How can there only be one more week left to listen to Christmas music?! This week we are going to share some fun facts about our favorite song of the season, "Mele Kalikimaka!"
"Mele Kalikimaka," Hawaii's own Christmas song, was written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson. Anderson wrote over 100 songs over the course of his life.
"Mele Kalikimaka" is the Hawaiian translation of the English phrase, "Merry Christmas!" It sounds different from the English phrase because the Hawaiian language only has 8 consonants, and "r" "s" and "t" are not included.
The song belongs to the genre of Hawaiian music called Hapa-Haole. "Hapa" means part or half, and "Haole" specifically means part Caucasian. Hapa-Haole music consists of Hawaiian themes and subject matters but uses primarily English lyrics.
The song was made famous by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters in 1950, just one year after it was written. Anderson framed the letter that Bing Crosby wrote to say that he loved "Mele Kalikimaka" and was going to record it.
Although Anderson wrote many well known songs, he did not have formal training as a composer. He studied electrical and mechanical engineering at Cornell University, and worked in the refrigeration industry after graduation and then after World War I as well.