How it all began
Even though Craig Chee was born and raised on Oahu, he matured as an ‘ukulele player and musician on the mainland. Throughout attending and graduating from the University of Oregon, Craig focused on teaching a myriad of different styles with the tiny instrument. Craig has had the honor of working under Jake Shimabukuro and Troy Fernandez, and has become a renown instructor and performer around the world. Craig infuses his energetic and just plain “fun” style into many genres of music and is known for his collaborations at different music events.
Sarah Maisel was born and raised in Alabama and found herself working in San Diego, CA as the Lead Female Draper for the La Jolla Playhouse and the University of California San Diego. On walking into a local ‘ukulele jam, Sarah was both fascinated by the instrument and the joy that surrounded it. Studying under Frank Leong, Sarah dove into the jazz stylings of golden age Hawai’i songs and arrangements inspired by ‘ukulele legends like Lyle Ritz, Benny Chong and Byron Yasui. Sarah found a passion of teaching and performing with the ‘ukulele and was quickly featured at many ‘ukulele festivals around the world.
Craig and Sarah discovered a similar passion and work ethic and as of September, 2015 are now married! They have made an incredible splash in the ‘ukulele scene with their complementing styles and vocal harmonies. Craig and Sarah have been truly blown away by the support of Kanile‘a ‘Ukuleles (at festivals, music events and even with helping put music programs back into schools!) and have been amazed by how their custom instruments completely match the tones and sounds that they try to achieve.
Craig and Sarah have been featured at ‘Ukulele Festivals and events all over the world including Cairns and the Sunshine Coast (Australia), Cheltenham and Huddersfield (United Kingdom), Vancouver (Canada), Tokyo (Japan), Reno (NV), Bend (OR), Morristown (NJ), Ft Lauderdale (FL), Tampa Bay (FL), Seattle (WA), Eugene (OR), Honolulu (HI) and more.They are also supported artists and instructors for Guitars in the Classroom and have been featured on the cover of ‘Ukulele Magazine. Craig and Sarah feel incredibly fortunate to be able to travel with their Kanile‘a ‘ukuleles and share their music and passion with the world!
Then in January of 2020, this dynamic duo became a trio with the birth of their first born, a baby boy named Cameron! At just 5 days old, he was ready to travel with mom and dad on their `ukulele shenanigans. Congratulationsl!!
Follow them here: Craig and Sarah’s Performance Calendar
Craig & Sarah’s Instruments of Choice
Craig and Sarah play Custom Tenors with cobra-slotted headstocks and mixed wood bodies. After working closely with master luthier Joe Souza, the Craig & Sarah Kanileʻa Pro Series model was released in 2023. Check it out by clicking the link here