Archive for the ‘Hawaiian Music’ Category

PostHeaderIcon SONGS: Gabby Pahinuiʻs recordings of “Hiʻilawe”

In the last post I pointed to early printings of the mele “Hiʻilawe”–in a 1902 songbook (where the mele appears with two different tunes) and in the newspaper Ke Aloha Aina in 1906.

The song is now forever associated with singer/kī hō‘alu/steel guitarist Gabby Pahinui. He recorded it in the 1940s, then again in the 1970s. And most recently it has come back around again in the soundtrack to the motion picture The Descendants (2011).

There are at least five different recordings of “Hiʻilawe” by Gabby Pahinui. In chronological order, they are:

1. 1947: A 78rpm recording on Aloha Records (Aloha 810). This is the recording excerpted on the opening track of the 1972 LP Gabby (the “brown” album); the first two verses of “Hi‘ilawe” segue into “Lū‘au Hula.” The 1947 track is reissued in its entirety on four compilations:

The History of Slack Key Guitar (HanaOla HOCD-2400, p1995)

Aloha Hula Hawaiian Style (HanaOla HOCD-26000, p1995)

Legends of Falsetto (HanaOla HOCD-35000, p2000)

Territorial Airwaves (HanaOla HOCD-56000, p2004)

2. 1949: A 78rpm recording on Bell Records (LKS-505). This recording has reappeared on the folioing compilations:

Hawaiian Masters Collection Vol. 2 (Tantalus TR-1003, p1993)

Show Biz Hula (HanaOla HOCD-22000, p1995)

Lei of Stars (HanaOla HOCD-31000, p1998)

Yuki ‘Alani Yamauchi presents The History of Hawaiian Music (Office Sambinha RICE OSR-405, p2001)

Twilight in Hawaii (Sounds of the World SOW 90203, p2002)

3. 1961: from a series of recording sessions at Central Union Church. Those tracks and an insightful interview was released on the LP Pure Gabby (Hula HS-567) in 1978. This is the version of “Hiʻilawe” that is heard in the film The Descendants, and on its soundtrack album.

4.1972:  The complete song appears on the LP  (the “brown” album): Gabby (Panini PS-1002). This track was included on the compilation CD Pure Hawaiian (Quiet Storm QS-1010, p2001).

5. 1974: A live performance at the Waimea Music Festival, on the LP Waimea Music Festival (Panini PS-1006). This track was reissued on The Panini Collection (Panini Records 39476-2016-2, p2004).

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon What Iʻm Listening To: Natalie Ai Kamauu

It is so rare when the luxury presents itself to sit with a CD and listen to it from start to finish. Equally rare–or perhaps more so–is the experience of having a CD draw in the listener by its very unfolding. So it is with ‘Ã, so much so that I am moved to share some of the many thoughts that todayʻs listening brought to mind. What made this listening exceptional from earlier listenings is that around track 4, “Ku‘u Pua Pakalana,” I suddenly sensed that something special was happening. And by track 11, “Pi‘i I Ka Nahele,” it became imperative to go get the jewel case and the booklet and take a closer look.

There are two principles in record production that the digital environment (like, downloading single tracks; ripping to iTunes, loading to smartphone or mobile music player, filesharing, etc) has thrown into chaos.

  1. Artists communicate not only in their choice of songs, and their marshaling of skill and talent in performing songs, but also in their sequencing of multiple songs, whether it be on a product like an LP or CD, or in a setlist for a live performance. The digital environment is imperiling this dimension: regardless of what an artist may attempt to achieve, listeners more than ever are choosing to bypass the packaging  and hone in only on constituent parts.
  2. Whether a physical product or a live performance, liner notes or program notes are an additional opportunity for artists to communicate with their audiences. The digital environment has virtually dispensed with liner notes. Even when they are still produced, notes are becoming peripheral to the listening experience. Indeed, a consumer trying to go green by reducing the accumulation of stuff has a difficult choice to make:  downloading an album so often means going without any liner notes that may accompany the physical product. Very rarely have I had digital booklets included with my “instant download” purchases, which is why I only buy  non-Hawaiian music this way.

Sequencing, and liner notes. Importantly, I came back to these two principles through the experiencing of listening to Natʻs new CD, her third solo project. On unwrapping the CD, the contents first struck me as a hodgepodge:  songs about O‘ahu, songs about Kaua‘i, the opening track a hapa haole song, two ballad-y mele Hawai‘i songs–”Nohili Ê” and Sanoe,” another monarchy song “Ninipo,” a chant, some new Hawaiian-language mele, and a Stevie Wonder song. [The truth: I didnʻt know it was a Stevie Wonder song until I read the liner notes. But it sure stuck out in the track list.]

‘Ã is a sparkling gem of an autobiographic revealing of a soul sparkling with love. Nat writes in the liner notes: “Every stone has inclusions, tiny imperfections within, but a steady, patient hand can carve around these creating magnificence. Every cut creates a facet, a table for light to dance upon. And when the artistʻs job is complete, it is a dazzling sight.” Nat presents this as a perspective to appreciate the beauty that surrounds her, both in the magnificent place that is home, and in the ʻohana in her life. After listening to the entire CD and then backtracking to read the notes, it struck me that this is also exactly what Nat does musically–she uses her gifted leo to carve and shape messages of love and aloha that accumulate into a sparkling gem.

Here are some of the facets.

Track 5, “Nohili Ê” — sung in honor of her brothers, especially Rhett: “he has a bit of the rest in him. World, This is my baby brother.”

Track 4, “Ku‘u Pua Pakalana” — to honor song Chaz, a mele by Nat which uses her favorite lei pakalana. The words fall perfectly onto the tune. The tune is so perfect that the words do not have to be pushed around to fit. And then vocally, each verse ends in a soul-inspired “e / hū.”

