Monday, April 9, 2012

Hawaiian Music

When I was in Hawaii last week, I listened to a lot of Hawaiian music on the radio and I heard some familiar songs.  A few took me right back to my house in San Diego with my parents cooking tons of food and inviting all the neighbors over.  There was always music in my house growing up...tons of it!  My parents loved Kenny Rogers, the Oak Ridge Boys, Barbra Streisand, and all the Hawaiian music they brought with them when they migrated from Oahu to California.  At that time, we played RECORDS on the giant console stereo.  They loved Genoa Keawe, and Gabby Hayes, and all the old Hawaiian music.  Then one summer, after a trip to Hawaii, my brothers discovered the Cazimero Brothers and Keola and Kapono Beamer.  

Oh, did they play the HECK out of these records!! 

When I was growing up, my parents tried hard to immerse me in the Hawaiian culture...despite the fact that we lived in southern California...and I did my best to resist it.  I didn't love my Hawaiian name.  I didn't love Hawaiian food.  I thought Hawaiian music was about as uncool as you could get.  At that age, what I really wanted was to look like every other girl in middle school, with silky straight blonde hair and blue eyes, and listen to Top 40 music on the radio.  

It wasn't until much later in life (like last week) that I learned to appreciate my cultural heritage and the things that make me different.  My hair is definitely NOT blonde or silky straight, but it's versatile and thick and it stands out in a crowd.  Some of my closest friends still don't know how to pronounce my name, but I'm better about saying it right when I introduce myself.  And I still haven't acquired a taste for poi...yeah, there's no BUT following that one...I just don't like that stuff.   

There's something about Hawaiian music, though, that has secured a place in my heart forever.  And listening to all those old songs from my childhood last week just reminded me of that.  I love the parents who adopted me for trying so hard to pass on the things they loved.  And I love my mom for just living all that stuff in a way that makes it familiar and effortless for me to embrace it.   

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