Hilo’s Christy Leina’ala Lassiter recently released a new Hawaiian music EP titled “Eha.”
This project includes a song by her uncle Allen Wall, a Kona rancher and cowboy poet. His song “Kuhalalua” offers a reflection on a family beach house in Keauhou where the children were lulled to sleep by the ocean. It speaks of the time when cattle were brought down from the mountain and the cowboys would swim them out to the boats to take them to market in Honolulu.
Lassiter comes from a ranching family in Kona and her grandmother, Kapua Wall Heuer was the first woman inducted into the Paniolo Hall of Fame. Her Uncle Billy Paris was a well known Kona rancher and historian. He and Allen Wall were great influences in Lassiter’s musical education.
The song “Keokea Paka” is also featured on this release and comes from her daughter’s Kohala family. Sarah Pule was the composer of this well-known mele. Lassiter’s daughter Kamalani Kapeliela is a featured vocalist on this song.
Lassiter composed two songs for this project and is aiming for a nod in this year’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in the categories of Female vocalist of the Year, Hawaiian EP and Haku mele.
Lassiter has been carrying an ukulele with her since she was 10 years old. At about the same time, she began piano lessons and discovered the King’s Books of Hawaiian Music. She grew up in Hilo, where she spent many years as an active 4-H Horse Club member. Her mother and grandmother were both well known cowgirls and pa’u riders.
It was in her grandmother’s parlor that she was exposed to Hawaiian music and this began her love for playing and singing. She also grew up performing hula, eventually earning the honor of Miss Aloha Hawaii.
A graduate of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, she has been a career counselor with Alu Like Inc. and a parent educator with Kamehameha Schools. She also spent 20 years as a professional photographer, specializing in rodeos, pa‘u riders and wedding portraits.
As a performing and recording artist, she has enjoyed the company of the best musicians in Hawaii and is always happy to be a part of a trio, signing traditional Hawaiian music. She is devoted to the preservation of the old style of traditional Hawaiian songs and music she learned at her grandmother’s house on Hilo Bay.