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The Descendants Soundtrack

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The Descendants soundtrack. Conjure up thoughts of the rich musical heritage of the pacific isles of Hawaii and likely one song and one song alone rears its fearsome visage as high above all others as Mauna Kea looms over its fellow Hawaiian volcanoes: that’s right, the theme tune to Hawaii Five-O, as rollicking and rip-roaring a primetime toe-tapper as you ever likely to hear from those long-gone days before Mike Post graduated from short trouser-wearing.

However prepared to be stunned as rigid as the sweat glands in an actress’s armpit on Oscar night (something to do with the possibly ill-advised application of Botox, so I’m told), for it turns out that there is considerably more to Hawaiian music than that aforementioned classic small screen composition. And I’m not talking about Jack bloody Johnson either.

Rather the Hawaiian-birthed sound which interests us in connection with The Descendants, the new movie from Sideways and Election director Alexander Payne, is ‘slack-key’ – so named in honour of the open tunings and slackened guitar strings favoured by its practitioners. And it is one such practitioner, Gabby Pahinui, who is the dominant force on the soundtrack to Payne’s latest, he appearing on a third of its 18 tracks.

Indeed Payne has previously said that he wanted Pahinui’s songs to exert a similar power over The Descendants as those of “Pipsqueak” Paul Simon and Art “The Mad Professor” Garfunkel exerted over The Graduate. Yowzer. Tall order. Not that Pahinui will be feeling the pressure, he having expired some three decades ago.

Yet if the man himself, where he is now, is deeply unlikely to feel any benefits from the engagement of his music in the service of Payne’s movie, then slack-key as a genre could well experience a similar surge in both popularity and exposure to that which affected bluegrass when it was included in another George Clooney film, namely 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Clooney is an early favourite for a Best Actor Oscar for his role in The Descendants, but if the smooth-talking Nespresso salesman does miss out on that golden boy of acclaim then he could likely do worse than soothe his rage by listening to the mellow, breezy confection here.

Because the sounds are fresh and soulful, even if the track names do look like an H.P. Lovecraft-created pantheon of elder gods: ‘And weep Roderick Parvenu did when he saw the true cyclopean scale of the malignant dread laid out before him, where all men trembled before Hi Ilawe and Imi Au Ia Oe and especially Ka Mele Oku U Pu Uwai, who of all the antediluvian deities really was quite the biggest jerk.’

Listen To The Descendants Soundtrack:

You can download The Descendants soundtrack as mp3s here
Or get it on cd here

The Descendants Soundtrack – Track List
1. Ka Makani Ka Ili Aloha – Gabby Pahinui
2. Kalena Kai – Keola Beamer and George Winston
3. Hi Ilawe – Gabby Pahinui
4. Ulili E – Rev. Dennis Kamakahi
5. Pine Tree Slack Key – Pancho Graham
6. Auwe – Ray Kane
7. Leahi – Gabby Pahinui
8. Hawaiian Skies – Jeff Peterson
9. He Eia – Gabby Pahinui and Sons Of Hawaii
10. Imi Au Ia Oe – Keola Beamer
11. Kaua I Beauty – Gabby Pahinui
12. Hi Ilawe – Sonny Chillingworth
13. Wai O Ke Aniani – Gabby Pahinui
14. Pua Hone – Rev. Dennis Kamakahi
15. Hapuna Sunset – Charles Michael Brotman
16. Deep in an Ancient Hawaiian Forest – Makana
17. Mom – Performed by Lena Machado
18. Ka Mele Oku U Pu Uwai – Sol Hoopii’s Novelty Trio

Leave your thoughts on The Descendants soundtrack in the comments. If you’re looking for a particular track leave a description and someone normally replies.

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  • Scratch said

    Why could you not get the name of the film right? It’s Descendants, not Descendents!! Perhaps no more than we should expect from someone who calls Paul Simon ‘pipsqueak’.

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  • Yvonne said

    Just looking for the name of the track that is played late in the movie when they are saying the final goodbye to Elizabeth. It was a familiar tune to me, almost “Ave Maria” like, and I’m wondering if it was the Kalena Kai tune with George Winston and Keola Beamer. Any thoughts?
    Thank you!

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  • Kanchan said

    that tract which waas played in first promo but dont know which is it smong all this ..plz help!!

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