Track 6, “Ninipo” — a monarchy song, but sung here in remembrance of Natʻs grandmotherʻs laughter.

So Iʻm beginning to see how the song selections read autobiographically. I turn back to the beginning of the liner notes.

Track 1, “Hanalei Moon.” Nat writes: “It was the first song I sang. I mean really found my voice and sang. . . . This is my first love.” Okay, now I understand why this song is not only included, but is given the honor of being the opening track.

Track 2, “Firemanʻs Hula.” A song associated with chanteuse extraordinary Myra English. And, I learn by reading the liner notes, that Myra was one of the musicians who sang for Nat for her award-winning performance in the Miss Aloha Hula contest at Merrie Monarch.

So now I turn to the love songs at the end.

Track 10: “No Ku‘u Ipo I Ka Ua Noe,” a new mele written by Nat for ‘Io. Wow, the love song I wish I wrote for my beloved! And sung as a weaving of voices throughout. Verse one asks “where are you, my love?” and verse two responds “here, with you, in the lush green uplands of Lanihuli.” Turning the “Haʻina” phrase into a call-and-response added yet another sparkle onto an already sparkling mele.

Track 11: “E Pi‘i i ka Nahele” A mele about Ka‘ililauokekoa, one of the epic love stories in the mo‘olelo tradition. Pure mele: E Ka‘ili e, e Ka‘ili e! E Ka‘ililauokekoa, grandchild of Ho‘oipokamalani, treasured of Lehuawehe, rising there on Waiehu . . . ” The liner notes: “This chant takes flight with the spontaneous design of the tune.” The tune unfolds organically, its delicate laciness caressed by the nose flute accompaniment. I listen to the leo, and a revelation–that any distinctions that might be insisted upon between a “singing voice” and a “chanting voice” become irrelevant when the voice, the leo, is understood as simply the vessel that delivers the mele.

Track 12: “Sanoe” — a love song, a beautiful love song composed by Queen Lili‘uokalani. Upstaged by “No Ku‘u Ipo i ka Ua Noe” and “E Pi‘i i ka Nahele,” it is an expression of love, but now it is also a capstone commentary on how living haku mele are crafting and presenting expressions of love that resound in equally compelling ways.

Once I began to grasp the logic, the rationale underlying the song selections, the liner notes were absolutely indispensable in helping me appreciate not only the songs individually, but their sequencing that traced an autobiographical arc, from the biographical to the most intimate love between ipo. And I realized that this product, this CD, was itself a sparkling gem, one that was a window onto a sparkling soul. ‘Ai a ma‘ona, inu a kena”–eat until filled, drink until satiated.


And Stevie Wonderʻs “Stay Gold” now makes perfect sense.

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon SONGS: Hiilawe [Hi‘ilawe]

Dear Readers, it has been a month since my last post. I have not been idle; like so many others, I am struggling to stay afloat in the riptides . . . Like so many others, I mourned Whitney Houstonʻs untimely passing; like so many others, I was thrilled to wiyetness Adeleʻs triumphant return to the microphone. All the while I continue to make progress on my discographical adventures . . . and promise stories to come. But in the meantime, here is an offering on a well-known song, “Hiʻilawe.”

The song is legendary, and for many fans, the renown of the song rests on the legendary recordings by Gabby Pahinui. His 1947 recording of the song has appeared on numerous anthologies and compilations within the past 20 years.

Letʻs look at some of the earliest sources of the song. Several months ago, one of the members of the amazing team of folks working on the Ho‘olaupa‘i newspaper digitization project posted an exciting find on Facebook: a letter dated April 13, 1906, and published in the newspaper Ke Aloha Aina on April 21, 1906, with the lyrics to “Hiilawe Song.”
















Although the letter writer is one “O. K. Poniaulani,” at the end of the song is the statement: “This mele is composed by Samʻl Kalainaina in the year 1892.”




1906 was not the first year that this mele appeared in print. This mele appeared in a songbook titled Songs of Hawaii, compiled by A. R. “Sonny” Cunha and published by Bergstrom Music in 1902. And even more fascinating: the mele appears not once, but twice in that songbook, set to two different tunes, with attributions to two different authors.

Bishop Museum Ethnomusicologist Betty Tatar first called attention to finding “Hiilawe” in this songbook, and mentioned this in the entry on “Hi“ilawe” on pages 125-6 of George Kanaheleʻs encyclopedic volume Hawaiian Music and Musicians (1979). Nerdy student that I was, I went to UH Hamilton Library and Bishop Museum Library (at that time), and looked up these songbooks. Sure enough–two different melodies, two different author attributions; both arrangements copyrighted 1902.

In the course of a series of IM conversations two years ago with Bill Wynne, he located in Google Books a copy of Cunhaʻs 1914 compilation titled Famous Songs of Hawaii, which I had reported in one of my earliest articles (1987) to be an expanded edition of Cunhaʻs 1902 volume. I quickly logged onto Google Books, found the volume, and enjoyed a hearty laugh. The copy in Google Books was from Harvard College Music Library. Just inside the binding cover was the “Date Due” slip. The last five date stamps were 1985-1987. The borrower was none other than me, back when I was a graduate student!! I was indexing the songbooks back then, and my analysis of the songbook contents is what was written up in that 1987 article.

Click on the link I inserted in the last paragraph, and you, too, can see Harvardʻs copy of Cunhaʻs 1914 songbook. Youʻll find “Halialaulani” by Mrs. Kuakini on page 36, and “Ke Aloha Poina Ole” by Miss Martha K. Maui on page 39. Both songs are arranged by Sonny Cunha, and you can see for yourself the copyright notices dated 1902, registered to Bergstrom Music Co. of Honolulu, T.H.

