New Book: Music Legends on Maui

Music Legends on Maui: Conversations with Icons of Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues, Hawaiian, Soul & Reggae in Paradise, by Jon Woodhouse (Maui: Arkadia Maui, 2022)

Here is the blurb:

Compiling more than 80 interviews conducted over four decades, Music Legends on Maui presents intriguing profiles of many icons, from Willie Nelson, Prince, and Paul Simon, to B.B. King, Herbie Hancock, and Joan Baez, with unique insights into their creative and spiritual paths.
Here are innovative trailblazers, prophets, revolutionaries, and influential artists who have shaped the course of music into the 21st century, many referencing how the Hawaiian islands impacted them.

Arranged in genre chapters, it opens with a “Maui No Ka Oi” section devoted to acclaimed artists who live or lived on Maui. Other sections include “Troubadours,” “California Dreaming,” “Take Me to the River,” “Mele o Hawai‘i,” “Sundown in Nashville,” “Rock & Roll Music,” “Round Midnight,” “Why I Sing the Blues,” and “Reggae Got Soul,” plus an extensive bibliography and photos.

Offering a unique social/cultural history, it covers civil rights, segregation, environmental movements, Hawaiian sovereignty, and the power of music to inspire and raise consciousness. Harry Belafonte confronting the KKK, Carl Perkins defending the “Devil’s rock” music, Joan Baez at the March on Washington, John Lennon protesting censorship, Hugh Masekela and apartheid, Willie Nelson championing small farmers, Bonnie Raitt at Standing Rock, and the impact of TM on the Beatles, the Beach Boys and The Doors.

Jon Woodhouse has covered entertainment for The Maui News since 1983.

For Hawaiian music fans, Ch. 6 “Mele o Hawaiʻi” includes the following musicians:

  • Eddie Kamae
  • Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwoʻole
  • Henry Kapono
  • Keola Beamer
  • Kealiʻi Reichel
  • Willie K
  • Amy Hanaialiʻi
  • Kalani Peʻa
  • Radiate Helm
  • Jake Shimabukuro
  • Paula Fuga
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Acquired: Kanui & Lula (Grass Skirt Records)

Happy July, Dear Readers! I was so delighted when my order of “Kanui & Lula” arrived. This is the latest in the series of early Hawaiian recordings produced by Les Cook on his Grass Skirt Records. It exceeds his prior CD productions, delivering a generously illustrated 58-page book of biographies, and newly remastered recordings originally issued on European record labels in the 1920s and 1930s. An important portal onto Hawaiian musicʻs global circulation!

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Sighted: Prince Jonah Kuhiō Kalanianaʻole (Mele Hoʻopulapula Vol. 1)

Okay folks, here is another conceptual collection: songs about Prince Kuhiō, with particular emphasis on Hawaiian Homes location. Artists include Del Beazley, Mamu Boyd, Hailama Farden, Raiatea Helm, Kihei Nalahe-a, Jonah Kahanuola Solatorio.

The physical CD includes a beautiful booklet with all lyrics, translations, and credits of authorship and artistry.

The inside of the package names Zachary Lum as executive producer, and the back cover includes a stellar collection of logos of sponsoring organizations. It is very much worth your while to visit the website of the producing non-profit organization Kāhuli Leo Leʻa at to learn more about the visionary cultural work being carried out.

Folks – support Hawaiian creativity & industry. Purchase a physical CD … if you can find one on sale …

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Sighted: Keāiwaokulamanu by The Tuahine Troupe

Imagine my surprise and pleasure, after roaming around Honolulu for two weeks, and hitting the usual haunts — Hungry Ear Records, Ideas, Barnes & Noble, and finding almost nothing new. Then walking into Aloha Hula Supply and wow: a new CD.

The Tuahine Troupe is an ensemble led by Kumu Hula and Dr. R. Keawe Lopes, a Hawaiian-language instructor at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Group members are students who have passed through his courses on mele.

