Mele Mei: Celebrating Hawaii’s Music in May

Mele in Hawaiian means “song or chant” and since ancient times, has been a way for Hawaiians to tell stories of their origin or to give thanks for all the world’s natural wonders. Today, we celebrate Hawaiian music and dance with festivals like the Merrie Monarch and a Hawaiian music awards program that recognizes local entertainers.

Manoa DNA performs at last year’s Mele Mei.

But an entire month of Hawaiian music? That’s almost unheard of, until last year when the state launched “Mele Mei.” From now on, the month of Mei (May) will be dedicated to increasing awareness throughout the world with daily music workshops and live performances.

The festivities will take place at landmark venues throughout Waikiki, so if you’re staying on Oahu be sure to check out one of the events. There will be several larger musical events, which will be a great opportunity to see some of Hawaii’s most distinguished musicians. These include the “Na Hoku Hanohano All-Stars” (April 27, 2012), “The Next Generation” (May 8, 2012), “Na Wahine Hanohano” (May 24, 2012) and “35th Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Music Awards” (May 27, 2012).

And if you want to take part in the state’s second attempt at breaking the world record of largest ukulele ensemble, then head to the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena on April 28, 2012. You don’t have to be an expert or even know how to play! Just pick up a uke at any ABC Store in Waikiki and jam with uke master Jake Shimabukuro. What better way to celebrate Mele Mei than to become part of the music, itself!

Photo Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority

MELE MEI 2012 • For a list of events, visit

Posted by: Bruce Fisher