A comment on the author attributions: it was then (and still is now) the convention in U.S. copyright registration of songs to privilege the author of the music over the author of the lyrics. So the attributions to Mrs. Kuakini and Miss Martha K. Maui must be read as crediting these two women with tunes that are, indeed, distinctly different from each other. The letter writer to the newspaper Ke Aloha Aina confirmed that the author of the mele lyrics is Samuel Kalainaina–an attribution that did not have a precisely understood location on the page in the context of common practice in copyright registration.

“Halialaulani” on page 36 has 26 lines in the mele. “Ke Aloha Poina Ole” on page 39 has 14 lines. Those 14 links correspond to lines 1-14 in “Halialaulani,” notwithstanding variants among minor grammatical particles. In the 1906 printing in Ke Aloha Aina, the mele has 26 lines, and they correspond with “Halialaulani.”

So here we have it, Dear Readers, another excursion through multiple sources of documentation that confirm a thriving practice–that a mele can have more than one tune, and that interest in at least these two tunes warranted their being notated, arranged and published in a songbook that carried these songs across oceans and continents, and the mele was sufficiently beloved to survive in performance and memory and resurface four decades later on a sound recording that is now canonized, lionized–and treasured.

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon on my mind . . . kuleana !

“Thatʻs your kuleana.” Translation: Thatʻs your responsibility. Thatʻs your thing. Thatʻs what youʻre supposed to do. Thatʻs your obligation. Thatʻs your contribution. Thatʻs your piece of the puzzle. Thatʻs your arena. Thatʻs your domain. Thatʻs your part of the whole. Thatʻs what you are supposed to take care of. Obligation. Responsibility. Contribution. Destiny.

Itʻs a lot for one word to carry. And it is a huge pū‘olo of expectations for any one person to take on oneself, even before placing it on anyone else.

Several years ago I put on my thinking cap and composed an essay called “On the Kuleana of a Kumu Hula.” The essay now lives on its own page on this blog. In the last two weeks there has been a spike in the number of hits on that page. A lot of folks apparently are reading it right now. I am guessing that one or more teachers have found it and have been assigning students to read it. (I am deliberately choosing to use “teacher” instead of “kumu” here, because I want to avoid the automatic-reflex jump that “kumu” will naturally mean “kumu hula.” I suspect that the teacher or teachers in this case may not necessarily be kumu hula, but rather schoolteachers or university instructors.)

That essay was several months in the making. In that several month period, I sought feedback and input from a circle of folks who I respect and admire deeply for their principled conduct. Not surprisingly, most of them are, in fact, longtime kumu hula. I have refrained from naming any of them, because they are not to blame for any shape or form of the final document. That kuleana is solely mine. I wrote, too,  that the essay represents thinking aloud. It is NOT any kind of “how-to-become-a-kumu-hula” document, because that process is the kuleana of those who have been entrusted with stewarding the knowledge of hula practice. I am not part of that particular group–while I have had the privilege of being entrusted with knowledge of hula and hula practice, I have not been entrusted with the kuleana of ʻuniki. As one keeper of hula knowledge, I do take seriously my kuleana to share that knowledge with those who seek it, to ensure that that knowledge passed to me does not end with me.

One important reason why I wrote the essay, however, is to get folks to think about expectations. Kumu hula are expected, by their own kumu, to be stewards of knowledge and practice that has been passed from the past. But — have everyone elseʻs expectations of kumu hula exceeded what is realistic? Have expectations placed on kumu hula gone beyond what their kuleana is–and even ballooned out of control? Have kumu hula been expected to take on roles and demonstrate expertise in areas beyond the stewarding of hula knowledge? Have those expectations begun to affect how kumu hula can actually fulfill their kuleana to hula knowledge and practice?

In California, for example, where I lived for 8 years and where I still maintain my commitment to Kūlia i ka Pūnāwai (Kumu Hula Association of Southern California), kumu hula are acutely aware of the fact that they represent Hawaiian culture in their communities. Many have become community leaders and advocates for health and wellbeing, arts and crafts, concert production and promotion–activities far beyond the kuleana of stewarding knowledge of hula practice and presentation. But in California, where people are not surrounded 24/7 by access to lived culture in the way that people in Hawai‘i enjoy, haumana and their families and friends look to their kumu hula for guidance. And kumu hula have risen to the challenge, in recognition of their kuleana to their students. So, one question that could be asked is–are kumu hula now expected to develop expertise–not just knowledge, but expertise–in areas that have traditionally been the kuleana of other people–like la‘au lapa‘au medicinal healers, featherworkers, taro cultivation, ipu harvesting? Another question: at what point does pursuit of activities outside of hula practice cross the line into being counterproductive to (try “get in the way of”) a kumu’s particular expertise in cultivating haumana and creating hula?

Try a different direction. The path I chose is that of a scholar committed to research. In my life as a university professor, promotion brings new opportunities. New positions open up, opportunities to move up the ladder of hierarchy into positions of institutional leadership. But those new activities have costs. And one of the costs is less time that I can spend on research and writing, because my time is now spent on fulfilling the kuleana of the new position. A department chairperson, for example is expected to attend and support department-sponsored events, even if those events are not directly relevant to that personʻs own interests. A department chairperson is also expected to attend meetings with higher-ups outside the department, thus reducing oneʻs time on oneʻs own work, in the interest of the wellbeing of the department.

So–itʻs time to step back and assess. What is my kuleana? What contribution can I make that is most effective? If my passion is to share the what I find, and to get folks to think about things differently when new insights present such opportunities, then how can I best accomplish that?