The liner notes are beyond wonderful. In addition to lyrics, translations, and stories, there are even four scores for mele composed by members. And get this: everything printed is entirely in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. The only English is the “The” in “The Tuahine Troupe.” How radical is that?

So I have the CD, but no CD player. Lucky for us, the music is on Spotify and iTunes. But please support this endeavor by ordering a physical copy in order to get the liner notes!! Go to for details.

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Aloha . . . ke huli hoʻi nei . . .

Howit. Years have passed but my passion for Hawaiian music has not waned.

But in the meantime, galactic changes in the world . . . a pandemic . . . Recalibrating anything and everything!! Including wanting to resurrect “Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure” from silence.

After 2-1/2 years of sheltering at home in place, I have returned to Honolulu for my first visit. Things have changed, to be sure. But the enduring ʻāina remains. From the mountains to the ocean, as the song goes. The lāhui continues to progress. It is good to put feet and spirit onto the pae ʻāina once again, and reconnect with ʻohana and hoa.

Mahalo ke Akua for Zoom!! Dear Readers, it has been a blessing as well as a lifeline to enjoy new opportunities to be connected. Support local musicians via online tip jars! Partake of lectures, panel discussions and new learning opportunities for unparalled intellectual input. Ua ʻī ka puʻuwai na ke aloha!

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Nā Palapalai CDs in 2020

Two new CDs from Nā Palapalai, presenting two collections of favorite standards — sing along! — and popular hula tunes .

Streaming only; available in iTunes Store and Amazon.

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New CD: Kahekeonāpua by Kamaka Kukona

Kamaka Kukonaʻs third CD is here:  Kahekeonāpua. The greatest of flowers. Itʻs a great listen. I can hardly wait for my hard copy to arrive — I need the liner notes to answer many questions.



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New CDs in Hawaiian Music

Dear Readers,

Artists are still making and recording music, but largely without the benefit of record labels, distribution, and retail sales outlets. So I shall be tracking new CD releases as I learn about them–mainly through social media.

Faith Ako, Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha

Faithʻs fourth release offers an eclectic array of old classics, new originals and music to hula by. One of the sweetest voices (and people) in music today.

Release parties were cancelled due to the coronavirus situation. Do reach out to Faith and support her music!

Faith Thompson Ako 2020


Kalani Pescaia, Kuʻu Huakaʻi

Maui native Kaulike Pescaia presents his debut release with ten original compositions and a pure falsetto voice that earned him first place in the 2018 Richard Hoʻopiʻi Falsetto Contest. Great production, beautiful Hawaiian language and a heartfelt delivery make this a winner.



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Happy Holidays 2019 !!

Dear Readers,

I am struck by the direction of new CD releases toward themed projects with multi-artist collaborations. Here is a gathering of the notables that I highly recommend supporting. I urge you all to consider supporting with $$ as well as with enthusiasm. In these times of great transformation in the recording industry, we fans must do what we can to convey to artists that what they are doing is worthwhile and meaningful.

Therefore, by way of a “2019 Gift List”, my recommendation is to support our artists and their tremendous effort to keep Hawaiian music going! Please, if you are a Spotify or Pandora or Apple Music or Amazon Music customer, play clicks do generate revenue. More so, please consider going to iTunes or or CDBaby and paying for downloads–in one instance, “Kuhaʻo Maunakea” is available ONLY as a download! Or go to our favorite indie retailers–Hawaiian Music Island or Me Ke Aloha and support both artists and retailers!!

And here they are:


1. HAWAIIAN LULLABY. A project by the Haku Collective–a group of artists closely affiliated with Mana Maoli and its Mana Mele Project. Nominated for a GRAMMY award in the “Best Regional Roots Music Album” category, this collection of songs for keiki and adults features oldies but goodies like “Pūpū Hinuhinu” and “ʻOpae Ē”; songs by favorite artists like Kalani Peʻa, Josh Tatofi, Paula Fuga, and The Green; and newer songs like “Aloha Kakahiaka” and “Songbird.” You can even download the beautifully designed Digital Booklet.



