Contemporary music

Hawaiian traditional music is generally accompanied by instruments created from natural materials such as pahu (membrane), pu`ili (bamboo), ipu (gourd), `ili`ili (stones), and `uli `uli (gourds that are filled with shells and seeds, and decorated with feathers).



ipu: (0'47")

`li`ili: see attached file

`uli`uli: From this video: (0'15")

can we use this?:


O`o bird:



Brent, I cannot find this paragraph, : ( Contemporary Western-influenced Hawaiian music is categorized as post-European auana music. Thus, even some of the contemporary music is accompanied by these instruments. Its content is not restricted to kahiko, sacred music, because it is considered auana, which also includes music performed in Christian churches.


Hawaiian communities typically compose their own contemporary music, most commonly in the state of Hawai`i. Some of it is sung in Hawaiian or hapa haole—part English, part Hawaiian. These songs are accompanied by the traditional instruments previously noted, or contemporary instruments the Europeans introduced such as `ukulele, guitar, bass, and piano.


Hapa haole:\


Can we use this picture:


I didn't include this: One topic of interest describes Hawaiian music relative to politics. Politicians traveled around the islands giving speeches, performing music in order to get votes. When native politician Jacob Maka ran for representative, he composed songs and performed them to different ethnic groups in different languages, which earned him the acceptance and support of the people.


The majority of Hawaiian contemporary music content features either people or nature. One famous contemporary composer was Queen Lili`uokalani, who attended the Royal School in Honolulu during the mid-19th century. The Royal School was created for the children of ali`i. Its curriculum was based on formal English education, and music training was based on Western teaching methods.


Queen Lili`uokalani was a renowned poet whose inspiration came directly from her passion for Hawaiian culture and people. Her rich background in music enabled her to combine Hawaiian traditional with Western music. She composed and documented chants, hula, romantic, patriotic, and inspirational music, as well as hymns. She composed Aloha `Oe, the first published Hawaiian song and one commonly associated with Hawaii.


Keiki music

I didn't include this: There is very little written information about Hawaiian children’s songs in articles, journals, or books. As for the repertoire in general, folk- and contemporary-influenced music can be found, but traditional Hawaiian music is almost nonexistent. This is mainly because mele and hula were not documented and notated, and a number of materials was lost when Hawaiian culture was oppressed for more than a hundred years.


So little traditional music has been preserved that childhood music educators in Hawai`i must rely on contemporary Western-influenced Hawaiian keiki songs. Finding appropriate and reliable resources for Hawaiian children’s music is challenging.


Even composed songs have variations, and the song collections might not be true to the original because the collectors themselves may have relied on aural transmission of the material. Thus, different performers present the same piece in different ways. One example is Hawai`i Aloha. Even though it is one of the most commonly performed songs, it varies greatly from one singer or group to another.




Only experts in this culture, for example the kumu and kupuna, are able to interpret and deliver repertoire in genuine ways, and it is not surprising to hear and see variations in one hula. Thus, even though contemporary music is notated, it evolves and changes over time. Notated music can help the public remember songs, but it cannot prevent the process of transformation.


After more than 80 years, present day Hawaiian musicians still do not stick to what is written on the page. Instead, they continue to perform according to their own styles. This includes improvising on ipu, steel guitar, and slack guitar.


When choosing materials for young children in Hawai`i, contemporary children’s music is the most appropriate and is more readily available. On the other hand, Hawaiians believe ancient music should be taught by the kumu because only they have the skills and expertise. Without accurate interpretation and teaching methods, we cannot transmit the songs accurately to students.


The best approach is to introduce ancient music to children is through history and Hawaiian culture. In other words, use the music to teach Hawaiian values, where music and values are interrelated. Hawaiians believe ancient music should be taught by the kumu because only they have the skills and expertise. Without accurate interpretation and teaching methods, we cannot transmit the songs accurately.


Regardless of the challenges inherent in introducing Hawaiian music, language, and culture into the public school system in the state of Hawai`i, it is important to have an open mind, and to collaborate to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to learn Hawaiian culture and music.


As our discovery of the richness of the Hawaiian culture deepens, the words of the past as reflected in this sage proverb noted by kupuna Mary Kawena Pukui’, continue to guide and inspire us: “E lauhoe mai na wa'a; i ke ka, i ka hoe; i ka hoe, i ke ka; pae aku i ka 'aina.” (“Everybody paddle the canoes together; bail and paddle, paddle and bail, and the shore will be reached.”) If everyone works together, work is done.