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    Hawaiian Music

    Hawai'i is a melting pot of cultures, peoples and customs - and this has greatly affected the music of the islands. Very few other island nations have such a diverse musical history and almost no other island sound have impacted world-wide music as much as Hawaiian music.

    Before contact with western civilization, Hawaiians celebrated nature, their gods and their love of life through the expression of Chants and Hula. Chants came in two basic styles... mele oli were chants without music while mele hula were chants with dance and sometimes musical instruments.

    Because of Hawai'i's lack metals and minerals other than lava - musical instruments were created from trees, plants and shells. The basic instruments included the ipu - a drum made out of a gourd, the ipu heke - a double gourd drum, the kala'au - sticks that were struck together, the 'ili 'ili - two flat smooth stones that were clicked together, the ohe hano ihu - a nose flute made from wood, the Conch Shell - a large ocean shell that was blown into to produce deep resonant tones, the pu ohe - a trumpet made of bamboo, and the puili - slit sticks made from bamboo. These were the instruments of ancient Hawaiian time, and are still used today in modern Hawaiian music as well as hula.

    The most famous - at least to non-Hawaiians - musical instrument of the islands is the ukulele. Interestingly enough, the ukulele did not originate in Hawai'i. The origins of the ukulele come from a ship that arrived in Honolulu on August 23, 1879. The ship was carrying Portuguese immigrants from the Island of Maderia. When they arrived one of the immigrants using a braguinha started playing his native songs. Hawaiians were very impressed with the music and especially how the musicians' fingers danced on the strings. The Hawaiians called the braguinha a ukulele that is a combination of the word uku which means flea, and lele which means to jump. Thus ukulele literally means jumping flea and describes the fingers of a ukulele player.

    Modern Hawaiian music is a combination of ancient music and modern influences. Because Hawai'i is so diverse, this diversity has made its way into the music. It is not uncommon to hear a new Hawaiian song with components of country music (we do have cowboys after all), Rasta and other flavors woven into the songs. The lyrics usually have to do with places of Hawai'i, or love, or what it is like to fish - and the music is simply beautiful and haunting.

    If you are interested in Hawaiian music, we have placed below a variety of selections that show the various influences and diversity of the music.

    Music from Hawai'i's Favorite Son, Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole

    IZ's Facing Future is the best-selling Hawaiian album of all time. His voice has been described as tender and sweet and liable to bring listeners to tears. He is so loved that when he died in 1997, over 10,000 people paid their respects while he lay-in-state in the Hawaiian Capitol.

    Facing Future - IZ
    Facing Future
    Aone in IZ World
    Alone in IZ World
    In Dis Life - IZ
    In Dis Life
    E Ala E - IZ
    E Ala E
    More Music from IZ
    Music from Keali'i Reichel

    Heartfelt and soulful, Keali'i's songs are consistently in the top 10 of the Hawaiian music charts.

    Music from The Mākaha Sons

    Known for their unique harmonies, The Mākaha Sons have been singing for 28 years.

    Keali'i Reichel - Ke'Alaokamaile
    Ke'Alaokamaile
    Keali'i Reichel - Melelana
    Melelana
    The Makaha Sons - Ke Alaula
    Ke Alaula
    The Makaha Sons - Ho'oluana
    Ho'oluana
    More Music From Keali'i Reichel More Music From The Mākaha Sons
    Music from Keola Beamer

    Often called the world's best slack-key guitarist, his most popular song is Honlulu City Lights

    Music from Ho'Onua

    This upbeat, contemporary duo will definitely get your toes tapping!

    Keola Beamer - Wooden Boat
    Wooden Boat
    Keola Beamer - Kolonahe
    Kolonahe
     Ho'Onua - Feel Good Island Music
    Feel Good Island Music
    Ho'Onua - Have a Good Time
    Have a Good Time
    More Music from Keola Beamer 
    Music from Don Ho
    Buy Hawaiian Music - Don Ho
    Tiny Bubbles
    Don Ho Christmas Album
    Don Ho Christmas Album
    The Don Ho Show/Don Ho Again
    The Don Ho Show/Don Ho Again
    Night with Don Ho
    Night with Don Ho
    More Music from Don Ho
    More Hawaiian Island Music
    Sounds of Hawai'i - Hawaiian Music
    Sounds of Hawai'i
    Hawaii Calls Present
    Hawai'i Calls Presents
    Buy Hawaiian Music
    Hawai'i I Ka Pu'Uwai
    Buy Hawaiian Music
    He Hawai'i Au
    Music of Hawai'i
    Tickling The Strings:
    Music Of Hawai'i,
    1929-1952
    Buy Hawaiian Music
    Romantic Hawai'i
    Ke'Alaokamaile
    Ke'Alaokamaile
    Buy Hawaiian Music
    Hawaiian Slack
    Key Guitar
    Masters
    More Hawaiian Music

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    Nene photo in top graphics by Brenda Zaun