Whenever I travel to new places, I try to get a sense of the culture through things such as art, food, and music. On my first trip to Hawaii back in 1994, I became captivated by Hawaiian music, which seemed to be experiencing a Renaissance in popularity as a number of young and talented artists explored traditional Hawaiian music and energized it with a contemporary feel.
Among my earliest favorites were the half-Hawaiian, half-Caucasian duo Hapa, with their amazing guitar work and soaring harmonies, Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom, a half-Hawaiian, half-Scottish singer/songwriter with a truly amazing voice, and the legendary Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, whose angelic voice is probably best know for his gorgeous cover version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World.
In 2013 I worked with producer Leona George-Davidson, a senior at Dominican University of California, to create a showcase of Hawaiian music for the university’s online radio station, Penguin Radio. I called the show, Catchin’ a Wave, and in my role as DJ “Maka” (Hawaiian for Matt), I introduced listeners to the soothing sounds of the islands each week in 10 regular installments of the show, plus a special Christmas episode. As winter sets in and the stress of work or the holidays creeps in, have a listen to Catchin’ a Wave and get transported to a far-off paradise.
Enjoy all the installments of Catchin’ a Wave here:
Episode 1: Aloha!
Episode 2: Beyond the Reef
Episode 3: Over the Rainbow
Episode 4: The Music of Amy Hanaiali’i
Episode 5: Pride
Episode 6: Nostalgia
Episode 7: Tahitian Rhythms
Episode 8: The Music of Hapa
Episode 9: Ulalena
Episode 10: Aloha ‘Oe
Christmas Episode: Mele Kalikimaka