22 03, 2016

EKK: Father & Son Share the Na`auao Beat, Who’s Coming Up on Monday, March 21?

2021-10-12T18:03:50-10:00EKK 2016, Kauai Beach Resort EKK Special 2011|0 Comments


Who’s Coming Up on Monday, March 21?

Contact:  giac05@icloud.com

Here is the link to EKK on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ekanikapilakakou.kauaistyle/

“How many of you are first timers at EKK?” Each week as I welcome the guests to EKK, I ask this question and anywhere from 25 to 50 of them stand up or raise their hands. Just how do these folks find out about EKK?  Here are some of their replies:

“My landlady Ms. Adams,” say Peter and Joann from Canada
“Everyone talks about it,” says Linda Oshiro.
“Held in prison cell until this show,” says “unnamed”.
“From Makana Music,” says Felicia Cowden.
“Word of mouth,” says Charles and Phyllis McBeth.
“Come this time of year purposely for Kanikapila,” says Teresa Cooper.

It’s gratifying to know that EKK is a program that many look forward to and enjoy because GIAC and its many volunteers enjoy making it happen. This year, we had 52 persons with perfect attendance who came every week, and this number keeps growing each season.

Topping off a stellar season with Willie K and His Band is definitely the Cherry on Top of a magnificent concoction. This 2016 Leap Year season has been an energizing year for EKK. Many unexpected surprises, old favorites, new faces and renewed appreciation for the many loyal supporters of this program who have been really stepping up to the plate to show their support for EKK — unique in the islands and close to the heart of many.

EKK 2017 or Bust!  Mark it on your calendar and book your flights:  January 16, 2017 – March 20, 2017for the 34th year of EKK.

EKK:  Father and Son Share the Na`auao Beat

When Sean Na`auao first requested an appearance on EKK, he said he wanted to perform with his son Kupu`eu as a father and son team, so that was the original plan. As their date approached, he disappointingly said his son had to take a standardized test for school so could not come. At the last minute, he said that his Leap Year Surprise was that his son could, after all, be at EKK by taking the test on an alternate date. So Sean showed up at EKK with his son Kupu`eu Dalire-Na`auao. He looks like a high school freshman, but musically, he has to be older than that.

As part of the musical group Hu`ewa (pronounced Whoevah), Kupu`eu and his youthful partners walked away with two coveted Na Hoku Hanohano awards in 2015 – Most Promising Artist of the Year and Group of the Year, so naturally, Sean is very proud of his son’s budding musical career. The first half of the program was geared toward featuring his son’s music as well as songs from his own latest CD, Lehua Beauty.

Their version of Dennis Kamakahi’s Koke`e was a true duet as they went back and forth, each singing the lines solo and then in unison. What a unique voice that young man has. Most of the songs featured in the beginning were songs composed by Frank Kawaikapu`okalani Hewett, who happens to be a cousin of Kupu`eu’s mother, who is the daughter of the late Aloha Dalire, who was the first Miss Aloha Hula at the Merrie Monarch Hula Competition. Aloha Dalire’s three daughters were also crowned Miss Aloha Hawai`i and carry on the hula legacy of Keolalaulani Halau `Olapa o Laka.

Sean began with Frank’s popular Ka Pilina, which was the Song of the Year at the 2001 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and the song that he taught the `ukulele circle. He called on a long time friend, Ku`upua Kamealoha, also known as Pua Gomes, who had performed as the kumu hula representing Kanuikapono Hawaiian Charter School on Community Hula Night.

Many of Frank’s songs have become hula standards not only here in Hawai`i but wherever hula has taken hold, because his songs give hula dancers so much to work with in expressing the lyrics. They sang a medley of two popular hula songs, Ka `Eha Ke Aloha and Ka Wai Lehua A`ala Ka Honua. Kupu`eu took the solo lead on the second song and his voice was quite unique. They finished the set of Frank’s hula songs with E `Ike I Ka Nani a o Hopoe.

Turning the spotlight on Kupu`eu, the music took on a youthful upbeat tempo. Their version of Ke Aloha was quite different from the usual song played for hula dancers.  Kupu`eu took the solo lead for their animated version ofKa`ililaukokekoa.

Sean’s Dad was part of the Hawaiian Airlines promotional team that traveled all over the world, so the legacy lives on with the next generation and the next. They sang The Royal Hawaiian Hotel; it sounded very different from other versions because Sean put his own Na`auao stamp on the song.

Sean shared the story about Kupu`eu who traveled all over the world with his performing parents since he was age three, carrying and strumming his small Duke Kahanamoku `ukulele wherever he went. It was one of those small kid’s instruments from WalMart or Woolworth’s way back when. Over the years he graduated to his own real instrument and tonight he was going to show his skill on Sean’s guitar.

Kupu`eu is a left-handed bass guitar player, while Sean plays on his regular guitar. When they switched instruments and Sean took on the bass and Kupu`eu strapped on the guitar, it was pretty amazing that the song comes out right and not backward. I had to wrestle with some brain gym exercises trying to figure out how he plays the instrument upside down and still has the song coming out right side up.

When they got to Noho Paipai they were really getting into the groove and their spontaneous jam with Kupu`eu on the guitar and Sean on the bass really got the audience jazzed up; they showed their appreciation with hana hou shouts. Sean even had a hana hou song to sing. This boy is so talented, he not only plays the instrument, he knows how to play with the crowd. I guess if you start at age three doing musical tours, some of this stage presence has to rub off on you.

After they sang another song off Sean’s new Lehua Beauty CD, Kupu`eu started to play the Kamoa `ukulele that was going to given away, so Sean ended up with a guitar in one hand and a bass on his lap. “We are trying to be as talented as we can, holding a guitar in one hand, a bass in the other, and trying to sing at the same time,” joked Sean. But then they pulled it off with a song that is very special to both of them, the very beautiful himeni, `Ekolu Mea Nui,that many in the audience knew and could join in.

After the intermission, the CDs were given away and one of the CD winners was also the winner of the Kamoa `ukulele. An elated Terry Roberts from Texas was beaming the whole rest of the evening for scoring double in the good luck category. All it took was a minute to fill out the attendance form to win a great CD and about two minutes to sign up for the `ukulele giveaway.

The second half took on a mellow and audience-interactive mood as the duo sang songs that enticed the hula dancers in the house to step up to the stage. A beautiful rendition by Sean of My Sweet Lei Poina`ole was danced by Kainani Viado; Sean’s voice is so full and rich when he sings the hula songs. It’s no wonder he is so popular as a musician playing for the hula halau. Kainani also danced to the next song.

