Thanks to the infamous Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction," Hawaiian music stars Willie K. and Amy Hanaiali{grv}i Gilliom got their biggest exposure to date -- starring in the nationally televised NFL Pro Bowl halftime show last winter. Their luau-palooza, complete with hula dancers, drummers, conch-shell blowers and local singers -- became the show's main event after the NFL bounced JC Chasez, of the boy band 'N Sync, from the prime spot. Having been stung by the antics of Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson during the Super Bowl, the NFL opted to replace Chasez's grinding dance-pop with Willie K. and Gilliom performing "Welcome to My Paradise" and an original theme for the Pro Bowl's silver anniversary, "Twenty-five Years of Aloha."

Last year the pair headlined the 2003 Aloha Live tour, playing to more than 60,000 fans and creating a great launch for the first year of the festival. This year, the tour has expanded with additional musicians and new stage flourishes that evoke a balmy island evening, even in an indoor hall like the Birchmere.

Willie K. (born Willie Kahaiali{grv}i) was raised on Maui and has been making music since he was 10. His father, Manu Kahaiali{grv}i, a respected Hawaiian musician, recruited Willie and his brothers to perform in his band. Willie was influenced by a wide range of styles and performers, from his father's favorites -- Hawaiian, jazz and early R&B -- to the sounds he heard on the radio, like B.B. King, Santana, Jimi Hendrix and Willie Nelson. With the exception of Hendrix, Willie K. has shared stages with all of those great players, as well as Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, George Benson and Jimmy Buffett. His albums have made him a regular winner at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaii's version of the Grammys), including two Producer of the Year awards for his albums with Gilliom.

Gilliom, too, truly has the island nation's music in her blood. She's the granddaughter of Jennie Napua Woodd, one of the original Royal Hawaiian Girls, who, during the 1930s and '40s, defined America's perceptions of Hawaiian dance. As a student, Gilliom was classically trained and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in musical theater before another relative, her Auntie Genoa, introduced her to the Hawaiian female falsetto vocal style known as ha{grv}i.

Though credited with helping to resurrect the ha{grv}i style, Gilliom also works elements of jazz and R&B into her performance. She is a multiple winner of Na Hoku Hanohano awards, her last four albums gathering honors for Song of Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Hawaiian, Album of the Year and Group of the Year.

While firmly grounded in tradition, the Aloha Live tour brings contemporary innovation and eclectic accents to classic Hawaiian sounds. For those who think of Hawaiian music in terms of "Tiny Bubbles" or mellow, slack key guitar ballads, Willie K. and Gilliom have a surprise in store. The two share a joking stage presence that's been compared to Sonny and Cher's vintage teasing, and some of the new material crosses over into English lyrics, more Shania Twain than Don Ho. The pair even teamed up once to co-star in a stage version of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show."


The Birchmere is at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets for general admission seating are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. To purchase tickets, go to or call 703-551-SEAT. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the venue box office 5-9 p.m. on show nights. For more information call 703-549-7500 or visit the Web site

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Willie K. and Amy Hanaiali{grv}i Gilliom perform stylish, contemporary Hawaiian music that evokes a balmy island evening, even indoors at the Birchmere.