When you hear about "Hawaiian music" do you think Don Ho and 'Tiny Bubbles'? If so, there's a whole new world of music waiting for you.
On this page you'll find a short history of the Hawaiian music scene. Next, check out our Hawaiian radio section. You'll be able to listen to Hawaiian Internet Radio broadcasts as well as live music streamed from local radio stations.
Next, we'll describe some Hawaiian music awards and reviews. Finally, I'll discuss some of my personal favorites. I'm hoping that you'll enjoy this music as much as I do. Even if you don't understand the Hawaiian language, the music has a special feeling to it that is both relaxing and inspiring.
In about 500 AD, there were already people living on the Hawaiian Islands. They brought with them a rich Polynesian culture. At that time, Hawaiian "music" consisted of chants and rhythmic accompaniment with a variety of instruments.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, people from all over the world started showing up on Hawaii's shores. They brought with them instruments such as the violin, guitar, ukulele, piano, accordion and flute. Missionaries introduced hymns with multi-part harmony. The ukulele and guitar arrived with cowboys from Portugal, Spain and Mexico. Ukulele means 'jumping flea' because of the quick way the instruments was played. Local folks liked guitars and started to play them as well. Soon they developed their own tuning and 'slack key' was born.
In the late 1800s, Hawaiian monarchy imported many ideas from Europe and from England in particular. Classical music and spirited marches became popular and the Royal Hawaiian Band was born.
In the early 1900s, Hawaii became a US territory. Soon thereafter, Hollywood took an interest in Hawaiian music and "Hapa Haole" (generally Hawaiian melodies with English words) became popular. This is what most people think of when they hear the term "Hawaiian Music".
My favorite period of Hawaiian music came in the 1970s. The Hawaiian culture (once repressed by missionaries) was flourishing. The music scene was energized by such legends as Gabby Pahinui, Sunday Manoa, The Brothers Cazimero, Hui Ohana, and the Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau.
These days, contemporary Hawaiian music includes traditional, jazz, and Jawaiian (a mix of Hawaiian and Jamaician - music with a reggae flavor).
Mountain Apple Company Hawaiian Radio
Internet Radio Hawaii
Other radio stations offering streaming audio include KCCN FM 100 and Hawaiian Kine 105FM. Unfortunately, both stations install adware with their streaming audio so we'd recommend caution.
Awards and Reviews
If you want to know what's happening on the Hawaiian music scene, I'd recommend checking out Hawaiian Music News from Nahenahe Net and the archived copies of Susan's Hawaiian Music Report. Check out newly released CDs and traditional favorites.
Awards in many categories are given to Hawaiian Music artists and groups each year at the "Na Hoku HanoHano" (stars of distinction) awards. Check out last year's winners and this year's nominees. In 2005, the very first Hawaiian Grammy award was given out. Hawaiian music is really happening on the world-music scene.
My Personal Favorites
Here are some of the CDs that I consider "must haves" in any Hawaiian music collection.
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