I have no idea how I came across this fantastic little oddity. However, I would strongly suspect that it has something to do with the song’s incredibly fitting usage in the 2008 film, Pineapple Express.
The song is beautifully whimsical in nature, so can easily soundtrack the drug fuelled jaunt in the woods depicted in the movie.
Arthur Lyman was one of the musicians behind the exotica craze, which was related to Hawaii becoming a part of the U.S.A in 1959. It was essentially white guys making music which sounded like it might plausibly be from Polynesia, or somewhere else viewed as “exotic”.
“Hi’ilawe” is a waterfall in Hawaii. I’m not sure exactly where the apostrophe is placed…
The song itself is instrumental, utilising piano, guitar, vibraphone and ukelele. The percussion is quite tropical sounding as well, like two coconuts being clashed together. It’s a very short piece, at under a minute and a half, but songs like these are designed for easy listening, not as epic musical statements!
The track was released in 1959 on Hawaiian Sunset, Lyman’s third album.