What is the kuleana of a Hawaiian musician? To be the best possible musician by practicing and rehearsing? To be a reliable musician by showing up at a gig on time with the necessary gear (like instruments)? To be the most successful musician by securing the highest paid gigs? To make a livelihood to support oneself (and even a family–partner, children, parents)? After all, musicians have to eat, and buy clothes and pay for shelter as well as keep the instruments and gear in working order. Are musicians expected to have the expertise of fluent Hawaiian language speakers and language instructors? Are all musicians expected to be teachers of students at all age levels? Are musicians expected to nurture and mentor younger aspiring students? (The kuleana of a performer is not completely identical to the kuleana of a teacher. Some of the most effective teachers in western art music were not concert musicians, but rather teachers whose gifts enabled them to conjure and inspire the best out of their students.)

So, Dear Readers, what are your kuleana? And what kuleana are you expecting of others?

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon Queen Liliʻuokalaniʻs Songs — Looking for Recordings?

In 2010 there are several posts about archival sources for Queen Lili‘uokalaniʻs songs. It was on my mind to complement those posts with a post or two (or maybe more) about recordings. Here, at long last, is a roundup of some LPs and CDs that are prominently (or entirely) feature the Queenʻs songs.

Jack De Mello. The Music of Queen Liliuokalani (Kamokila K-700). circa late 1950s / early 1960s. Jack DeMello, historian, musicologist, arranger extraordinaire, and conductor. Mr. DeMello conducts arrangements for full orchestra that are based on the melodies in Lili‘uokalaniʻs manuscripts. While the arrangements are model examples of mastery in the craft of orchestration (for which there is so little opportunity nowadays to challenge contemporary musicians), these arrangements respect the tunes by framing, rather than overshadowing, the original source material. There are no vocals on this disc. However, we hear the tunes as Lili‘uokalani herself notated them. (Many of the orchestral arrangements reappear as accompaniment to recordings by Emma Veary.)

Charles K. L. Davis with the Kawaiaha‘o Church Choir, conducted by Daniel Akaka. Songs of Hawaiian Royalty (Royal RY-111). circa 1960s or early 1970s.  Charles K. L. Davis is an operatically trained tenor with experience in musical theater as well. So this recording reflects the spirit of mele Hawai‘i art songs as they were being premiered in the monarchy era: in concerts and recitals in Kawaiaha‘o church, featuring singers and instrumentalists known in the community as music teachers as well as performers, or featuring choral arrangements rehearsed by church choirs. This album showcases Mr. Davisʻs impeccable diction, and his vocal skill is enveloped by a tasteful choral enhancement delivered by the Kawaiaha‘o Church Choir. To my knowledge, tracks from the LP album have not be reissued. The LP appears from time to time on ebay.


The Galliard String Quartet. Songs of Liliuokalani (Wa Nui WN-4501, 1995). Instrumental arrangements for string quartet, performed by classically trained musicians who were members of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Very pleasant.


Ozzie Kotani. To Honor a Queen: The Music of Lili‘uokalani (Dancing Cat 38018, 2002). An all-instrumental album of slack-key guitar arrangements. Quite a different vibe from the world of musicians trained in classical music and the environment of the recital hall (not a criticism; simply an observation). Slack-key guitarists are highly accomplished instrumentalists, and many have extended the tradition from traditional hula ku‘i repertoire into original compositions. Furthermore, the extensive documentation of slack key initiated by Dancing Cat Records in the 1990s, and the concertizing and touring in support of the CD issues, has brought kī hō‘alu slack key playing from its rural and informal roots into the concert hall world. So Ozzie Kotaniʻs sustained treatment of an entire group of Lili‘uokalaniʻs songs in slack key arrangements brings this repertoire into another artistic realm.

Ku‘uipo Kumukahi & The Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders. Nā Lani ‘Ehā, 2007. A project of the non-profit organization Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The group produces annual galas to induct accomplished artists into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame; they have mounted informative exhibits in Honolulu on Hawaiian music history; and they are involved in statewide discussions to establish a museum of Hawaiian music and hula. The four royal siblings–King David Kalākaua, Queen Lili‘uokalani, Princess Miriam Likelike and Prince William Leleiohōkū–known as “Nā Lani ‘Ehā” have been adopted as the organization’s patrons. This recording, then, is a tribute project, featuring vocalist Ku‘uipo Kumukahi accompanied by The Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders, who are Isaac Akuna, Joseph Winchester, and organization president James Kimo Stone. The song selections include songs not recorded in recent years, such as “Kīlaue” and “Wahine Hele La o Kaiona.”  The presentation here is guitar and ‘ukulele strumming in the vein of Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai‘i. The CD received the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Album of the Year in 2008.

A Tribute to Nā Lani ‘Ehā: Music of the Hawaiian Monarchy (Poki SP-9075, 2010). This tribute album features songs selected and presented by a range of popular artists currently active in Hawai‘i’s recording industry and entertainment scenes–Del Beazley, Manu Boyd, Teresa Bright, Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, Louis Moon Kauakahi, and Cyril Pahinui. While four of the six artists have released albums on the Poki Records label and its affiliate, Pumehana Records, all of the tracks featured on this particular album are newly-recorded. The song selections are, for the most part, well-known favorites. Kumu Hula Kawaikapuokalani Hewett contributes two of the most well-known hula ‘ōlapa chants that honor Lili‘uokalani–”Lili‘u E” and “‘Anapau.”

