Hawaiian music

It’s in the culture in Hawaii, hawaiian music, hula, and chants. Some of it has been Hollywood-ized, thankfully much has not. During our stay in Maui, my inlaws, haole like me, played much from their extensive collection of Hawaiian music, and they listen to it often.

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is perhaps the best known Hawaiian performer. His haunting cover of "Somewhere Beyond the Rainbow" has circled the planet, and when he died in 1997, Hawaii mourned. You hear his music everywhere in Hawaii, in malls, stores, and restaurants, where he is known simply as "IZ."  He is one of the demi-gods of Hawaiian music. There are others. 

The Beamers are the first family of Hawaiian music, and have been around for three generations, running hula, music, and ukelele schools, as well as performing. Their music only began to be recorded when Kapono and Keola Beamer, brothers in the current generation, began playing.

Keali’i Reichel is credited with popularizing traditional Hawaiian beyond cult status,  both for Hawaiians, then to the mainland. Of Hawaiian-German ancestry, he learned of chanting and hula from his grandmother, and soon it became his life.

Uluwehi Guerrero sings beautiful falsetto.

Multiple island cultures meet in Hapa, Hawaii and the British Isles. This seemingly incongrous blend of musics works beautifully. Keli’i Kaneali and Barry Flanagan front the group, and their powerful version of U2’s "In the Name of Love" is a show-stopper, ending with a Hawaiian chant on top of the song, then spoken word from Dr. Martin Luther King.

O-shen is from Papua New Guinea, and "his music (which he calls Urban Island Music) is a fusion of hip-hop, rap and reggae, and his lyrics and vocal styling are a direct reflection of his Pacific Island upbringing."

Iz, the Beamers, Uluwehi Guerrero, Hapa, and O-shen can be found on the amazing Mountain Apple Company, one of the premier Hawaiian labels.

Check out Pure Aloha Volume One for a compilation of Hawaiian reggae, hip hop, pop, and r&b.

Update: This was meant as the tiniest of introductions to Hawaiian music, as was pointed out in the comments, slack key guitar, which I neglected to include, is amazing music too.