Unlike many heads of state, Hawaiian Queen Lili'uokalani has
a legacy in music as well as politics. Born in 1838 with the remarkable
name Lydia Lili'u Loloku Walania Kamaka'eha, the future queen
excelled at musical studies and was particularly interested in
documenting Hawaiian culture. She became queen in 1887 and continued
to compose even while imprisoned in a room with blacked-out windows
after the 1893 coup that deposed her (and led to US annexation).
She wrote more than 150 songs, and on this CD Ozzie Kotani performs
13 of them on ki ho'alu (slack key guitar), sometimes adding
original bits to the queen's melodies. From the festive "He
'Ai Na Kalani," a tribute to royal feasts, to his sublime
interpretation of the well-known "Aloha 'Oe," Kotani
conveys a reverence and respect for this amazing monarch while
he provides us with some gorgeous listening.