Profile & Concept
The genre of Hawaiian music, often also called “Island Music” is identified as being played with steel guitars and ukuleles. There are many styles of Island Music that are recognized as hula songs.
Hiliu’s musical contribution compliments the traditional instruments used in ancient Hawaii with classical stringed and wind instruments. This allows Hiliu to re-visit the powerful expression of court music heard at ʻIolani Palace, when Hawaii was at its most prosperous peak.
The three‐part time and classical waltz melodies composed by Her Majesty Queen Lilʻiuokalani was influenced by European music and completely overturned conventional Hawaiian music, while still reminding us of the roots of traditional Hawaiian music.
The music will transport you through time to one of the grand balls at the palace, with a backdrop of the beautiful, lush mountains and the gentle scent of tropical Hawaiian flowers while imagining graceful hula and the music played by the traditional instruments used in ancient Hawaii. Hiliu’s music will help you re-imagine the natural scenery of the beautiful good old Hawaiian Kingdom through their rich re-interpretation of Her Majesty’s music. Hiliu aims to blend together the traditional music of Hawaii with the contemporary style of New Hawaiian music, so presenting to you Hiliu’s view of the Hawaiian world.
Who are Hiliu?
The duo, ‘Hiliu’, take their name from a word in the Hawaiian language that means ‘the sound or the call of a wind instrument’, (Hiliu), such as the sound that can be made with a conch shell; It is from an ancient Hawaiian word and it is also called ‘Kani Ka Pū’ which means Conch Shell Trumpet. For a very long time in Hawaii, the sound of the shell has been considered very special and auspicious. For example, it was used as part of the important protocol islanders practiced to announce the arrival of canoes, to welcome Aliʻi (Royals) and Moʻi (Kings) and even to worship their Akua (God).
‘Hiliu’ are a harmonic vocal duo. The pair are passionate about bringing spiritual Hawaiian Oli (Chants) and traditional Hawaiian music to the next generation, by merging traditional sounds into music that is popular with today’s listeners. They are passionate about creating contemporary Hawaiian music with soothing and friendly sounds, while continuing and promoting beautiful Hawaiian traditions.‘Hiliu’ started their performances in 2014. The pair released their first album, “Be Still My Heart” on December 21st, 2019 and celebrated with a sold out show (all tickets were gone in 24 hours) at JZ Brat in Tokyo on February 27th the following year.
In April, 2020, their popular album was recognized as a finalist at the 43rd Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, which is the premier music award event in Hawaii and it is considered to be Hawaii’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards.
On the right is Hiro Sekine (Exective Producer, Vocals, Ukulele, Guitar) who has lived in Kona, Big Island of Hawaii and worked as a teaching instructor at an incorporated school. Hiro’s first musical endeavor started with the violin when he was aged 6. The guitar and the ukulele were the next instruments he chose to play at the age of 12. For many years, he studied under the direction of Charles Kaʻupu who was a hula teacher (Kumu Hula) in Maui, receiving the knowledge of Hula and Hawaiian culture, unique Hawaiian vocalization and chanting Oli. Sadly, Charles Ka’upu passed away, leaving Hiro to independently teach Hula, Hawaiian Music and to produce many cultural instruments. The craftsmanship of his double gourd drum (Ipu Heke), is much appreciated by many Kumu Hula in Hawaii.
On the left is Yuri Ito (Vocal, Ukulele), who was introduced to piano at the tender age of 5, she then joined a brass band at the age of 10 years. She received many awards for her vocal talent from a young age, which led to her enrolling in a vocal school to train in professional jazz vocals. When the Blessed Voices Gospel Choir was established as the very first gospel choir in her area, she was selected as a lead Alto singer. The choir had the opportunity to perform at the US Yokota Air Base. Yuri now continues to study Hawaiian culture and history and shares her knowledge with her students through Hula instruction.