"Aloha to the Holidays" Playlist for 2021


Hawaiian Music Holiday Playlist

Welcome to our "Aloha to the Holidays" Spotify Playlist

This curated list of feel-good holiday tracks showcases music from our favorite Hawaiian artists that are part of the Outrigger family—from playing at our Kani Ka Pila Grille or the world-famous "Duke's on Sundays," to bringing the music to your living room in our Facebook Live Music Jam. Each Aloha to the Holidays song will bring a touch of "Christmas on the islands" and serve as the perfect soundtrack as you trim your tree, shop for gifts or whip up your favorite tapioca-pudding recipe. Happy Holidays!

1. “Little Drummer Boy” by Benjamin Kaili

“I was asked to do a Christmas slack-key compilation CD with other artists. It was a fun project, and I always love the little drummer boy song. I like listening to Bing Crosby Christmas songs," Benjamin Kaili says of his inspiration for recording this favorite for 2020. 

A self-taught slack-key guitarist and singer who was once nominated for the Na Hoku Hanohano Award, Kaili has performed his traditional Hawaiian hits in front of live audiences in California and Las Vegas. His slack-key-style “Little Drummer Boy” is a soulful holiday favorite for many.

2. “Holiday Imu” by Sean Na’auao

Crowned the Island Contemporary Album of the Year at the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, "Fish and Poi" is the album that jettisoned Sean Na’auao to fame. This year, he's whipped up something for the holidays with the release of a holiday single called "Holiday Imu" that is already on everybody's lips. Na’auao's exceptional vocal ability will put you in a holiday mood as you relax by an open fire.

3. “Silent Night (Po La'ie)” by Nathan Nahinu

Nathan Nahinu is no stranger to the Outrigger family. A founding member of Ka Hehena, Nahinu performs with the band frequently at Kani Ka Pila Grille at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. For the holiday season, Nahinu has settled on a moody classic that he feels is exactly what's needed to soothe souls during a pandemic. Amy Hanaiali's version of "Silent Night" here in our playlist brings to life the timeless lyrics of Joseph Mohr's classic against the soothing strings of a ukulele.

4. “What Child Is This” by Kawika Kahiapo

Starting slow and moody before expanding into a string-filled anthem, Kawika Kahiapo's version of “What Child Is This” is essential listening when decorating your tree in 2020. Raised on the windward side of O`ahu, Kahiapo has been recording since 1996. In 2007, he was named the Na Hoku Hanohano Slack Key Artist of the Year. You can also catch him weekly, performing live on our Facebook page.

5. “Mele Kalikimaka” by Christafari (Featuring Kapena)

Mele Kalikimaka, which literally means "Merry Christmas" in Hawaiian, is the thing to say for the holiday season.  It is also the most popular Hawaiian Christmas song of all time. Just TRY not to dance along as you hear Christafari's cover of the most popular Hawaiian Christmas song of all time. Formed in 1989, Christafari is one of the most celebrated musical acts to ever come out of Hawaii., continuing to "wow" listeners for more than 30 years, and this recording features another legendary group, Kapena, who are favorite performers at the Kani Ka Pila Grille.

6. "Blue Christmas” by Robi Kahakalau

Anyone who has spent time hanging around Duke’s Waikiki at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort or Kani Ka Pila Grille has probably caught a high-energy live show by Robi Kahakalau. In her cover of this Elvis hit, Kahakalau sings lovelorn lyrics while strumming her guitar. Anyone who is a fan of "Blue Christmas" needs to hear this excellent modern cover.

7. “Auld Lang Syne” by Cyril Pahinui and Bob Brozman

The late legend Cyril Pahinui and Bob Brozman bring island-style string work to a folksy favorite. Written as a Scottish-language poem by Robert Burns in 1788, “Auld Lang Syne” is now the quintessential New Year's Eve song. It the perfect song for ringing in this New Year. 

8. “Where’s the Snow” by Christian Yrizarry’s Ho’onu’a

“Where’s the Snow” brings a jam-band vibe that will make you want to spend Christmas perched next to a tiki bar. It can be hard to believe that more than 20 years have passed since Ho'onu'a put out their very first full-length album in 1998. This snowy hit is sure to make your holidays a little more energized, especially if you're a fan of past Ho’onu’a hits like "Blue Light" and "Have a Good Time."

9. “Merry Christmas to You” by Henry Kapono

Henry Kapono is a celebrated Hawaiian vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and composer who requires no introduction. This holiday season, he is making appearances at "Duke's on Sundays" at Outrigger Waikīkī Beach Resort. The sweetest song on our playlist, “Merry Christmas to You” by Henry Kapono is a mele you'll want to share with friends. 

A Couple More Songs to Make Your Holidays Bright

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “The Song of Christmas” by Horace Dudiot

A three-time Grammy nominee with multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards to his name, Horace Dudiot brings a swing-inspired vibe to his rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” with a little help from classic Hawaiian band Ho’okena for 2020. As Horace said, “'Itʻs the Most Wonderful Time of the Year 'is a holiday classic that is normally done in a 3/4 time tempo, but I wanted to make it feel more like a swing type of a song that everyone sings along to, and this is what we came up with."  

Dudiot has also paired up with Ho’okena to create a version of Kui Lee's “The Song of Christmas.” This cover is especially meaningful to Dudiot because he first heard the Brothers Cazimero version when he was a child in the early 90s. 

You can find the above songs from Horace Dudiot on Apple Music and Amazon. 

On behalf of all of us at Outrigger Resorts, and our ohana (family), happy holidays!

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Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort | Hawaii
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