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U.S. Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Honolulu, Hawaii Music Scene

Hawaii rules as one of America's top tourist attractions and is universally loved for its beaches and palm trees. On the island of Oahu, the metropolitan area of Honolulu is home to nearly a million people, according to the 2011 Census. The big campuses are Hawaii Pacific University and University of Hawaii at Manoa. The history of the Honolulu music scene has included Yvonne Elliman, Hiroshima, Bruno Mars and Tia Carrera. The local music scene is covered by The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Honolulu Magazine.

Amber Ricci * biorhythm * Chandra Krown * Cheryl Bartlett * Conscious Roots * Dan Freedman * Devisatix * Evasive Species * Geebz * Go Jimmy Go * Holly Cone * Intire Project * James Cambe * Jason Mitchell * Jeff Peterson * Jimmy Weeks Project * Kalae * Kane Yoshida * Kapala * Keahi * Keith Scott * Kenneth Makuakane * Kolohe Kai * Kristen Nakasone * Makana * Mano Kane * Maris Moon * Mary's Meltdown * Moonlight Kiss * Natural Vibrations * Nico Canada * Paul Shimomoto * RazorBlade Mafia * Richie Pratt * Southside Burn * Stephen Inglis and Shawn Livingston Moseley * Taimane * Tahiti Rey * Tea Leaf * Tick and Tweek * von Baron * Zack Myah * Zaysha *

Local Honolulu Music Scene History

In 2020 Hawaiian Express Records celebrated 25 years in serving the local music scene by releasing a compilation CD and streaming album called 25 Songs from 25 Years. The label was founded by Jason Miller in 1995 to support Hawaii's underground rock artists.

Hawaiian music revivalist Peter Moon died at the age of 73 on February 17, 2018. He formed his own label called Kanikapila Records in 1982 and performed in public through 2005. Moon, who played ukulele and slack-key guitar, started recording for various artists in the late sixties. The Peter Moon Band released over a few dozen albums from 1979 through 2005. Moon was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

The Hawai'i Symphony Orchestra presented its "Ocean Dreams" concert, a celebrating the power of the ocean, on April 1, 2017. The show premiered the symphonic fusion of music and environmentalism called Kumulipo Reflections work of Anders Paulsson featuring vocalist Aaron D. Mahi. The orchestra has been together since 2011 and did its first public performance the following year. It serves as a continuation of the spirit of the Honolulu Symphony, which began in 1900 and stayed active for over a century. The orchestra features 84 classical musicians.

Hawaiian music is usually thought of around the world as tropical music with steel guitar. Part of that sound actually played into the development of country music in the United States. The steel guitar, which became prominent in 20th century country music, originally came from Hawaii in the late 19th century, whereas the musical genre known as slack key guitar was imported from Europeans. The steel guitar, unlike more common guitars, was designed to play horizontally with a piece of metal called a slide, which gave the instrument a sustained bending sound. Well known music festivals in Hawaii include Big Island Slack Key Festival, Steel Guitar Association Festival and Slack Key Festival. is a website that features links to the local music of Honolulu. Some of the artists featured on the site include Painted Highways, Magaphone, The Behaviorists, Welwing, Spaceship Aloha, The Rodgers Family Legacy, Rock Gods of Oahu and The Throwdowns. Blogs on the site go back to July 2010.

The ukelele has been growing in popularity in recent years. It was born in Hawaii in the 19th century as an offshoot of the Portugese instrument, the machete. Both instruments evolved as small stringed instruments with four strings. The ukelele was developed in the 1880s by Portugese immigrants in Hawaii. Many people call it "the happy instrument" because of its bright upbeat sound. The four different types of ukes are soprano, concert, tenor and baritone.

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