Ho‘opi‘i Brothers, the
- J.W. Junker
Hawaiian falsetto singers and musicians. Of no direct relation to steel guitarist Sol Ho‘opi‘i, Solomon (b Maui, HI, 28 March 1935; d Maui, HI, 2 March 2006) and Richard (b Maui, HI, 15 March 1941) Ho‘opi‘i grew up in Kahakuloa on the remote northwest coast of Maui. From an early age they developed a virtuoso style of duet leo ki‘eki‘e (falsetto) marked by open, robust timbre, and a variety of vocal ornaments. Among these are traditional techniques from Hawaiian chant plus adapted practices such as yodeling, echoing, and percussive effects. Both brothers could sing all four voice parts and complex interplay was common, as on “Kupa Landing” and “I Ali‘i No ‘Oe.” The duo often modulated to higher keys as songs progressed, as in “Haleakala Hula.” Himeni (Hawaiian hymns) were another specialty. Discreet elements of early rock and roll also filtered into their sound, especially when performing at parties....