Lili‘uokalani (Legacy Hula Vol. 3). (Daniel Ho Creations DHC-80081, 2010). Queen Lili‘uokalani’s reputation as a gifted and revered songwriter is renowned. So much so that the phrase “Queen Lili‘uokalani’s songs” usually does not bring to mind the dozens of her mele compositions for hula, as well as the dozens, if not hundreds, of mele composed in her honor. This project is a window onto that facet of artistic activity that delves into Hawaiian-language newspapers and unpublished manuscript sources from the 1890s. The settings are contemporary, by kumu hula who are members of Kūlia i ka Pūnāwai (Kumu Hula Association of Southern California). This CD includes a set of four mele composed by Lili‘uokalani in honor of her husband, Gov. John Dominis, as well as two other sets of mele composed by others in her honor.

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon E Ō Maui: Irmgard Farden Aluli & Puamana

The musical legacy Mauiʻs Farden family stretches epically over at least four generations of musicians, entertainers, recording artists, songwriters, kumu hula, educators, and ambassadors of aloha. In her generation, Irmgard Farden Aluli had garnered attention as an entertainer and songwriter, but it was only in the 1980s that two definitive recordings of many of her songs were issued. She headlines the group “Puamana,” which consists of daughters Aima Aluli McManus and Mihana Aluli Souza, and niece Luana McKinney.

For many years I have enjoyed the CD reissue of tracks drawn from the two LPs. But it was upon digitizing both LPs this morning that I compared the track lists, and discovered that out of 26 songs on the two LPs, there were 14 songs were on the LPs that were not reissued on the CD, and the final track on the CD, “At the Copacabana,” was not included on either LP. So here is an accounting of the 1980s LPs as compared to the 1998 CD.

A single asterisk identifies songs from the 1982 LP that appeared on the CD; a double asterisk identifies songs from the 1986 LP that appeared on the CD. The songwriting credits are as reported on the LP labels and in the CD liner notes.

1982: One Little Dream of You (Puamana Productions PP-001)

  1. * “One Little Dream of You” written by Nane & Irmgard Aluli
  2. * “Maui” written by Mary Pukui and Irmgard Aluli
  3. * “Kūmū Kalidadidi” written by Irmgard Aluli
  4. “Puamōhala i ka Wēkiu” written by Frank Kahala and Irmgard Aluli
  5. * “No Hilahila” Written by Ed Halloway, Jr. and Irmgard Aluli
  6. * “Maunawili at Sundown” written by Irmgard Aluli
  7. “Sun and Sand” written by Mary Pukui and Irmgard Aluli
  8. * “E Maliu Mai” written by Irmgard Aluli
  9. * “You Taught Me How to Love You” written by Irmgard Aluli
  10. * “Kulaiapahia” written by Larry Kimura and Irmgard Aluli
  11. * “Ka Waimea Swing” written by Thelma Bugbee and Irmgard Aluli
  12. “Soft Hawaiian Eyes” written by Irmgard Aluli
  13. * “For a Peaceful World” written by Napua Stevens and Irmgard Aluli

1986:  Have A Smile (Puamana Productions PP-002)

  1. ** “Puamana” written by Irmgard Farden Alley
  2. “Kahukiaialo” written by Irmgard Farden Aluli
  3. “Ginger Memories” written by Edna Farden Bekeart
  4. “Nā Hoa He‘e Nalu” written by Irmgard Farden Aluli
  5. “Halona” / “Roselani” (written by W. J. Coelho / J. Elia  © Charles E King)
  6. “Kaho‘olawe” written by Irmgard Farden Aluli, Pilahi Paki, Inez Ashdown and Napua Stevens
  7. “Maui Moon” written by Andy Iona
  8. “Old Plantation,” written by David Nape © Charles E. King
  9. “Maui Girl” written by Ignacio Libornio
  10. “Hana By the Sea” written by Aima Aluli McManus
  11. “Ulupalakua” written by Emma Farden Sharpe
  12. “Lei Aloha, Lei of Love” written by Irmgard Farden Aluli
  13. ** “One More Round” written by Liberty Helenihi Belfast and Irmgard Farden Aluli

1998: From Irmgard With Love (Mountain Apple MACD-2049)

  1. ** “Puamana” Music by Irmgard Aluli, Words by Charles Kekua Farden
  2. * “You Taught Me How to Love You” Music & Words by Irmgard Aluli
  3. * “Kūmū Kalidadidi” Music & Words by Irmgard Aluli
  4. * “Kūla‘iapāhia” By Irmgard Aluli & Larry Lindsey Kimura
  5. * “No Hilahila” Words by Irmgard Aluli, Music by Ed Halloway
  6. * “One Little Dream of  You” By Irmgard Aluli (3rd verse words by Nane Aluli)
  7. * “E Maliu Mai” Music & Words by Irmgard Aluli; English lyrics by Nane Aluli
  8. * “Ka Waimea Swing” Music by Irmgard Aluli; Words by Thelma Bugbee
  9. * “Maunawili at Sundown” Music & Words by Irmgard Aluli
  10. ** “One More Round” Music by Liberty Helenihi Belfast; Words by Irmgard Aluli & Liberty Helenihi Belfast
  11. * “Maui” Music by Irmgard Aluli, Words by Mary Kawena Pukui
  12. “For a Peaceful World” Music by Irmgard Aluli, Words by Napua Stevens-Poire
  13. “At the Copacabana” Music & Words by Irmgard Aluli

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon Aloha 2011 . . . Aloha 2012 !!

It seems that many folks are wrapped up in wrapping up 2011. Tis the season to reflect back, take stock, make resolutions, etc. etc. I am mindful that my blog posts have fallen victim this past month to end-of-semester madness, which coincided with some crazy travel, some crazy ceiling repairs (and the accompanying blanket of dust everywhere), some roller-coaster property transactions, lots of escapist LP digitizing . . . and holiday travel to Dallas, where I will mark the new year in several hours.