A remarkable project to channel the outpouring of new mele in support of the Kū Kiaʻi Maunakea movement. Produced under the auspices of Kanaeokana, producers Chad Takatsugi, Zach Lum and Shawn Pimental brought leading haku mele composers into the studio to record their new mele. The litany of award-winning haku mele: Del Beazley, Ikaika Blackburn, Manu Boyd, J.J. Kaimana Chock, Kalena DeLima, Kainani Kahaunaele, Kawika Kahiapo, Lehua Kalima, Manaiakalani Kalua, Kamalei Kawaʻa, Keawe Lopes, Zachary Alakaʻi Lum, Kanaiʻa Nakamura, Kālaʻe Parish, Kaulike Pescaia, Ānuenue Punua, Chad Takatsugi, Josh Tatofi, Hinaleimoana Wong, and Tiana Kuni Yoshida. The liner notes connects this activity with a longer history of poetic expression of aloha ʻāina in mele lāhui. Available only digitally (download on iTunes or Amazon, or listen at Apple Music or Spotify), the digital booklet with credits and lyrics is available at Kanaeokanaʻs site. Proceeds go directly to the organization HULI (Hawaiʻi Unity and Liberation Institute) in support of the Puʻuhonua at Mauna a Wākea.



Launched at a gala concert held at Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theater on November 3, 2019, this project brings together Maui entertainers with old and new mele wahi pana that celebrate West Maui. An article at provides background to the project. The CD (reportedly the first of two) includes 12 songs by 12 artists; the accompanying songbook includes 83 songs. Although you can listen to the album at streaming sites such as Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music, youʻll have to purchase the hard-copy CD to receive the liner notes. The songbook, edited by brothers Zachary Alakaʻi Lum and Nicholas Kealiʻi Lum, and published by the North Beach – West Maui Benefit Fund, Inc. will be available through Kamehameha Publishing. Proceeds will benefit the Nā Leo Kālele Hawaiian-language immersion program in West Maui.

This is one of the most significant publications to appear (at least since the Queenʻs Songbook in 1999), so look for manaʻo and commentary in greater length in a future post.


4. Liliʻuokalani, E LEI HOʻI, E LILIʻULANI Ē: Music for and by the Queen.

Speaking of the Queenʻs Songbook, here is the long-awaited project, sponsored by the Liliʻuokalani Trust, to bring a selection of the Queenʻs songs to life. Producer Louis “Moon” Kauakahi and assistant project director Eric Lee marshaled a star-studded lineup of ten featured artists on eighteen tracks. You can listen to the songs AND download the booklet at the Liliʻuokalani Trust website. But again, please support projects such as this by purchasing the hard-copy CD. I got my copy from

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Ke huli hoʻi nei

Dear Readers — Itʻs been over a year since my last post here. A lot has happened since. But among other things, I think itʻs time to resume thinking out loud about my greatest passion — Hawaiian music and hula. The music industry continues to fracture globally, as artists find their way in a social media and streaming landscape that made physical product virtually obsolete. Hawaiian artists continue to produce products, but finding them . . . is a challenge. Wonderful books have been published in recent years, which have not yet been duly noted and celebrated here at Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure. More video treasures turn up on YouTube and Vimeo and other platforms. We live in a time when we are in contact as never before. Our Facebook- and Twitter-saturated lives lets us watch our favorite artists encounter each other in Japan, or see hōʻike videos from friends & family in Indianapolis.

Within the next week I will post a 2019 gift list for Hawaiian music fans. Show your love and support your favorite artists!! Then drop by for conversation from time to time . . . Aloha, Amy K.

Previews: thoughts on the remarkable project “Lei Nāhonoapiʻilani” … 2020 Grammy nominees … multi-artist projects … a new focus called “sighted on eBay” … Hawaiian music channels (Headʻs up — theyʻre not all in Hawaiʻi) … stay tuned!

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