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One of the biggest treats of island life is getting to jam out to the tropical beats of Hawaiian music. From Hawaii’s legendary ukulele to the relaxing notes of the slack key guitar, the Hawaiian Islands are a definite hot spot for live music.

Very few other places present such a unique musical background as Hawaii. Comprised of an exclusive blend of native Hawaiian chants, traditional melodies and alternative tempos, local island music has produced notable achievements in the areas of slack key and steel guitar, ukulele, reggae and more. Beginning in the mid 1800’s, visitors from across the world made their way to the Hawaiian Islands bringing with them instruments including the violin, ukulele, guitar, accordion, piano and flute which helped develop Hawaii’s unique sound and musical influences that we know and love today.

A great time to visit Hawaii is during the summer, which is also when Hawaii celebrates Mele Mei, or “May Hawaiian Music Month.” Featuring more than 40 events throughout the Hawaiian Islands, Mele Mei provides both locals and visitors from around the world a chance to immerse themselves in the local music and culture. Just a few of the big name visitors you can catch include Nathan Aweau, Maunalua, Mailani and Ledward Kaapana.

For those looking to tune up their vacation, be sure to visit some of our favorite locations for live Hawaiian music. Trust us, after a visit or two you’ll be shouting “hana hou” (encore) right along with the kamaaina (locals).

Kani Ka Pila Grille: Tucked inside the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort on Oahu, Kani Ka Pila Grille presents a comfortable, outdoor setting for both residents and visitors to enjoy live, local music. Located right next to the hotel’s pool and just steps from the beach, the restaurant offers live music nightly between 6 – 9 p.m. Head on over after a day at the beach to enjoy a cold beer and some pupus (appetizers) along with performances by local favorites such as Weldon Kekauoha and Cyril Pahinui, son of legendary Hawaiian musician Gabby Pahinui.

Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon: A longtime music hub located in Paia is Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon. The award-winning Maui landmark serves as a testament to the island vibes and aloha spirit Hawaiian music has to offer. Stop in to catch some live music performances ranging from traditional slack key to jazz and rock and roll.

Waikiki Beach Walk: It’s just a short walk on over to Waikiki Beach Walk, a popular hub for live entertainment. The shopping and dining destination hosts a free monthly Na Mele No Na Pua concert which is known for featuring headliners the likes of Melveen Leed and Maunalua performing on the last Saturday of each month from 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Huggo’s On The Rocks: Music is always making waves at Huggo’s On The Rocks on Hawaii Island. Located on the beach at Kailua-Kona, this casual classic venue features a weekly lineup of the islands most passionate and talented musicians, singers, and dancers. Live music tunes up every night from 6 – 10 p.m.

House Without a Key at the Halekulani: You’ll feel like you’ve discovered the key to music nirvana at House Without a Key at the Halekulani. This oceanside Oahu oasis has long been a favorite gathering spot to relax over pau hana (after work) appetizers and live entertainment. The venue features live music every night from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. and if you’re lucky, you may just catch a special hula performance set in front of a beautiful Hawaiian sunset.

Special Upcoming Event: Live Hawaiian Music for Mothers Day 
Still trying to plan something special for Mother’s Day? We have just the thing for you. Check out our Mothers Day Brunch in Waikiki on Sunday, May 8th and treat Mom to champagne mimosas, a fabulous brunch, Hula, and Live Hawaiian Music presented by Sean Robbins and Kimo Alama Keaulana and Lei Hulu, featuring Jeff Au Hoy.

A trip to the islands isn’t complete without the sights and sounds of Hawaii. From traditional slack key to contemporary reggae, the aloha spirit lives in the magical melodies of Hawaiian music. As Van Morrison once said, “Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.”