A Hawaiian Christmas - Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - November 09, 2007
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The 411

A Hawaiian Christmas
A Hawaiian Christmas

Just months after sweeping the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards with Album of the Year, Hawaiian Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year, Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom is releasing her first-ever Christmas album, A Hawaiian Christmas.

That’s one more category for her to conquer at next year’s award ceremony.

“This album is a mixture on all the styles of music that I hold dear to my heart,” says Gilliom. “The album has a very organic feel to it. Some of the songs are how I picture a Hawaiian church song to be like back in the old days with just ukulele. I chose some hymnals that I grew up with on Maui that are Christmas classics done in Hawaiian.”

The two-time Grammy-nominated artist has a collection of 14 songs on this album, many of which are childhood favorites. The album is a personal celebration of her musical memories of the holiday season, a time Gilliom says is her “favorite time of the year.”

“My inspiration for this album came from a very special time when I was a little girl, and my `ohana went to a very special church called Kupaianaha in Wailuku, Maui,” says Gilliom, mother of 18-month-old Madeline. “All the kupuna, aunties and uncles spoke Hawaiian and sang in Hawaiian. The hymns on this album are from that church.”

The album, which is Gilliom’s eighth full-length album, represents another chapter in her life - womanhood, being a mother and the passing of a kupuna. Tracks include: Hanau E Na Kanaka, Betelehema Iki E, Po La’i E (Silent Night), Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Pomaika’i Wale Ko Ke Ao, Ho’onani Kakou Ia Ia, Ka Po La’ela’e Ka Hikina Mai, Little Drummer Boy/Do You Hear What I Hear?, Po Hemolele (O Holy Night), White Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, Mary Did You Know?, Ke Akua Mana E and Ave Maria.

For the live version, catch Gilliom at one of her Christmas performances scheduled Nov. 24 at Kahala Mall at 2 p.m. and Windward Mall at 7 p.m. For more information about the album or other upcoming performances, visit www.amyhanaialiigilliom.com


Tuning In

Keali'i Reichel Kukahi DVD
Keali’i Reichel Kukahi DVD

Keali’i Reichel Kukahi DVD

Keali’i Reichel has taken his passion for music and hula to a level of high definition - HD DVD, that is.

The recently released (Nov. 6) project, Kukahi, is an hour and 43 minutes of traditional and contemporary song and dance, including a heart-felt segment honoring Uncle George Holokai and a retrospective on Reichel’s extraordinary career as a musician and a kumu hula.

“The inspiration (for this DVD) came from our annual Kukahi concerts,“says Reichel.“Every year we try to put together a night of kahiko (ancient hula) and `auana (modern hula) and present it in the best way possible. We realized with the February ‘06 concert on Maui that we liked this particular show. So we made plans to take the concert to the Blaisdell and bring 60 members of our halau, and the idea was presented to film the concert for a DVD release.”

The DVD features 26 songs and chants accompanied by powerful kahiko and ‘auana performances by Reichel’s halau, Halau Ke’alaokamaile.

Keali'i Reichel
Keali’i Reichel

“We were able to utilize the latest digital technology at hand and melded it within the scope and context of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian performances,” says Reichel. “We hope that through this contribution we do our part to place Hawaiian music comfortably on the global stage.”

Directed by Dennis Mahaffray, this DVD project involved many hands, which Reichel says makes this creation just as much theirs as it is his. Everyone from editors, subtitle and menu creators to camera operators to lighting and sound techs were called in to make this effort possible.

“My role was to stay focused on Kukahi and let the experts plan the DVD filming and sound recording around the show,” says Reichel.


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