors», like Cape Verde and Mozambique, but also to the Portuguese archipelagos (Madeira) and other former Portuguese colonies, like Brazil.
It continues: «The Hawaiian Islands have an instrument very similar to the cavaquinho, called the ukulele, which is based on the machête or braguinha (variation on the cavaquinho), brought to the islands by Portuguese immigrants.(...) The machête was introduced into Hawaii by Augusto Dias, Manuel Nunes, and João Fernandes in 1879.»

Now, didn't that blow of your minds???
And here are some youtube videos for you to see the difference between them:

The Portuguese (minhoto) cavaquinho

The cavaquinho played in Brazil for a pagode song.

A ukulele playing a traditional Hawaiian song.


Anonymous said...

I never knew that! Might be handy to include in a story.

Sara Seydak said...

Thanx! Although, not really a research, more like copy&paste of wikipedia. :) But when the info is good, there's nothing to criticize (only when it's really bad, like I have done in the past).
Nice blog you have. It's the side of the Napoleonic Wars I don't talk about on my blog.

Le Loup said...

Interesting, thank you Sara. Always good to find period instruments.
Regards, Keith.

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