Queen Lili`uokalani’s song, Queen’s Jubilee, written for Queen Victoria, is one of her most beautiful songs. It was written in April 1887 when her brother King Kalakaua asked Crown Princess Lili`u to accompany Queen Kapi`olani to Queen Victoria’s 50th year of her reign as Queen of England. The Hawai`i contingent returned to Hawai`i in July 1887. As Sean and Kupu`eu sang it from the stage, Kamala Mersberg from the back of the audience was joining in with her heartfelt best, her voice soaring throughout the ballroom.  The song really moved her as it did everyone else.

Vern Kauanui, our resident hula dancer, requested two hula songs so he could shine on stage. Nani Kaua`i is a song that Sean recorded with Sistah Robi. Somehow with the combined instrumental accompaniment by both musicians, it had the sound of a big screen soundtrack. Vern also requested Waikiki, written and recorded by Andy Cummings. “I forget the words,” confessed Sean but he was able to sing it with hula dancer Vern calling out the words for each line.

Not to be outshined by Vern, four lovely hula dancers – Ina Lejins, Madeleine Guyett, Mahina Baliaris and Yumi Teraguchi — each danced their own choreography to Ke Aloha, a hula favorite, while Sean and Kupu`eu kept true to the Na`auao beat.

By this time, the hula dancers were raring to get up on stage and the air was electric with hana hou shouts. Sean sang Edith Kanaka`ole’s Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai, the seaweed song. Madeleine, Ina, Mahina and Kainani were joined by Elena Gillespie, Alex Nelson and Fran Nestel. It’s always interesting to see how many different hula interpretations are danced to the same song.

As the final EKK Monday of 2016 started to wind down, Sean and Kupu`eu sang the title track to Sean’s new Lehua Beauty CD. Sean called out, “If you don’t hana hou us, we will hana hou ourselves!” Hana hou! Hana hou!  Of course, Sean had to throw in his parting shot with his well-known Fish and Poisignature song.

With the singing of Hawai`i Aloha, folks joined hands for their final EKK session of 2016, happy for the opportunity to enjoy Hawaiian music at its best.

*  *  *  *  *
If you have a disability and need assistance for Monday events please email Carol Yotsuda atgiac05@icloud.com.

Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”
E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai`i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua`i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua`i Beach Resort.
Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai`i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

16 03, 2016

Who’s Coming Up on Monday, March 14? EKK: Old-Time Hawaiian Music with Aaron and George

2021-10-12T18:03:50-10:00EKK 2016|0 Comments


Who’s Coming Up on Monday, March 14?

Contact: giac05@icloud.com
Here is the link to EKK on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ekanikapilakakou.kauaistyle/

EKK 2017 – Here We Come!

Last week Monday when Malie foundation took over the EKK program, Nathan announced that their goal was to raise $3,000 that evening. He also promised that if they hit $5,000 like they did the previous year, he would shave his beard. When the dust settled and dollars counted, the grand total in donations reached $6,000. The biggest surprise was that they designated the donations to support EKK 2017! To make good on his promise, Nathan got up on stage tonight and let Onio shave off his beard and mustache as promised. Only Nathan can….!

Topping off the good news, two snowbirds who always sit in the front row next to each other, both named Walter, each donated $500 toward EKK 2017 because they have been coming to EKK for years and appreciate the program because it gives them so much to look forward to whenever they are on Kaua`i.

Exemplifying our elation over such enthusiastic support from our loyal audience was a weekly attendee at EKK, Sager the Caregiver Doggy who always sits in the fourth row.

See Sager here: Sager’s Movie

Later, while waiting in the doctor’s office for nearly two hours, I was staring at a sign on the video that said, “Does anybody care about anybody else anymore?”

My answer is, “Yes, They Do! I witness it every day!”

EKK: Old Time Hawaiian Music with Aaron Mahi and George Kuo

As conductor of the Royal Hawaiian Band for 24 years, as conductor of the Honolulu Symphony simultaneously for seven years, as conductor of the Hawaiian Ecumenical Choir for 36 years, and as Conductor of the Kamehameha School Alumni Glee Club, Aaron Mahi had to research all the music they covered in great detail, so today he is a walking repository of information about all the songs that they have played, sung and performed to audiences great and small here in the islands and on the continent. Here he sat on the EKK stage to share a tiny bit of the mountain of information that he must have accumulated over the years. His head is so packed with information that he often jumps from what he is talking about to a related topic. For example, when he was explaining about how to pronounce kiawe (trees), he reminded everyone to be sure not to say Keawe which was the name of a chief, then went on to talk about the genealogy and background of that Ali`i. You really needed to pay attention to stay on his train.

Before he sang each song, he shared the meaning of the lyrics and described the emotions within each song. One love song in particular was about the husband and wife who shared a love that was so deep that Aaron found words woefully inadequate to describe the depth of their love, so he amped up the emotion in his voice and gestured frantically with his hands to try to show how very deep this love was between the couple.

While teaching Kipu Kai to the papa `ukulele, that turned out to be like a bunch of folks sitting in his living room as he shared in his very upbeat style — chord progressions, strums, etc., — he not only talked about the history of the private estate of the late Jack Waterhouse, but also Jack’s passion for the Hawaiian language and the songs that he had passed down through the late Bill Kaiwa who traveled the world as a Hawaiian music singer.

He even asked Jill Kouchi to share her experience growing up as a teenager in this remote and inaccessible paradise. For her, the paradise was at that time in her life a prison and not easy living because there was only rainwater, no phone, no television, no electricity so all homework had to be done before nightfall, and there was no place to hang out with friends. As hanai sister of Bill Kaiwa and Kama Yim, both of whom had grown up as Jack Waterhouse’s sons, Jill remembered that Mary Kawena Pukui, originally from Ka`u on Hawai`i Island, was a frequent guest of Jack Waterhouse because Jack took Hawaiian language lessons from her. She had penned the song Kipu Kai directly into the guest book that everyone signed when they visited the home. So her lyrics about Mount Ha`upu, the long white beach, and the strutting peacocks were from her experience of being in that very special place. Maddy Lam put music to those descriptive lyrics. Pukui, together with Dr. Emory, were major forces in saving the Hawaiian language. Vicky I`i, a musician with Hawai`i Calls, always spoke about Jack’s eloquent `Olelo Hawai`i and what a pleasure it was to hear him speak.