Was 2011 a good year? It was certainly a busy year. I began my second semester of guest teaching at University of Hawai’i, and produced a series of five public events on “The Present & Future of Hawaiian Music,” held at the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. Reflections on the first two of those programs were blogged here; and at some point I owe it to many folks to post reflections from the other three programs. The fifth program was the focus of intense interest, as I had the opportunity to bring my collaborators Daniel Ho and Tia Carrere to Honolulu for a performance and panel discussion. It drew an overflow audience to UH that balmy April evening.

Other activities? I attended the Hawai‘i Music Awards, where the chant CD Lili‘uokalani (produced with Kūlia i ka Pūnāwai Kumu Hula Association of Southern California) was honored for Liner Notes. I also attended the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards in May, where the chant CD Ancient Hula Hawaiian Style Vol. 1 Hula Kahiko was nominated for liner notes. It was bested by Kupaoaʻs mellifluous English Rose, liner notes co-written by Līhau Hannahs-Paik, Kellen Paik, and Puakea Nogelmeier. In their acceptance remarks, we were treated to Puakeaʻs uniquely singular (and singularly unique) perspective: “Iʻm so glad you folks are still reading liner notes!!” Indeed. ʻa ʻoia!

I also attended the 2 days of workshops organized by HARA the weakend of the Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards. So much valuable experience, insight and information was gathered at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, on aspects of the music industry, music instruments and gear, and an entire track of sessions devoted to haku mele, with at least one of them conducted entirely in ‘ōlelo. E ola ka ‘ōlelo!

This is the year that Aaron Sala completed a masterʻs thesis in ethnomusicology, on the aesthetics of Hawaiian-style piano playing, with some very 21st-century digital analysis. This is also the year that Keola Donaghy completed his Ph.D. dissertation, also in ethnomusicology, on an aesthetics of language and poetry in Hawaiian music.

This was the year that the contentiousness around the Grammy award in Hawaiian music . . . imploded, as The Recording Category collapsed us, along with numerous other diverse ethnic traditions like Cajun, zydeco, polka, and the spectrum of Native American musics into one category to be called “Best Regional Roots Music.” Congratulations to Uncle George Kahumoku, Jr., for his Wao Akua CD garnering one of the nominations in the new category. It is extremely problematic, however, that no musics of the United Statesʻ aboriginal settlers were recognized with a nomination in that category. Hmm, a roots music category that is entirely emptied out of the continentʻs first nations peoples.

And speaking of Uncle George, he is shepherding the exciting new Institute of Hawaiian Music and the University of Hawai’i Maui College, which makes valuable music industry training accessible beyond Honolulu. The first cohort of students have prevailed in auditions, and will enter a program directed by a Grammy award-winning producer!

The closing of Borders Books and Music nationally has had a major impact on Hawaiian music, because the Hawai‘i stores were particularly well stocked with Hawaiian music inventory, and supportive of new releases. The loss of Borders, along with continued growth in online music distribution, has left Hawaiian music fans with new challenges to continue learning about and acquiring new Hawaiian music releases. Artists and groups have been strengthening their use of social media like Facebook to get words out to their fans. Yet traditional outlets for music retailing, including Barnes & Noble, and online veteran Hawaiian Music Island (, and indie bookstores Native Books (Honolulu) and Basically Books (Hilo) –uh, sorry, I just donʻt know what exists on Maui or Kauaʻi or Molokaʻi–these retailers are showing signs that no one outlet is successfully staying on top of the production activity outside of the main distribution channels like Mountain Apple and Booklines.

On the positive side, venues for live music performance continue to materialize. In addition to Kani Ka Pila Grille at Outrigger Reef Hotel, regular events at Royal Hawaiian Center and Embassy Suites Beach Walk, the city-run series at Kuhio Beach, and a smattering of other venues, Ilikai Bar and Grille came online with a roster of younger groups, and chef Mitch Ueno has also extended his sponsorship of Hawaiian music to his Kapahulu eatery The Corner. Ku‘uipo Kumukahi has also taken up lunchtime serenading at Hailiʻs Kapahulu Ave. restaurant as well. Where thereʻs a will, hopefully there will be even more establishments willing to consider supporting Hawaiian music and musicians!!

The November premier of the feature film The Descendants drew critical notice, not only for George Clooneyʻs Oscar-worthy performance, but also for the filmʻs sountrack, which consists entirely of kī hō’alu slack key guitar music. Mainland critics have suggested that The Descendants may do for slack key music what films like Oh Brother Where Are Thou? did for “roots” music.

What have I got to show for 2011? Well, I continue to plug away at my book projects. I did complete a major encyclopedia article. And I dove headlong into digitizing LPs so that I could finally access the music. Nephew Nate did a tremendous amount of digitizing several years ago, which jumpstarted my own efforts . . . and I am very appreciative of the support of U.K.-based producer, steel guitarist and record collector Basil Henriques who introduced me to the venerable John Marsden.  I look forward to tapping their wellsprings of knowledge and experience!!

Where will 2012 take us? Ah, I am not clairvoyant. We shall see where 2012 takes us. Iʻve been writing this blog for nearly 2-1/2 years now. So allow me to express my appreciation to you all, dear readers, for walking along this path with me. I have lots of ideas for 2012, and I hope that you all will continue in our shared passion for Hawaiian Music for our listening pleasure!!

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou iā ‘oukou ā pau!!

