Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Road Trip Music: Hawaii

Destination for this part of the great American road trip is Hawaii. As so many American states are. Hawaii is both a crossroads and a a place where music connected to the landscape flourishes.

Slack key guitar, steel guitar, and ‘ukulele are three instruments which, along with the sounds of chant and the the singing voice, help define the sounds of Hawaii. For the guitar part of things, a good sound track is from the island’s recent musical history, a collection of vintage popular island music from two guitar masters. It’s known just by their names Hawaii's Keola & Kapono Beamer

To learn more about the history of the ‘ukulele in the islands -- and it’s not what you might think -- I’ll point you to this history from Brad Bordessa. Explore his site Live ‘Ukulele while you are there: he has interviews with top players and lots of information on how to play the uke, too.

Israel Kamakawiwo'ole made his mark on the music of the islands too, often refitting popular songs from other styles to a distinctive island sound. Del Suggs, a musician you met back when the road trip was in Florida, offers a bit of the style of Iz, as Kamakawiwo`ole is known for short, in this video.

you may also wish to see
a place to keep up with Celtic music in Hawaii -- yes, there is Irish music in Hawaii, too.
Music Road: Road Trip Music in Louisiana
Music Road: Scotland & Cape Breton: tradition and innovation

This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I originally partnered up with A Traveler’s Library to add musical ideas to the book and film suggestions for journeys through the regions of the United States which you’d find there. The Library is closed now, but I think you will still find the journeys through music interesting.
For more about the road trip (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins

UpTake Travel Gem

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Anjuli said...

It is true that one can't hear the Ukulele without thinking of Hawaii. Somehow they seem to just go hand in hand.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous NoPotCooking said...

Israel's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is one of my favorites!

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Jane Boursaw said...

I love the partnership of Celtic music and Hawaii. I'm probably in the minority, but ever since I heard Israel's 'Over the Rainbow' at a couple of back to back funerals, I associate it with funerals -- which makes me sad whenever I hear it! Even though it is a really cool song.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Vera Marie Badertscher said...

Only you, Kerry, could find Celtic music in Hawaii. Well, I guess that is not true, since apparently a LOT of people have found it. Lovely post to end our road trip with. But this certainly doesn't end our partnership. I'll be calling on you to provide sound tracks for more places we go at A Traveler's Library. Bye for now, as the Road Trip ends.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

I just heard Israel's somewhere over the rainbow on Pandora. I loved it.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Congratulations on making it to the end of the road (trip)! And what a happy place to finish - ukelele music always makes me smile.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous sarah henry said...

the ukulele is such a great-sounding instrument and fun for kids too.

love how you vera marie teamed up on road trip tales. makes me want to take a road trip myself.

8:23 AM  

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