Music of Hawaii

 

Double Lines

From Traditional to Contemporary

The roots of Hawaiian music go back a thousand years and you can still hear echoes in today’s rhythms, percussion instruments, chants, and vocal styles. Traditional music is generally simple in its structure and both reverent and haunting in the way that it’s presented. But today it’s also possible to hear variations of Hawaiian music that are diverse as the islands’ mix of cultures – everything from rock ‘n roll and rap to jazz and a Hawaiian form of reggae known as Jawaiian.

Music Festivals
Every year, Hawaiian music is celebrated in music festivals that celebrate the uniqueness of Hawaii instruments, musicians, and songs.

The Ukulele Festival (July) at Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki honors what many visitors believe to be a hand-me-down from ancient Hawaii, but in reality, the ukulele was brought here by Portuguese immigrants at the end of the 19th century. Today, the uke is still a fundamental part of the musical landscape, not simply on stage but also at family picnics or on the beach.

The Big Island’s Hawaiian Slack Key Festival - Keauhou-Kona style (September) pays tribute to a uniquely local way of playing the guitar – another Hawaiian music staple. Slack key is a “slacked” or loosened tuning or technique that reflects the breezy, flowing quality of both local climate and culture.

To get you started, you’ll find a sampling of Hawaii music festivals, contests, live venues, and more below.

Kauai Arts and Culture
Events:
22nd Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival

Live Music
Musicals & Concerts
Hawaiian Music

Live Venue:
The Kauai Concert Association

Oahu Arts and Culture

Live Music
Musicals & Concerts
Hawaiian Music

Live Venue:
Hawaii Opera Theatre

Molokai Arts and Culture

Music Events

Lanai Arts and Culture

Music Events

 

Maui Arts and Culture
Events: 
Wailuku First Friday

Live Music
Musicals & Concerts

Hawaiian Music

 

Live Music
Musicals & Concerts

Hawaiian Music