Mele (Poetic Language, Songs)


Up until 1820, when the missionaries first arrived, there was no written form of the Hawaiian language. All history, stories of creation, and family genealogy was passed on by means of mele oli (chanting) and mele hula (dance).


Each generation learned and memorized these stories, making the preservation of this knowledge a living art form.

Today's Hawaiian music is the result of many influences: including original Hawaiian chants and mele, European folk songs, himeni (hymns) from the missionaries, the guitar from Mexican paniolo (cowboys), the `ukulele from the Portuguese, big band music, Tahitian and Samoan music, rock and roll, reggae (hence Jawaiian music), and hip hop.

  The Origin of Hula   Israel Kamakawiwo`ole  
  There are three stories about how hula came into being.
The first is that Laka (the God of the Forrest) created hula and that
Hi`iaka (Pele's youngest and favorite sister) and poe (Pele's best friend) were the first to perform it. Pele was the Goddess of Fire.

The second story is that Hi`iaka created the hula in Ha`ena, Kaua`i. And the third is that
Kapo`ulakina`u (another of Pele’s sisters) created the hula in Moloka`i.
  Iz is unquestionably Hawai`i's most famous singer. His crystal clear voice and childlike sense of humor have endeared him to all Hawaiians. And his renditions of Over The Rainbow and What A Wonderful World have earned him a name and respect around the world.
Iz left dis life in June of 1997, but his music will live forever.
     White Sandy Beach


  Hula Kahiko   Slack-Key Guitar  
  This traditional form of hula
began as chanting only, then traditional instruments were added:  including the
ipu (gourd), the pahu (drum) initially used only in sacred hula temples, the ipuheke (a gourd with a head on top), the kā`eke`eke (split bamboo sticks), the pū`ili (bamboo rattle), and the `ohe hano ihu (nose flute).
     Ke`ali`i ipoipo Chant

     No_Kahalawai Chant



  Slack-Key is a translation of kī hō`alu (loosen the key). Slack-key tunings  start with a normally-tuned guitar  "slacking" one or more strings to produce a single chord, often G major.
     Kapono Beamer

     Keola Beamer

     Beamer Brothers

      Cyril Pahinui

     Daniel Ho "Lia"
  Hula `Auna   Contemporary Hawaiian  
  Modern hula includes the addition of the `ukulele, guitar, steel guitar, and bass.



       Henry Kapono

     Jack Johnson

     John Cruz

     Kapena "Kalena Ku"
  Traditional Mele   Jawaiian  
       Brothers Cazimero "Ka`ena"

     Hapa "Haleakala Ku Hanohano"


     Makaha Sons

     Sonny Ching
     BET "Don't Stop"

     iNoA`ole "Take This Raft"

     J Boog "Let's Do It Again"

     O-Shen "Country Boy"

     Opihi Pickers "Beautiful Ladies"
     Opihi Pickers "Old Fashioned Touch"

  Hawaiian Falsetto   Jake Shimabukuro, `Ukulele Virtuoso  
       Aunty Genoa Keawe

     Raiatea Helm "In Tune Performance"


       Official Site

     "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

 "Grand Ukulele"

     "Time After Time"
  For more information and access to music:            

A History of Slack Key


Chants: Mele of Antiquity
Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame

Hawaiian Music Store

History of Hawaiian Music

Hula In Hawai`i

  Neos Productions


Merry Monarch Festival

Mountain Apple Music

`Ukulele Links

Wikipedia: Hula

Wikipedia: Music of Hawai`i
  History  Atlas  Culture Language Links home     photos     baritone ukulele     lucky u live hawai'i