Robert Yates


Oral History Information

Interview Date
Job Title
Luthier, Owner
Company Name
HUG Ukulele

Robert Yates is known as Uncle Uke for a very good reason - he plays, builds, and sells ukuleles. Robert opened his own store, HUG Ukulele, on the big island of Hawaii with his wife Patricia which began as a handmade jewelry store with a few ukes and has evolved into primarily a ukulele store with a smaller amount of jewelry. Robert knows the long and interesting history of the ukulele, which he argues originated in Hawaii, not Portugal, as many people once believed. He also gives great credit to the performers who helped build the ukulele's reputation over its long history including Bill Tapia, Arthur Godfrey and Iz (Israel Kamakawiwoʻole)! Among his many goals is to continue to bring the ukulele into school music programs, not just in Hawaii, but around the world.