Amy K. Stillman

Educator, author, haku mele, GRAMMY Award-winning producer . . .

Aloha kākou. My name is Amy Ku‘uleialoha Stillman. Born & raised in Hawaiʻi, I am a product of the public schools and the University of Hawaiʻi. My Ph.D. degree is from Harvard.

I am on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where I teach courses on American Studies, ethnomusicology, and hula.

My scholarship focuses on the history of performance traditions in Hawaiʻi. (The link takes you to a running list of printed books and articles about Hawaiian music and hula, which are ordered alphabetically by author. Youʻll have to scroll down the list to find me! 🙂  )

I launched the Great Lakes Hula Academy in 2007, to teach masterclass level instruction to hula teachers and advanced dancers.

I serve as Facilitator to Kūlia i ka Pūnāwai (Kumu Hula Association of Southern California), a non-profit organization founded in 1998. We collaborated with Daniel Ho Creations to release three CDs in the series “Legacy Hula.” These recordings feature containing contemporary settings of historical mele drawn from archival sources. All mele were presented onstage in concerts in the Los Angeles area, between 2004 and 2010.

Kalākaua -- 2006

Kalākaua -- 2006

Kapi‘olani -- 2007

Kapi‘olani -- 2007

Lili‘uokalani 2010

In 2006-2007, I collaborated with The Rose Ensemble, a professional vocal ensemble in St. Paul, Minn, on a major program of Hawaiian music. The singers combined their exceptional skills with extensive historical research and rigorous linguistic coaching, to produce a program of unsurpassed beauty. The CD, recorded and released in Sept. 2007, contains 29 tracks that spans the breadth of styles in Hawaiian vocal music.

Na Mele Hawai‘i -- 2007

Na Mele Hawai‘i -- 2007

Most recently I have begun co-writing songs with singer/songwriter Daniel Ho. I write Hawaiian-langauge lyrics, and Daniel writes tunes; on occasion the tunes emerge in late-nite kitchen sessions amidst laughter and Diddy Reese cookies. Our first CD of original compositions–‘Ikena–was recorded by Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho, released in Sept. 2008, and awarded the 2008 GRAMMY Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album. Our second CD–He Nani–also recorded by duo Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho, was released in August 2009, and has just received a GRAMMY nomination!!

'Ikena -- 2008

'Ikena -- 2008

He Nani -- 2009

He Nani -- 2009

Nā ‘Ikena: New Directions in Hawaiian Music is a songbook of music scores for all songs from ‘ikena and He Nani. The volume opens with “Conversations on the Horizon”–mana‘o and candid conversations on our productive partnership, shared musical goals, and reflections on the cultural politics of contemporary Hawaiian music. Each song is accompanied by mo‘olelo–stories about the genesis of the songs, with views into the songwriting process.



Ancient Hula Hawaiian Style Vol. 1

Released in 2010, this compilation brings together the chants recorded on the 49th State, Waikiki and Bell record labels. Chanters include luminaries such as Pua Ha‘aheo, Charles and ‘A‘ana Cash, Lokalia Montgomery, ‘Iolani Luahine, George Nā‘ope, Joe Kahaulelio, Pele Pukui, and Ka‘upena Wong. We owe HanaOla Records and Executive Producer Michael Cord our gratitude for his commitment to making these treasured recordings available once again.

Also released in September 2010 is Tia Carrere’s new solo CD, “Huana Ke Aloha.” This project combines completely original Hawaiian-language lyrics, tunes drawn from classical music masterpieces, and Daniel‘s signature minimalist piano accompaniments. This CD received the 2010 GRAMMY Award for Best Hawaiian Album.

Huana Ke Aloha -- 2010


9 Responses to About

  1. Kaleo Lee says:

    Aloha Amy!

    Congratulations on winning a Grammy for ‘Ikena. That is amazing. All that over cookies? Even better!

    Take care,

  2. Lisa Drew says:

    Aloha, Amy!

    How wonderful to see you blogging and congratulations on the Grammy! I’m so very proud of you and all of your accomplishments. The Rose Ensemble speaks of you often and we miss you.

    Our Hawaiian shows are still greeting with much enthusiasm and it is an honor to be able to continue to present this music across the country and in Europe.

    With warm Aloha and big hugs,

  3. Nathan says:

    I am writing to inform you that Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure has been featured on Guide to Art School’s list of the Best Music Blogs found here: http://www.guidetoartschools.com/tips-and-tools/musician-blogs. We hand-picked a list of our favorite music blogs and outlined the unique reasons why we love them. The depth of your knowledge about past and present Hawaiian music is impressive. Your blog is a valuable resource for both casual listener, scholars studying Hawaiian music, and everyone in between.

    I would really appreciate your feedback on our list of blogs, and we have created a badge that you are welcome to use anywhere on your site to let your readers know you have been recognized. You can find the badge at this URL: http://www.guidetoartschools.com/images/best-music-blogs.gif.

    I hope to hear from you soon.


    Nathan Grimm
    Program Manager – SR Education Group
    Follow me @n8ngrimm
    (425) 605-8898
    123 Lake Street South
    Suite B-1
    Kirkland, WA 98033

  4. Kealani says:

    Aloha Amy,
    I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog, and find it very informative!

    Also, I was wondering if you can help me with some translations? I’m slowly learning ‘olelo Hawaii, and have tried my best to translate something I have written. If you could offer your help, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Mahalo nui loa.

  5. Richard Firsten says:

    Hello, Dr. Stillman. I hope you can help me out. My father, who lived in Honolulu during the 1930s and was a friend of Hilo Hattie’s, left me a small collection of wonderful hapa haole 78’s from that era on the blue Decca label. The records are still in good condition even after all these years. Would you have any idea how much each of these records is worth? I’ve donated them to the Hula Preservation Society in Honolulu, and I’m curious to know how much one 78 would be worth today. The records have such songs as “To You, Sweetheart, Aloha” sung by Bing Crosby, “When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop,” sung by Frances Langford, and Ray Kinney singing “The Cockeyed Mayor of Kaunakakai.” I do hope you can give me some idea of what each of these Decca 78’s might be worth. Thank you for any information you can offer.
    RF in Miami, FL

    • amykstillman says:

      Hello Mr. Firsten,
      The Hula Preservation Society is an extremely worthwhile organization doing very valuable work with kupuna. Mahalo for your support of their efforts.

      We are fortunate in having the online auction site eBay to guide us in such queries as yours. While exact values of records can only be established on inspection of condition, as a general guideline, many dealers are offering 78rpm recordings at $10 each. Rarer records will command more; extremely common records will command less. But $10 is a good benchmark figure to start with.

  6. Richard Firsten says:

    Mahalo nui, Dr. Stillman, for the information you’ve given me about those hapa-haole records. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks again.

  7. Kanani Cadaoas says:

    Aloha Anake Amy,

    I have lived in Vegas for 20+ years and have always admired your work. This year I am looking into the various hula halau in the area to make a CD, just like the Kapiolani, Kalakaua, and Liliuokalani. We have such prominent na kumu hula, Sheldeen Haleamau, Kahiki Akana, Auntie Gerri Santos a student of Joan Lindsey, Vincent Souza grandson of Pauline Kekahuna. I am requesting grants findings from Folklife traditions and I will reach out to OHA for a grant that will bring our people together.

    As busy as you are would you consider assisting us on this project.

    Anxiously awaiting for your reply.

    Kanani Cadaoas

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