Music in the Air
One of the most charming aspects of Hawaii is its music. If Don Ho is your idea of Hawaiian music, forget about it. Hawaiian music has many styles, from ballads and love songs to reggae (known as “Jawaiian”). It's amazing how much wonderful music is made in the islands.
Hawaii is responsible for introducing several musical innovations to the world. The ukulele, for example, is usually associated with the islands, although it is believed to have come to Hawaii by way of Portuguese cowboys. (The name of the instrument means “jumping flea” in Hawaiian.) The steel guitar, now a facet of American country music, was invented in the islands. Of particular note is the “slack key” guitar, which is a special way of tuning and playing the guitar to produce that unique island sound.
One of the best-known Hawaiian songs is the farewell song “Aloha 'Oe,” composed by Queen Lili'uokalani. Of Hawaii's more recent musicians, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (1959–1997) was one of the most popular. For a wonderful example of his work, check out his album, Facing the Future.