Island musician to teach new course at UH Hilo on contemporary island music

New music course will be taught by local musician and UH Hilo alumnus Lito Arkangel.

By Susan Enright.

Lito Arkangel in lei, giving the shaka.
Lito Arkangel

A new course on contemporary island music will be offered in the spring 2015 semester at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Taught by island musician Lito Arkangel, the class will cover contemporary music in Hawai‘i beginning in the 1970s and culminating with today’s popular music.

Emphasis of the course will be on performance, the understanding of multi-cultural influences that shaped each era, the styles of composers, and the development of musical trends in Hawai‘i. Students will participate in group activities, presentations, and required performances. Practical experience with singing and ‘ukulele will be included.

Carmelito “Lito” Arkangel was born and raised in the small plantation town of Ola‘a on Hawai‘i Island. He has been involved in music most of his life and entertaining in Hawai‘i professionally since 1999. Working his way up from backyard jam-sessions on Hawai‘i Island, he is now a professional entertainer and musician best known throughout Hawai‘i, Japan and Las Vegas. He is a U.S. Navy Persian Gulf Veteran (USS ‘Obrien DD-975) and a UH Hilo graduate. He now lectures at UH Hilo in three areas: Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, the kinesiology department, and the performing arts department.

“Lito lives the Hawaiian concept of aʻo, wherein teaching and learning cannot be separated,” says Jackie Pualani Johnson, professor of drama and former chair of the performing arts department at UH Hilo, about Arkangel in a review about his music. “He has played ‘ukulele since small kid time, and found many willing listeners when stationed on the destroyer USS O’Brien during his stint in the Navy. A picturesque sunset enveloped by the sweet ocean mist often found him strumming on deck, then singing karaoke in Japan.

“Thirty countries and one hundred cities later, he makes music on both sides of the Moku o Keawe, Hawaiʻi Island. Opportunities to teach have come his way from youth-at-risk at Kulani Youth Challenge Academy, Ke Ana Laʻahana Public Charter School, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo — all because of his ability to use music to communicate history and values and to affect the quality of young people’s lives.”

The course

Contemporary Island Music
9:30-10:45 am
Performing Ats Center Green Room
MUS 198
3 credits
CRN 1309
No prerequisites


About the writer of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

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