Book launch reception John Berger - “Ka Mele Hawai‘i a Me Ka Po‘e Mele/Hawaiian Music & Musicians, An Encyclopedic History”

October 22, 2012

Mutual Publishing hosted a book launch reception for Star-Advertiser entertainment reporter and author John Berger.

Berger edited the latest version of the book  “Ka Mele Hawai‘i a Me Ka Po‘e Mele/Hawaiian Music & Musicians, An Encyclopedic History”,  which was originally published by George S. Kanahele in the 1970′s and is no longer in print.

He got help from musicians and their family members, recording industry executives, historians, kumu hula, chanters, composers, Hawaiian language experts and international scholars, all of whom (including Berger) worked without remuneration.

Hawaiian Music & Musicians - by John Berger

The new 1,000-page edition incorporates the effects of the contemporary Hawaiian music movement (Sunday Manoa, the Brothers Cazimero and musicians of similar status); the Hawaiian Renaissance and sovereignty movements, with a list of songs from “All Hawaii Stand Together” to “Where Have All the Hawaiians Gone”; and the rise of “Jawaiian/Island music” and other developments.

George S. Kanahele published his monumental Hawaiian Music and Musicians: An Illustrated History in 1979. Compiled with the assistance of a hundred contributors and the research of many more, it was immediately recognized as the most ambitious book ever written about Hawaiian music. Visit

In 2000 Dr. Kanehele asked veteran music critic John Berger to work with him on a second edition; Dr. Kanahele died a few months later. It took John Berger another dozen years to complete this Revised and Updated Hawaiian Music and Musicians: An Encyclopedic History. The book is now more than doubled in length, with almost every entry revised and updated, and with almost 100 new entries.

The book is arranged alphabetically, with entries on Hawaiian music from its roots in ancient chants to the flowering of the musical renaissance in Hawaii. It describes leading personalities and groups, organizations, songs and publications, and discusses the extraordinary popularity of Hawaiian music round the world.

There are biographies of musicians from every period of Hawaiian musical history—from Henry Berger, David Kālakaua, Queen Lili‘uokalani, and others of their time, to the great names of the 20th century.

There are major articles on chant, slack key, steel guitar, ‘ukulele, hīmeni, falsetto, Hawaiian orchestras, humor in Hawaiian music, radio, television, the recording industry, and more. Definitive essays tell the story of all the ancient and modern musical instruments, and the most loved and important songs of the last 150 years.

A special section presents many rare photographs of historical interest, featuring singers, chanters, dancers, and instrumentalists. Melody lines, chants, and rhythm patterns are illustrated by music notation.

Hawaiian Music & Musicians is published by Mutual Publishing, LLC

SKU: 1566479673
Released October 15, 2012

ISBN-10: 1-56647-967-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-56647-967-7