Hawaiian Musicians Sing the Soft, Sweet Songs of Sovereignty
Special Issue: Musical Awakenings. Between Cultural Regeneration and Political Claims in Oceania
Abstract: In this essay, Prof. Kevin Fellezs's central argument is that Hawaiian music is “not” the soft, sweet inviting sounds meant for tourist consumption but, rather, the expression of a people whose cosmological, ontological, and epistemological dispositions bend toward a fluid and flexible orientation to the world. In this light, Kanaka Maoli opposition to U.S. en- croachment as articulated in their music has been consistently misheard and misunderstood. I assert that Hawaiian musicians’ mana (supernatural or divine power) and their music’s affective resonance and social effectiveness comes from its fundamental nahenahe aesthetic.