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon “The Daily Mele”–a new project

Aloha 2012 Dear Readers! (Iʻm in a time zone that is already 2012.) Iʻve launched a new project tonight. It is a new blog called “The Daily Mele.” I was inspired by Project 365, launched in 2006 to get folks to take a photo and post it online daily. Giving it a musical spin, I thought I would post daily about a song I am listening to or thinking about. Click here to visit “The Daily Mele”

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure

PostHeaderIcon HAWAIIAN MUSIC CALENDAR December 2011

• The St. Regis Hotel in Princeville features Keli`i Kaneali`i from 6-9 PM
• The Tahiti Nui in Hanalei presents Michael Keale from 6-8PM
• Shutter’s Lounge at the Kaua`i Beach Resort presents Makepa from 7-10 PM
• Darryl Gonzales is appearing at The Seaview Terrace at The Grand Hyatt in Po`ipu from 6-8 PM
• Keoki’s Paradise in the Po`ipu Shopping Village presents `Elua from 7-9
• Trees Lounge at the Coconut Marketplace Shopping Center in Kapaa features Ho`aka during Happy Hour from 6:30 – 8:30 PM
• The Lemongrass Bar and Grill in Kapaa features Ivo Monroe Miller from 6-9 PM
• Joe’s On The Green, at the Kiahuna Golf Course Restaurant & Clubhouse features Kirby Keough from 4:30 -6:30

• The Seaview Terrace at The Grand Hyatt in Po`ipu features Leilani Rivera Bond with her keiki hula show from 6-8PM.
• The Lighthouse Bistro in Kilauea features Keli`i Kaneali`i from 6:30 – 8:30 PM
• The Tahiti Nui in Hanalei presents Kanak Atttack with Darryl Gonzales & Koko Kaneali`i from 6-9 PM
• Shutter’s Lounge at the Kaua`i Beach Resort presents Makepa from 7-10 PM
• Keoki’s Paradise in the Po`ipu Shopping Village features Michelle & Lance from 7-9 PM
• The Casablanca Restaurant in the Kiahuna Plantation Resort in Po`ipu features Mike Young from 7:00-9:00 PM

• Aunty Bev Muraoka offers a free Hula Show at 12:15 at the Harbor Mall on Rice Street in Nawiliwili
• There is also a free Hula show featuring Leilani Rivera Bond & Halua Hula O Leilani, center stage at 5PM, at the Coconut Marketplace Shopping Center in Kapaa
• Shutter’s Lounge at the Kaua`i Beach Resort presents Jonah Cummings from 7-10 PMl
• The Hukilau Lanai at the Kaua`i Coast resort in Kapaa presents Michael Keale from 6-9 PM
• Cafe Portofino in Nawiliwili presents Larry Rivera & daughter Luraline from 7:30-9:30 PM
• The Lighthouse Bistro in Kilauea features Keli`i Kaneali`i from 6:30 – 8:30 PM
• The Casablanca Restaurant in the Kiahuna Plantation Resort in Po`ipu features Mike Young from 7:00-9:00 PM
• The Seaview Terrrace at the Grand Hyatt in Po`ipu presents Darryl Gonzales from 6-8PM
• Stevenson’s Library at the Grand Hyatt in Po`ipu presents Aloha Breeze from 8-11PM
• Keoki’s Paradise in the Po`ipu Shopping Village features Chico & Darren at 6:30
• Joe’s On The Green, at the Kiahuna Golf Course Restaurant & Clubhouse features Kirby Keough from 4:30 -6:30

• Joe’s On The Green at the Kiahuna Golf Course Restaurant & Clubhouse features KK Kauilani from 4:30 -6:30 PM
• The Waimea Plantation Cottages in Waimea presents “the Kama`aina’s” from 7-9PM
• The Seaview Terrace at The Grand Hyatt in Po`ipu features Leilani Rivera Bond from 6-8PM.
• Keoki’s Paradise the Po`ipu Shopping Village presents Keamoku at 6:30 PM
• Shutter’s Lounge at the Kaua`i Beach Resort presents Jonah Cummings from 7-10 PM
• The Lighthouse Bistro in Kilauea features Pancho Graham from 6:30 – 8:30 PM
• The Tahiti Nui in Hanalei presents Kanak Attack with Darryl Gonzales, Garrett Santos and Koko Kaneali`i from 6-9
• Trees Lounge at the Coconut Marketplace Shopping Center in Kapaa presents Haunani Kaui and Friends from 6:30-8:30 PM

• The Hanapepe Café presents Cindy Combs from 6-9PM in Hanapepe Town
• The Seaview Terrace at The Grand Hyatt in Po`ipu features Leilani Rivera Bond from 6-8PM.
• Keoki’s Paradise in the Po`ipu Shopping Village presents Po`ipu at 6:30 PM
• A traditional Hawaiian slack key & ukulele music concert featuring Doug & Sandy Mc Master is at the Hanalei Community Center at 4 PM
• The Pono Kane Trio with Steve Landis, Bruce Lumsden & David Helder are featured at the Tahiti Nui in Hanalei during Happy Hour from 4-6 PM followed by Keli`i Kaneali`i from 6:30-9 PM
• Calypso in Hanalei presents Windjammer (Chad Pa, Del Seeger & Koko Kaneali`i)6-9 PM
• The Tiki Room at the Harbor Mall in Nawiliwili features Ho`aka from 6:30 – 8:30 PM
• Sean Carillo is at Sushi Bushido in Kapa`a from 7-9 PM
• The Hukilau Lanai at the Kaua`i Coast resort in Kapaa presents Dennis Chun from 6-9 PM
• Darryl Gonzales is at Shutter’s Lounge at The Kaua`i Beach Resort from 7-10 PM

