Ho`olohe Hou Ho Ho

There is something utterly fascinating about the combination of Hawaiian music and the music of Christmas. The holiday conjures up thoughts of cold and frost and images of snow-covered coniferous trees, but while the missionaries imported a few Norfolk pines to Hawai`i, they did not bring along the frozen precipitation from Boston. So when Hawaiians sing of a “White Christmas,” if they truly desire to have one, they had better hop a jet for the mainland.

Webley Edwards once joked, “Let our folks sing ‘Aloha `Oe’ or ‘Havah Nagilah’ or ‘Jingle Bells’ and it comes out Hawaiian.” And he may have a point. As I wrote here earlier, how to achieve the Hawaiian “sound” or “feel” may not be entirely teachable. You may need to be born with it (or into it). So when we listen to holiday music from Hawai`i, it takes on a decidedly tropical feel – as if it could melt all of the snow from our frozen hearts. And some of us desire this. Others of us just long to be closer to the islands at a time of the year that conjures up thoughts of friends and family, and if our family is 5,000 miles away in Kane`ohe or Hilo or Lihue or Makawao, this music keeps them a little closer to our hearts.

I thought it would be interesting to look at a history of Christmas music from Hawai`i by rummaging through the archives at Ho`olohe Hou and ranking (using my own criteria, mahalo) the 25 Greatest Christmas Albums from Hawai`i and featuring one per day from December 1st through Christmas morning – a sort of Advent calendar of Hawaiian music. And I hope you will come along for the sleigh ride! By examining more than 50 years of holiday music from Hawai`i, we also have an interesting opportunity to hear the evolution of Hawaiian music – five decades in only 25 days.

And along the way I will throw out a few “bonus” tracks – holiday songs of note but which may have appeared on an album not wholly worthy of inclusion on the list of the 25 Greatest Christmas Albums from Hawai`i (or which may have appeared on an album that is not holiday-themed at all).

Come celebrate the holidays with me at Ho`olohe Hou!

From my house to yours, here’s wishing your family the best and brightest of seasons and peace, love, and joy throughout the year… Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!

Bill Wynne 


Category:Announcements -- posted at: 8:03am EST