Come for the food. Stay for the music. When it comes to parties, everyone knows music plays a big role in setting the mood. Kick your luau off with live entertainment and professional hula dancers or take it down a notch with subtle Hawaiian melodies played on slack key guitar or ukulele. You could also put together a mix of your favorite island artists or stream live music from popular radio stations in Hawai'i. No matter whatʼs playing, just make sure the beat goes on. Here are a few traditional songs that we recommend for your luau party.
- Taumua Kuo Siumafua
- Bula Laie
- Luau Song
- Hukilau Song
- Pearly Shells
- He Hawaii au, au a ia
- Hawaiian War Chant
- Aloha Oe
Here are other recommended Hawaiian songs for your luau party:
OLDIES BUT GOODIES
The perfect enhancement to any tropical party is selecting a wide variety of luau music and the right luau music will take your luau party to a whole new level and add to the authenticity.
Hula and musical festivities have always been an integral aspect in the luau celebrations. In Old Hawai'i, before the introduction of Western mediums like the guitar or iconic ukulele, Hawaiian luau music consisted mostly of drums and other handmade instruments. A staple in most musical performances was the deep-voiced pahu drum, which got its dark resonance from its shark-skin drumhead. The ipu was a gourd-like drum often accompanying the pahu. The ipu differs from traditional drums because the player either uses a horizontal surface or the palm of their hand to create sound. Hula performers also took part in the musical process with several instruments that were incorporated into their dances. Several rattles were commonly used; the ‘uli’uli—a gourd filled with tiny beads or seeds, and adorned with brightly colored feathers—and the pu’ili—a bamboo rattle that dancers struck upon their shoulders or upon other pu’ili—are probably the most recognized. Dancers also took smooth stones between their fingers and used them in castanet-fashion to create an instrument called ‘ili ‘ili.
While many traditional types of Hawaiian music and the art of hula continue to perpetuate the local culture in the islands, modern Hawaiian luau music has grown into a wide variety of genres. Stringed instruments like the slack key guitar, ukulele, and bass have become popular in modern bands. Singers regularly incorporate English and Hawaiian into their songs, which cover topics from love to a deep appreciation of the land and Hawaiian traditions. The amalgamation of ancient and modern musical instruments and styles is a testament to the ever-evolving culture of the islands. You can find a number of hawaiian luau music cds online or you can create your own playlist of luau music.
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