Aaron comes from that generation of singers who made a major impact on the renaissance of Hawaiian music. His classmates at Kamehameha School were Dennis Kamakahi, Kalena Silva, Glenn Silva and others who went on to make significant contributions to the world of Hawaiian music. He acknowledged their greatly admired music teacher and mentor who guided and nurtured all of them when they were young crazy musicians. Bob Springer, who was present at EKK on this night, was for many years the headmaster at Island School here on Kaua`i. Along with the 1971 grads of Kamehameha School, the Brothers Cazimero, also attendees of Kamehameha, were forces in the world of Hawaiian music that changed the way music was shared with the world. Today, their contributions have rippled throughout the universe in ways that have touched so many lives and will continue to do so in the future. Aunty Malia Craver, a guidance counselor at QLCC, passed on to the younger people much of what shaped their direction in this venture. George Kuo went to Kalani High School while Aaron went to Kamehameha School. Since 1998 they both have been playing music in a program called Kanikapila Sunday where many musicians come together, loosen their strings and play music in the old Hawaiian style.

Aaron began by welcoming everyone in Hawaiian. He started the program with an oli in Hawaiian that was so powerful it reached all the way back to the food concession table – calling their ancestors to be here with all of us today. That is the way it is done, when it is done properly. Whenever he sang, his presence was very powerful and commanding.

The entire evening felt so comfortable and casual as they both came dressed informally in aloha shirts and Bermuda shorts. George invited everyone to sit back, relax and loosen their strings after a long hard day at work. They sang and played a lively jazzed up version of Ka Ua Loku, a famous Kaua`i song by Alfred Alohikea, one of the four royal composers. George taught this song about Hanalei in the `ukulele circle. Their deep booming power voices harmonize beautifully, accompanied by George’s wonderful pa`ani on his unusual 12-string guitar with two necks. These two musicians do not fool around when it came to delivery; they just “geev-um!” Volunteers in the wings were caught up with the music and danced to their lively beat.

Aaron shared a song from the westside, from Kekaha to Port Allen, where many of the families from Ni`ihau settled. In Ahe Nani Niihau by Aunty Emalia and her two nieces, the poetry is so simple and beautiful with the hidden kaona. While speaking about the tangible, often referring to the `aina, they are actually speaking about something intangible or about the people in their lives. In the song Emalia describes the setting sun turning the sky into a brilliant canvas of many brilliant colors. She speaks of the beauty of Ni`ihau represented by the rare Kahelalani shells found on their beaches. She mentions Wai`ale`ale, Nohili, Ha`upu — the wahi pana or special places of Kaua`i — but she was actually talking about members of the family and what they meant to her. George shines with his pa`ani played on the upper neck of his double-neck guitar.

Myron Cummings, son of Andy Cummings of Kaua`i, loved Pua Mamane, a naughty frisky song about some unexpected “encounters” with a bit of falsetto. These two musicians have such an upbeat and lively style of singing. I just loved, loved, loved the way they sang the Hawaiian songs.

Aunty Nainoa from the westside of Kaua`i passed a beautiful love song down to Bill Kaiwa. It describes when another is so much a part of you but couched in words about caring for the land. Kupa means one who is of that area, and `Aina is more important to us than we realize; it exudes out of the experience of the people; we can actually eat the land. Aaron’s description of the lyrics of the song was so passionate that he was beside himself for the want of words adequate enough to describe the feelings hidden in the song. He talks about winds, the blossoms so pungent to the nose, passion burning so hot inside for him or her. It’s quite an experience to watch Aaron get caught up so emotionally as he describes the meanings in the words. His explanation of being in love was so passionate; you can’t help but be swept up into the mood of love.

Andy Cummings often sang a lively version of Kupa `Aina with Johnny Almeida. Johnny often called out to the audience about all this love stored in this repository of love for all of you. Aaron would get soooooo excited and carried away as he described how Johnny loved to play with the words and expressed the emotions in the way they sang their songs. Cazimeros were their contemporaries. Aaron described the Cazimero’s recording of this song as a good interpretation but he really liked the way that Andy Cummings and Johnny Almeida sang it.

Andy Cummings, who loved Kaua`i songs, moved to Honolulu and started the first KGU Radio Show. He worked with Ralph Alapai, a young musician who always hung around older musicians and had a beautiful command of `Olelo Hawai`i. Many of the musicians that Aaron spoke about have already passed on, so his sharing about how they sang and played is precious oral history that is right here at EKK being passed on to a new generation of music appreciators. Musicians like Aaron Mahi and the late Dennis Kamakahi are like an encyclopedia of the journey of Hawaiian music. A day spent in their presence is like a semester in a class about Hawaiian music and culture.

Kaulana Na Pua, the stone eating song, was written in 1893. Today that song still serves as an important rallying call for issues about the land. Henry Berger told them when they raised the American flag the day after Hawaii became a part of the United States, the Hawaiian people were enveloping the land into their entire being into the lyrics of their songs because everyone was so fearful of the United States taking over our lands.

A wedding proposal by Kahoano Lake for his bride to be, Aunty Maiki Aiu Lake, described her as the Pua Lili Lehua. Unlike the Tuahine rains of Manoa which fall all over Manoa valley, the Lili Lehua rains of Palolo, fall only in the back half of the valley and stops when it reaches the front of the valley. Maiki Aiu Lake often visited her friend Sarah Kailikea, the famous kumu hula of Nawiliwili.

Just before the intermission, Nathan Kalama came up to the stage to have his mustache and beard shaved off as he promised. George Kuo played some light background music on the Kamoa `ukulele as Nathan carried out his fundraising promise at the Community Hula Night…. All $6,000 worth of it. I shared with the audience that during the first five weeks, we raised $791; Harajuku night we raised $720; Malie raised $6,000 in one hour so that is pretty darn amazing.

Dan Buskirk of Gabriela, BC, won the red Kamoa `ukulele. Many Canadians seem to have won the `ukulele this year.

During the first half they shared songs about Manokalanipo; during the second half Aaron wanted to share songs and stories about his family. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Hawaiians began to visit the concept of understanding who we are, where we came from and where we were going; it was part of the Hawaiian renaissance and music was a big part of this.

Henry Mahi, Aaron’s grandfather was born in the last part of the 19th century on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. The family lineage is a very important part of the Ali`i. They were asked to move out of Kalaupapa because they were not afflicted with the Hansen’s disease, so they moved to Kalawa`a, on the north side of the Kalaupapa peninsula. Grandmother was also from Molokai on the east end in the remote Halawa Valley, home to the Opiopio Family and Kane Families.

Matthew Kane, a wonderful composer who wrote many, many songs such as Ka Makani Ka`ili Aloha, was at that time the Principal of Kipahulu School. He based this song on the legend about the Kipahulu wind that came from the ocean and stole your loved ones away. Aaron’s powerful singing was so moving and passionate. As many times as I have heard this song sung by many different musicians, with the lyrics and the background of the song explained by Aaron, the song took on new meaning. He clarified the words Lei Milimili as something that you have and can feel in your hands and it’s the lei that fills your entire face.

His wife was from the Crowningburg family. After having eight children, she left her husband and moved to Waikamilo on O`ahu and had more children from another man and then moved on to another relationship and had more children. Aaron said, “She gave birth to a nation.” She did eventually go back to Kipahulu where all six hundred descendants gather every June to honor her memory. The Kane family will always sing this song about the winds of Kipahulu.

Albert Kane, Matthew’s younger brother, was Aaron’s great grandfather. He taught band at Wailea. At that time, Henry Berger, bandmaster of the Royal Hawaiian Band, would find and recruit into the Band talented young boys from the boys’ home in Wailea, to keep them out of trouble. George Kahoano, who had been a student of Albert Kane, was the announcer of the Royal Hawaiian Band. They were all somehow associated with the Royal Hawaiian Band, but Aaron found this out only after he had become conductor of the RHB; it was very much a part of his musical world.

He shared a fascinating story about how different members of the family would meet each other for the first time at the performances by the Royal Hawaiian Band and find out how they were related to each other. Through Annabelle Kane, one family member found out that his boss was his nephew. This happens a lot to Hawaiian musicians that they often do not know about their genealogical relationships until they are thrown together to perform at various functions. Aaron spent some time going over the genealogy of the Crowningburg family. It was all too complicated to follow.

George Kuo shared a number of ki ho`alu songs. His grand uncle Danny Ainoa was a major influence on George. Ki ho`alu is a music that is good for night time; if it doesn’t put you to sleep, it’s not good. Auntie Alice Namakelua would play a song on just one string. She prefers to play the sweet nahenahe style of slack key like Raymond Kane, but she said, “I can jam, too!” and she really could.

Manini are like school children, darting in and out all over the place like the black and white fish; he played the Manini instrumental song that was the very first slack key song recorded by Leonard Kwan. He then played the Oldtimers Slack Key from the northern part of Hawai`i Island in Pololu Valley.

George worked with a lot of great musicians working for the City and County of Honolulu; he dropped a lot of familiar and unfamiliar names and shared the day jobs of all the musicians. In 1986, he was invited to be part of Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai`i. During that tenure he was able to play one of his favorite songs, Manu Kapalulu written by Queen Lili`uokalani, who poetically told children to stay still. Such a lively song.

Opihi Moe Moe was a song recorded by Chet Atkins after he came to play golf in the Hawaiian Open Pro Am. Chet played it like bouncing up and down Country Western style. When the Sons of Hawai`i appeared on the Prairie Home Companion show, Chet asked George to choose a song for him to play, so George suggested he play Opihi Moe Moe, a classic ki ho`alu song.

Another of George’s favorite Kauai songs is Kaua`i Beauty by Keala Kai because it stood for the most precious lei that George Kuo ever received when he graduated; it had Mokihana berries entwined with maile, a lei he still has today.

George shared a story about one of the unforgettable events while playing at the Hollywood Bowl with Aaron conducting the Honolulu Symphony. Among the guest musicians were Dennis and David Kamakahi, Sonny Chillingworth, Keali`i Reichel, and George. At one point, Aaron put down his baton, picked up his bass guitar, and joined the guest musicians in the song. “I was younger then,” quipped Aaron. George played Fred Punohu’s Maunaloa Slack Key.

To honor the kupuna who mean so much to us, Aaron wanted to share a song from Kona. It’s a song that is played by the Paris family, one of the early pre-Parker Ranch ranching families. Aaron shed a great deal of new insight on the song Kona Kai `Opua by his in-depth explanation of the lyrics. The song speaks about all the different township in the Kona ahupua`a going from Kona to Keahou, past the area of fresh water springs and the cold winds, to Kealakekua where all the Ali`i are buried, and on to Ho`okena. It’s so great to hear new background information on a song that you hear all the time but about which you don’t know enough; it helps you to learn anew an old song. That is one of the best things about EKK; you can hear a song over and over, but it is never the same because each musician brings new information, new life and new appreciation for old favorites.

This 2016 Leap Year season has been an energizing year for EKK. Many unexpected surprises, old favorites, new faces and renewed appreciation for the many loyal supporters of this program who have been really stepping up to the plate to show their support for EKK — unique in the islands and close to the heart of many. EKK 2017 or Bust!
* * * * *

If you have a disability and need assistance for Monday events please email Carol Yotsuda at giac05@icloud.com.

Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”

E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai`i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua`i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua`i Beach Resort.
Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai`i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

How to buy tickets for the Willie K Concert:
Outlets: EKK Mondays; Kaua`i Music & Sound in Kapa`a; Scotty’s Music in Lihu`e; Island Soap & Candleworks and The Wine Shop in Koloa; only general admission tickets left.

4 03, 2016

EKK: The Biggest Leap Year Surprise of All, Who’s Coming Up on Monday, March 7?

2021-10-12T18:03:50-10:00EKK 2016|0 Comments



EKK:  The Biggest Leap Year Surprise of All

Email Message from Anakala Nathan Kalama the day after:

Aloha mai kakou,

I just wanted to express my deepest appreciation to all of you on behalf of the Malie Foundation for your participation in last night’s E Kanikapila Kakou 33 program.

Whether we shared our ho`okipa, aloha, `oli, hula, mele and musical talents, I am certain that everyone present was touched by your
individual and/or combined attitude, effort, energy, emotion and dedication to our Hawaiian culture. You all went “DO YOUR THING”, REPRESENT AND GAS N GO….FOA DAYZ!!!!

Please extend our mahalo piha to your haumana, family and friends who helped and made it possible for each of us to share the lights, stage and space together. What an honor and indeed a blessing!!! Once Carol Yotsuda and I get the financial part squared away, I will inform all of you as to the amount we helped raise for this Hawaiian music program that is unique to Kaua’i.

E malama ko ‘oukou kino, Ke Akua pu a ke aloha mau.
Anakala Nathan

PS — (Lyrics to the song that Nathan taught us in noho hula)
Ea la ea la eo (2x)
Ouch, ah, sore, auwi (2x)
Eastside, Westside, Northshore, Southshore (2x)

Enthusiastic responses to Nathan from Maile Baird, Puni Patrick, Mauli`ola Cook and Keikialoha Kaohelauli`i.

“How could they have kept such a huge secret from me?”

Each week we had the artists present a Leap Year Surprise as part of the 2016 “Leap into Hawaiian Music” theme, and we’ve had some really cool surprises. None, however, as surprising as the Community Hula Night EKK 33 planned (secretly) and so enthusiastically carried out by the Malie Foundation headed by “menehunes” Nathan Kalama and Maka Herrod. It seems like all the EKK volunteers were in on the surprise … all except their unsuspecting leader.

All season we were working so hard to carry out clever and fun ways to raise funds to be sure we could offer EKK 2017. Our last attempt was to present a fabulously fun fundraiser called “Harajuku – Kauai.” Donations from the audience via the “Mr/Ms Popularity” contest among the 20 models brought in a modest $762 that went into the EKK 2017 fund. Thus far, we had raised one-fourth of one EKK night’s expense, so we have a long way to go.
All EKK volunteers were told that this week we were going to help Malie Foundation raise money for the Punana Leo Scholarship Fund like we did last year, so all efforts were to be put to that end; don’t ask for EKK 2017 money this week.

At the end of the evening, one volunteer sticks a fat rumpled envelope into my hand and says, “This is for EKK 2017 from the Malie Foundation; it’s the money that the audience donated in the baskets tonight.” You could have knocked me over with the tail feather of a wild rooster . . . I was floored!  How could they have kept such a huge secret from me?

Best of all, the way in which they carried out this surprise was so full of aloha that emotions were bouncing off the walls at every turn.

P.S. I discovered the day after why I did not know they were raising money for EKK 2017. Ironically, I was in the lua when Nathan gave the “rules” so I missed that completely and I also missed the CDs and `ukulele giveaway.

Tonight is the night to fill up with Aloha”

The program started out with Nathan quietly sharing the meaning of aloha as giving permission for others to step into your space so you can share something together. “Tonight is the night to fill up with Aloha,” said Nathan. And that is what the whole evening was about. Over 75 hula dancers and musicians from nine halau contributed to a program that was like the Merrie Monarch of sharing hula.

Nathan introduced the Honorable Mayor of Kauai Bernard Patrick Carvalho, Jr. and “Kaua`i Energy Bunny” Carol Kouchi Yotsuda (that’s me) as the guest of honor. Onio called everyone together with the call of the pu. Everyone from far and near were welcomed into this space.

Ready for anything were the talented house musicians — the singing emcee Aunty Bev Muraoka, Kawaiola Yaris, PJ Gampon, and our wonderful Hawaiian piano player who had a solo concert in EKK week #2, John Austin Keikialoha Kaohelauli`i.

Representatives from each halau stepped into the limelight to share their oli aloha to welcome everyone into this space. Aunty Bev Muraoka, “retired” kumu of Healani’s Hula Halau and Music Academy, called on her haumana to share their `oli. Alaka`i Puni Patrick represented The Kupuna Club from the westside. She was followed by Alaka`i Maile Baird of Halau KanikapahuoLohiau. Representing Vicky Holt Takamine’s lineage was Alaka`i Mauli`ola Cook of Papa Laua`e O Makana. She was followed by Kumu Hula Pua Gomes and students of Halau Hula O Ku`upualimaoheaikealoaolaua’eomakana at Kanuikapono Hawaiian Charter School. Representing Halau Hula O Hali`ileo, halau of the late Doric Yaris, was his son Kawaiola Yaris and sister-in-law Ku`ulei Keamoai. Kumu hula Shane Maka Herrod’s Na Hui O Kamakaokalani with 20 dancers were followed by Kumu Hula Nathan Kalama of Na Kupuna O Kalamaolaimalihualani. Wow!  That was a mouthful! Aunty Bev said she had to go to PHD school to be able to pronounce all of that. (PHD stands for Perfect Hula Dancer)

Everyone stood up and took a moment of silence for all who have passed on. An opening pule in Hawaiian and English was followed by The Doxology in Hawaiian sung by everyone. Nathan get ‘um; he really knows how to set the tone.

A special opening kahiko hula was performed by the dancers of Halau KanikapahuoLohiau to honor the memory of long time educator, Kumu Hula active in the Hawaiian community and staunch supporter of the kupuna program, the late Pohaku Nishimitsu.Ten years since his passing, his students still practice the hula. They sent shivers of excitement out to the audience with their mele ma`i or genital chant about Lohi`au, the Ali`i of Ha`ena. The chant and the hula described the shape and movements of his ma`i as Ha`ue`ue, the pencil-thin sea urchin searching for the Leho `Ula that he turns over so he can find and enjoy the treasured prize hidden within. Maile Baird and her three dancers danced the vigorous and explicit hula to a recorded chant titled He Ma`i Noke Ari`i O Ha`ena composed by Pohaku.

Earlier in the evening, six kumu hula taught three hula workshops simultaneously in small groups. Maka Herrod and Uncle Nathan taught a hapa haole hula about Kevin Kasparovitch’s lei-giving business. Nathan pointed out that the hula, titled Kenui Aloha Style, fits the 2016 Mokihana Festival theme “Year of Hospitality.”

In another part of the ballroom, Mauli`ola Cook and Pua Gomes taught a hula kahiko, or ancient-style hula titled Pa`ani Makahiki. Mauli composed the hula, while Pua choreographed it.

Yet another group, led by Kawaiola Yaris and Ku`ulei Keamoai learned a hula auana, or modern hula, titled The Selfie Song, written by Ku’ulei’s sister Joni. The song touched on all the places important to the late Doric and Momi Yaris. This hula won first place in the 2015 Mokihana Festival.

Aunty Bev, who acknowledged the absence of Lady Ipo Kahaunaele who usually has the emcee honors, told all dancers not to be hila hila, or shy when they dance. Each distinctively different in style, the hula numbers were all happy, high energy and portrayed their respective sources of inspiration with great clarity. It was so uplifting to see the expressions of joy on their faces as they told the stories in movement. It took me a whole year to learn Singing Bamboo while I was in high school, so I am amazed to see dancers pick up an entire hula in a half hour lesson. No fair!

Nathan has a habit, a good one, of composing special songs for each occasion; he had everyone in the audience dancing a noho hula titled EKK 33. Catch on? Maka, ever the comedian, used his walking cane and geriatric movements to lead everyone from the stage for verse #2 danced by anyone over 65, who walked in with an assistive device or who was from the continent. Verse #3 was for the local residents. The spirit of the song was picked up instantly by young Keikialoha as his impromptu piano accompaniment added to the playful spirit of the song. Amazing how he can just sit there and accompany a song he never heard before.

An unexpected surprise was a special guest singer from Japan, Kiyoko Hachiya, who was at EKK 10 ten years ago and spends her time traveling and singing in many countries. Playing the piano to accompany herself, she sang a beautiful song that she wrote about Kaua`i. The lyrics were in English so you could really get what she loves about Kaua`i. Kekai Chock, who happened to be in the house, was called on to demonstrate playing the Kamoa `ukulele which was to be given away this evening.

Following a short Hawaiian intermission, six lucky people received a free CD just for filling in their registration forms. Even luckier was the winner of the Kamoa `ukulele, Karen Tribbick of Oliver, B.C., Canada.

Fundraising 101:  Do it with ALOHA

The program quickly got back on track because there was so much planned; the second half was the fundraiser portion of the evening. I thought it was dedicated to raising funds for the Malie Scholarship fund, so I was not surprised to see volunteers walking the aisles to catch donations from the audience. By some strange coincidence, when Nathan was explaining how the fundraiser would work, I happened to be in the lua, so I did not even know that he was trying to raise money for EKK rather than for scholarships for Punana Leo Pre-school. I even missed the `ukulele giveaway.

To start the fundraising, a surprise gift was presented by Puni Patrick and The Kupuna Klub members. Puni said, “Our Kumu Doric Yaris and Carol are both great sharers of aloha.” Thomas Nizo, known as Mr. T., a big-time coordinator of west Kaua`i events, walked on stage with a huge replica of a check, check #033 to be exact, made out to Garden Island Arts Council presenting $1,310 toward the EKK 2017 Fund from the The Kupuna Club. These west-siders! They just do everything in great style and with so much aloha. This was a totally unexpected gift. Just to have so many west-siders at EKK was also a huge gift.

A unique and charming hula, Ka Pua Lehua O Pahoa, written for Aunty Nona Beamer, was performed by the Kupuna Klub under the direction of Puni Patrick using the Hula Ki`i puppets made out of dried coconuts. Mauli`ola Cook had taught this hula to the westside halau.

Surprise after surprise! None other than the enigmatic Willy Pulawa of Hula Halau O Kalau’ala just arrived from Wakinekona (Washington State) to dance Kalena Kai as a solo hula. Willy was Nathan’s second kumu hula. For years I had seen gorgeous images of the elusive Willy Pulawa all over the island but never seen him. So in my mind, he had reached a legendary status. To see him in the flesh, finally, and wowing the audience to scream hana hou! Hana hou! was soooo cool!

Aunty Bev, Kawaiola Yaris, PJ Gampon and Keikialoha Kaohelauli’i, musicians for the evening, played the first Hula Merry-Go-Round medley of three fast hula favorites,Papalina Lahilahi, Ku’u Hoa, and Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai.  Dancers from the floor could run up and dance one or all of the hula that they knew, but the music never stopped, so they had to get on and get off the Merry-Go-Round without missing a beat. Like termites, dancers kept emerging from the crowd to the dance floor. It was so much fun to see how sassy the hula dancers could be as they flaunted their hula moves to three of the sexiest hula favorites! Talk about sexy . . . you need to see Makali`i Thronas, haumana of Maka, shake his hula hips. Oo-la-laaa!  He and Ku`ulei Keamoai led the dances from the stage.

Nathan announced, “Only $570 so far. Come on, gang!”
Maka flung open an `ukulele case on the stage and members of the audience were running up to fling their cash donations in there.

A heartwarming hula was performed by Henri-Rose Kaui from Maka’s halau. Her mother was Aunty Queenie, who taught hula on Kaua`i for half a century. She got up from her wheel chair and danced Lena Wai`ale`ale Machado’s Ho`onanea while standing on her feet. It was totally chicken skin to witness her gracefully dance to the harmonizing a capella singing by the musicians. Maka’s beautiful lead vocals and Keikialoha’s awesome piano playing was a delight. When they stopped the instruments, they sounded like angels harmonizing.

Uncle Nathan had spent a lot of time in Japan. In fact, he confessed he almost got a Japanese citizenship because he loved it so much in Japan, especially Hokkaido. While in the Ishikari Temple parking lot, he watched the moon rising over the rose garden and wrote a medley of two songs — Moon Over Ishikari and My Ishikari Rose. His kupuna ladies, looking lovely and youthful in their colorful dresses, danced these two auana numbers.

At this point, Onio blew the pu and Nathan announced that they had collected $2,029 in the collection bowls and if they hit $5,000 he would shave off his beard … again. “We want your long fingernails and toenails,” shouted Aunty Bev. “I will do that for five grand,” joked Nathan.

Of course, our singing Mayor can’t escape being recruited to the stage so he was asked to join the singers. He graciously obliged. Boom Shaka Laka Maka and his haumana, Makali`i Thronas, looked too sexy, sassy and smooth as they suggestively danced to Noho Paipai, The Rocking Chair Hula. Definitely not about growing old and sitting in a rocking chair. By now, Keikialoha was going wild with his amazing piano playing.

A second Hula Merry-Go-Round of slow music for the AARP crowd with Aunty Bev’s beautiful singing of Aunty Maiki Aiu Lake’s Aloha Kaua`i and Bob Nelson’s Hanalei Moonagain brought dancers up to the stage. Aunty Bev shared that Aunty Maiki  wrote the song when she visited Kaua`i and was shown great hospitality by Sarah Kailikea of the Menehune Gardens in Nawiliwili. There is never too much dancing when it comes to hula.

Beverly also announced that last year her `ohana had donated $855 to the Malie Scholarship fund and, although Jerry Lewis always says to add one dollar more the following year, this year her `ohana had topped their own gift by donating a makana of $2,365 to the EKK fundraiser. Her generosity is topped only by her Earth Mother smile.

All too soon, the time ran out and everyone joined hands to sing Hawai`i Aloha. What a memorable way to spend a Leap Year Day!  EKK 2016 is one for the memory books; every week has been unforgettable and we have only three more Mondays left to Leap Into Hawaiian Music.
* * * * *

If you have a disability and need assistance for Monday events please email Carol Yotsuda at giac05@icloud.com.

Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”
E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai`i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua`i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua`i Beach Resort.
Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai`i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

* * * * *

How to buy tickets for the Willie K Concert:
Outlets:  EKK Mondays, Kaua`i Music & Sound, Scotty’s Music, Island Soap & Candleworks; only general admission tickets left.

2 03, 2016

Makana’s Gift of Music Who’s Coming Up on Monday, February 29?

2021-10-12T18:03:50-10:00EKK 2016|0 Comments

EKK 33  — “Community Hula Night”
A Night of Hula! Hula! Hula!
Three Hula Circles:  Hula `auana by Ku`ulei Keamoai & Kawaiola Yaris, Hula kahiko about Makahiki by Mauli’ola Cook & Pua Gomes; Hapa-Haole Hula by Nathan Kalama and Maka Herrod
Plus eight Kaua`i halau will be represented by their dancers
Top-notch Hawaiian Hula Music
Malie special hula le`a featuring Nathan, Maka, Aunty Bev Muraoka

Ekk makana

EKK:  Makana’s Gift of Music

The Foundation Years:

“This is not a concert in the usual sense but a chance for me to share some of the things I don’t often have the time to do because I’m trying to be awesome and show off; I want to share with you the gifts given to me by my kupuna.”

Makana is well aware that many who attend EKK regularly have a sophisticated knowledge and appreciation of Hawaiian music. They may be malihini or kama`aina, but they are “in the know” in this arena.

He first showed up at EKK 2003 during half-time when a little birdie told him that Aunty Nona had a medical emergency and could not show up at EKK that night. He was 25 years old and had long hair and was actively building his budding music career.


Since that first encounter 13 years ago, GIAC has organized various gigs for Makana — at Island School EKK and with Jason Mraz at Kilauea Theatre in 2005, at the 2006 Makana Masquerade CD release Halloween party at Joe’s on the Green, at Makana SlackRock at KCC PAC in 2007, at EKK 2008 with Stephen Inglis, at the MakanaLive CD party at the Waipouli Hotel Lounge where he stood up on the table to let out his primordial scream, at the Kilohana Anniversary New Year’s Eve Fundraiser for Poutasi Concert in 2009, at the EKK 2010 Alice in Wonderland Masquerade concert, with the HPU Orchestra at KCC in 2015, and several smaller gigs. Each time he has presented a completely different show for the audience. Yes!  GIAC has had a long history with Makana, and Makana has had a long love affair with Kaua`i.

When I introduced him I said that Makana is unpredictable, a bit scary, and always entertaining. In a discussion I was having with a highly respected composer, the late Uncle Dennis Kamakahi, he summed up Makana’s contribution to Hawaiian music in a simple statement, “Makana is a musical genius.”

Coincidentally, Makana opened his program with a one of my favorite Dennis Kamakahi songs about the edible shellfish in the mountain streams of Molokai, E Hihi Wai. He prefaced the song with the spoken lyrics in English and Hawaiian.

Unabashedly candid, he traced his musical encounters from his early pre-teen days when he was taking lessons from the famous ‘ukulele teacher Roy Sakuma. When his Dad asked him to play a song on the `ukulele, Makana said he needed his book. His irritated Dad told him to just play anything without his book, so he played Zippy De Doo Da andSupercalifragilisticexpialidocious. “Play something Hawaiian,” said his Dad.  “I don’t know anything Hawaiian,” replied Makana. His Dad started yelling and 9-year-old Makana started crying. “I never knew who had the worst temper – my mom or my dad.”

“My Dad is from Minnesota . . . very strict.” In their home they just listened to Christian and Hawaiian music. When he was in the fourth grade he was doing homework at William Lau’s home when he heard the radio. “What’s that?” he asked. His puzzled classmate asked, “What? You mean the radio?”  This new amazing discovery opened the floodgates for Makana. In the next few weeks he had memorized every song and artist on every station.

The Slack Key Journey:

Last year was his 25-year anniversary with slack key. One day he was watching a program on TV called Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key where he saw Raymond Kane and Bobby Moderow. He attended the Ki Ho’alu Festival with his mom where he saw Raymond Kane and the 20-year old Bobby Moderow playing. His not-shy Mom dragged Bobby over to her son and told him, “You’re going to teach my boy.” Scared of Makana’s mom, Bobby agreed and thus began Makana’s journey with slack key.

Makana and his Dad started lessons with Bobby. Proud of his Portuguese heritage, Bobby makes sure everyone understands him completely, so the lessons were packed with a lot of verbal instructions and a few minutes of play. It did, however, give Makana a solid foundation, enough so that when Bobby took him to Raymond Kane’s home with the one song that he had learned in three months, and Raymond asked this 11-year-old skinny haole boy to play, Raymond growled to the other 18 slack key students “This is how to play slack key; you guys all rubbish!” He did Bobby proud. As Makana’s interest grew, he sought out Sonny Chillingworth as his teacher, mentor and friend.

“Slack key – what is it?” It was never meant for concerts; it’s a backyard folk music. “The music I am playing for you tonight is fast disappearing. I’m not here to impress you but to edify you about a culture that is fast disappearing.”

When the missionaries demonized everything Hawaiian, slack key music went into hiding. Ki Ho`alu is a very private style of music that musical families guarded with a great deal of secrecy. As artists began to record, however, slack key began to grow in popularity, and very recently, a slack key exhibition, dedicated to the contributions of the Ki Ho`alu greats, was installed in the Grammy Museum at the Smithsonian in D.C.

He then explained how he plays the bass rhythm with his thumb and the melody with his fingers playing only on the top two strings. He demonstrated how the bass, rhythm and melody comes together so a beautiful symphonic sound comes out of a single guitar played by a single musician. Because the three are so malleable, slack key is unique to each individual style. He played an example of Gabby’s style followed by Atta Isaac’s mambo-jazz style. Known as a traditional Hawaiian musician, Gabby was Influenced by big bands, jazz and Three Dog Night, whose rock ‘n roll licks he incorporated into one of his songs. Makana stated that there is no such thing as traditional Hawaiian music because the music is always evolving.

One of the most revered slack key artists was Fred Punahoa from Kalapana on the island of Hawai`i, whose style is carried on by the Sonny Lim and Ledward Kaapana lineage. It’s a style that is fun and playful. To demonstrate, he played Pau Pilikia  and Maunaloa Slack Key, which he calls The Poi Song.

