Her father, iconic singer and songwriter Larry Rivera, also recorded a Christmas album more than 50 years ago, Christmas on Kaua‘i, which has his famous Menehune Santa song.
“Christmas has always been the best time of the year, and it brings families together,” said Larry Rivera, who has six children, 17 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren.
“Everybody plays an instrument or sings,” Ilima Rivera said of her family. “Every Christmas, there’s always music.”
Her sister Leilani Rivera Bond also recorded a Christmas album, A Kaua‘i Christmas. She, her father and her sister, all perform Mele Kalikimaka in their albums.
The connection between Hawaiians and music goes back centuries. It was through chants that much of their history and legends survived: The Hawaiian language was only put into writing in the 1820s.