•There is a free Hula show, featuring Leilani Rivera Bond & Halua Hula O Leilani, center stage at the Coconut Marketplace Shopping Center in Kapaa at 1PM
• A traditional Hawaiian slack key & ukulele music concert featuring Doug & Sandy Mc Master is at the Children Of The Land Center at Safeway Shopping Center near the Clock Tower from 5-7 PM
• The Hukilau Lanai at the Kaua`i Coast resort in Kapaa presents Wally & Polei Palmeira from 6-9 PM
• Darryl Gonzales is at Sushi Bushido in Kapa`a from 7-9 PM
• The Tahiti Nui in Hanalei features Milani Bileyu from 6:30-8:30 PM
• Shutter’s Lounge at the Kaua`i Beach Resort presents Jonah Cummings from 7-10 PM
• The Lemongrass Bar and Grill in Kapaa features Ivo Monroe Miller from 6-9 PM
• The Seaview Terrace at The Grand Hyatt in Po`ipu features Leilani Rivera Bond with her keiki hula show from 6-8PM.
• Keoki’s Paradise in the Po`ipu Shopping Village presents Moku & Lenny at 6:30 PM

• Roy’s Tavern On The Green, at the Prince Golf Course in Princeville, features Pancho Graham from 5:00 – 8:00 PM
• The Hanalei Gourmet in Hanalei presents The Mango Brothers from 6-9 PM
• The Tahiti Nui in Hanalei features Milani Bileyu from 6:30-8:30 PM
• Shutter’s Lounge at the Kaua`i Beach Resort presents Darryl Gonzales from 7-10 PM
• Stevenson’s Library at the Grand Hyatt in Po`ipu presents Aloha Breeze from 8-11PM
• Keoki’s Paradise in the Po`ipu Shopping Center presents Nick Castillo from 7-9PM
• A traditional Hawaiian slack key & ukulele music concert featuring Doug & Sandy Mc Master is at the Hanalei Community Center at 3 PM
• Joe’s On The Green at the Kiahuna Golf Course Restaurant & Clubhouse features Kauilani Kahalekai & Kalani Kaimina`aoao from 4:30 -6:30
• The Casablanca’s Restaurant in the Kiahuna Plantation Resort in Po`ipu presents Mike Young from 7-9 PM
• The Lemongrass Bar and Grill in Kapaa features Ivo Monroe Miller from 6-9 PM
• Wahoo’s Island Grill in Kapaa features Keola Worthington at 7:30

MAHALO NUI LOA, Have a Great Hawaiian Day!

Hawaiian Music Calendar

PostHeaderIcon Musing over Hawaiian Music in the Grammy Nominations for 2011

Click here to go to the Recording Academyʻs website where a pdf file of the complete list of nominations is posted.

The web has been a-buzz over the Grammy nominations, which were announced last Wednesday Nov. 30. Many folks–fans and industry professionals alike–were curious to see what things were going to look like in the wake of last Aprilʻs radical restructuring of all of the categories. Hawaiian music was one of those categories collapsed into the broader category named “Best Regional Roots Album” within the field named “American Roots,” and this year is competing with other musics like polka, Cajun, Zydeco, Native American, and others that apparently do not fall into any other more specific category like “blues.”

The nominees in the “Best Regional Roots Music Album” are:

  1. C. J. Chenier, Canʻt Sit Down.
  2. George Kahumoku, Jr, Wao Akua – The Forest of the Gods.
  3. Rebirth Brass Band, Rebirth of New Orleans.
  4. Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Grand Isle.
  5. Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra, Not Just Another Polka.

First observations:

  1. Hawaiian music was not completely shut out of nominations.
  2. Native American music submissions failed to garner any nominations.
  3. Three of the five submissions are musics whose geographic center is New Orleans.

Congratulations to George Kahumoku, Jr. Already a Grammy Award winner as a co-producer of four slack key compilations from the “Slack Key Masters” concert series he produces, this is his first nomination as an artist.

Hawaiian music also made an appearance in another category. In “Best Pop Instrumental Album”–one of the categories in the extremely crowded Pop Music field–is a nomination for Daniel Hoʻs solo piano album, E Kahe Mālie. Because that album contains pianistic interpretations of classic Hawaiian songs, it was originally submitted to the “Best Regional Roots Music” category. At some point in the verification process, it got moved to the “Best Pop Instrumental” category, where it earned its nomination. How about that!! Hawaiian music rises to mainstream recognition in one of the mainstream categories!! Congratulations to Daniel Ho, whose perseverance and commitment to artistry is continuing to take Hawaiian music to new audiences.

As much as there is to celebrate in this news, there is without a doubt many Hawaiian musicians and fans who are pissed off because their favorites have failed once again to garner recognition in this broader national area. So there are comments posted on bulletin boards, blogs, and FaceBook walls again to the effect of insisting that Hawai’iʻs Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards are a true reflection of those who know Hawaiian music. (Many folks do not realize that the requirement of Hawaii residency in many Hōkū categories excludes the work of many artists who work on Hawaiian music outside Hawaiʻi. HARA has instituted one new “international” category that will go into effect this year.)

One has to wonder about The Recording Academyʻs structure that places Hawaiian music in direct competition with polka, Cajun, Zydeco, and funk-jazz brass band musics, AND mainstream pop music.

Personally, I marvel at the fact that Hawaiian music has not disappeared entirely off the Grammy radar, even without a dedicated category. Naysayers will certainly trumpet up assertions that the Grammy nominations and awards are about popularity, marketing, and networking. Such charges are ill-informed and even disrespectful of many voting members in the Recording Academy, whose votes do represent the assessment of artistic and technical merit by professional peers in the music industry.

Disclaimer:  I am a voting member of both the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (“The Recording Academy”), and the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts (“HARA”). My eligibility for membership is based on production, co-production, and liner notes credits for eight recordings on three different record labels.)

Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure