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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.