cultural resources

cultural resources

The Sounds, Sights
& Words of Hawai‘i

Before You Visit Hawaiʻi

I am often asked how to approach Hawai‘i with respect and awareness. The first step is to learn some essential cultural history.

“Hawai‘i and Native Hawaiians – What You May Not Know”, is a thorough, concise, and readable article by Stephanie Launiu that will quickly catch you up on the basics.

Hawaiian Music

Recommended Recordings

Pili’s recommendations for great traditional Hawaiian music. There is a lot of wonderful music available, so this list will continue to grow.

Hawaiian Music Live

Check out the concert calendar at mele.com for performances on the Mainland as well as in Hawai‘i.

Hawaiian Radio Online

AM940 is an O‘ahu station that specializes in the traditional Hawaiian end of the Island Music spectrum. Its sister station, Hawaiian 105 FM, mixes in more of the contemporary styles: island pop, hapa-haole, jawaiian, etc.

Tune in on Sunday mornings, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, for Michael Keene’s Kani Ka Pila show on KVMR radio from Nevada City, California.

Another KVMR veteran, Rich Shipley, offers his own fine online radio station with the very fine name Hawaiian Rainbow, available to you 24 hours every day. Hawaiian Rainbow is also available as a free iPhone application.

There are many other Hawaiian music feeds online, some free, some subscription, some more traditional, some more pop. Ka Mikini Mele Hawai‘i (The Hawaiian Music Machine) has links to a variety of feeds, so check ’em out and see what you like.

Hawaiian Song Lyrics

Huapala has the most extensive collection of lyrics on the web. Note that since the lyrics come from different sources, the spelling and use of diacritical marks (‘okina and kahakō) are not always consistent.

See also the book He Mele Aloha on the Recommended Books page.

Books on Hawaiian Culture

There are hundreds of books that illuminate Hawaiian culture to various degrees. Here is a selection of recommended books for any lover of nā mea Hawai‘i.


Singing in Hawaiian: Frequently Used Words

Pili’s list of 175 common words from Hawaiian songs. Useful not only for singers, but also for hula dancers and curious listeners.

View online or download the printer-ready version (.pdf).

Online Hawaiian Dictionary

A handy online resource, Nā Puke Wehewehe ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i looks at first as if it were designed only for Hawaiian speakers, but click on the “English Text” button at the top of the page, and things will start to look a little more familiar.

Film & Video

Links for a few recommended films on Hawaiian culture that are available in DVD format.

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