I recall the first time I saw Makana play at Kukui Grove Center stage. He might have been 17 years old and playing The Poi Song. Over the years that song went through many iterations until one day he was playing it with one foot while balancing on the other leg. It still seems to be one of his favorite songs to play. At that time I thought to myself, “He’s cute but I wonder how long he’ll be around.” Well . . . I got my answer.

Jazz hugely influenced Hawaiian music during the early 20th century; Hawaiian Swing Jazz was from 1916 to 1920 one of the biggest selling styles of music in the world. To demonstrate, he played How’s Ya Do?

A voice from the audience called out, “No forget sing!”
His reply, “I forgot how!”

Tongue-in-cheek, he confessed that he was toying with the idea of creating a virtual reality of himself to perform so he could sit back, plant kalo and collect royalties. Not far fetched because he loves growing his own food.

Uncle Cyril Pahinui, son of Gabby, who Makana considers a gentle and loving man, a huge supporter of Makana’s music and an amazing force in Hawaiian music, was greatly influenced by Atta Isaac. Panini Puakea is a song that Cyril recorded.

Makana’s piece de resistance in role-playing brought to life one of his primary mentors, Raymond Kane, who is “a character, kolohe and grumpy but the sweetest old man and a very unique individual; he’s a conundrum.”

Imitating Raymond’s raspy guttural voice and mannerisms, Makana shared a story about his friend Bill who came all the way from Texas to learn from the master. Raymond asked Bill to show him what he knew about slack key. Raymond stroked and admired Bill’s guitar, walked over to the rubbish can, threw the guitar in there and told Bill, “Boy! Forget all that crap you learned on that Hohner guitar,” and handed him an old guitar to use. “We’ll start from scratch and I will teach you everything.”

After a year of studying with Uncle, Bill was invited to come over to the house. Raymond said, “I gotcha something; this is for you,” and handed Bill a beautiful $5,000 Lowden guitar. Makana said, “That is the Hawaiian style. When you take away everything you think you knew, it makes room for the new things you’re going to learn.”

Chillingworth and Kane. Both masters in slack key and very different in style, but each had no use for the other and criticized the way that the other played. After a Ki Ho’alu performance, Raymond launched into Makana, “Don’t play all that crap your learned from Uncle Sonny. Sonny got no soul,” and cautioned the embarrassed Makana about playing all that flashy music. “Back in the olden days, the cowboys played the music to put the cows to sleep so they didn’t play too loud and too fast. Boy! Don’t wake the cows!” Makana then played Punahele, a soft and mellow instrumental with a great deal of soul.

Makana said that people think he’s a radical crazy maniac, which he is, but he is like the banyan tree because it has long roots that run as deep as the branches grow high. For him, slack key music is like breathing; it gives him peace. People do not come to hear slack key at concerts. If that is all he played, he would need to get a day job. He then sang the beautiful Pauoa Liko Ka Lehua.

He interrupted himself with an aside:  “I think Carol should run for Governor. If you do, I’ll write you a campaign song,” he said, turning to me to continue and hinting at his passion for politics which seems to be occupying a great deal of his time and energies of late. “When I think of Carol, I think of that picture of Atlas holding up the Earth.” To see Makana’s political side, go to https://www.facebook.com/makanafans/videos/10153266219135863/

What song represents the Beamer brothers? There is no contest. He launched into the most hilarious version of Mr. Sun Cho Lee with all the sounds, and ethnic embellishments that artists often add to the verses to clarify each race. He prefaced his song with a straw poll to see how many in the audience were familiar with words like Borinki, Portagee, Kepani, Pa-ke or Chang and who had never heard this song before. “If you are offended, don’t come back!” he gave fair warning. There were some newbies present, but they quickly got inducted into the local style of making fun of all the races but in a playful and fun way. It was a Cliff’s Notes condensed lesson on growing up in this crazy stew pot of ethnicities; it’s hilarious but it’s also “Edumacation” about life in Hawai`i. He also changed several words to be current in what’s going on in Hawai`i. Makana’s favorite verse was sung with typical Pilipino accent and enunciation, pointing out that Pilipino has plenty pride – pried chicken, pried egg, pried rice.

“We are missing two key verses.” Recognizing a glaring omission in the ethnicities represented in the song, Makana proceeded to make up a verse for the Portagee race, making sure to capture their best known characteristic — the gift of gab. Thus was created “Bobby Souza who had plenny for talk about so you couldn’t get a word in all night.” Another tongue-in-cheek addition was about “Miss Carol Yotsuda, who had plenty aloha for everybody … when everybody going aloha her?”

The guitar soundtrack of this song is so important because, like in the movies, it builds anticipation for each line that you know is coming and is so playful, just like the lyrics.

Old Favorites and New Original Music:

Dad was strict about what music Makana was exposed to. He was so hungry for music and was absorbing everything he heard. He felt he was blessed to learn from so many masters in Hawaiian music that really helped him to establish a strong untainted foundation as he became exposed to new music by Leo Kottke, Jimmy Paige and others whose music impacted his development.

Not resting on his musical laurels, Makana wanted to debut a new song that is based on an old song that was adapted and set to music by Alice Namakelua who has a style similar to Raymond Kane. He sang Kamanu in the original style that had been recorded by many. The lyrics tell a tragic Romeo and Juliet love story so full of passion. Makana changed it to a fast-paced dynamic instrumental with a chant-like melody very different from the original song. His friend described it as Led Zeppelin meets Elvis meets Brothers Cazimero; exactly what Makana was going for.

Deep in an Ancient Hawaiian Forest is an instrumental song recorded on the soundtrack for the movie Descendants. With the passing of Raymond Kane, Genoa Keawe, and a number of other masters, Makana was feeling the urgency of this transitional time and the fact that this place where generations of people called home is being destroyed in such a short span of time, i.e., the `ohia trees and blossoms on Hawai`i island being decimated by disease. The lyrics plead to the kupuna to “give to us your eyes so we can see the future through your eyes.” We take for granted our way of life. This song speaks to the urgency of a culture that is being destroyed.

He chose to add lyrics to the song, Ku`u Lei o Ka Po, My Lei of the Night, with the help of a friend with the command of ‘olelo Hawai`i in a very special place, a private home that houses the world’s largest collection of Polynesian artifacts and treasures of other cultures. There is so much mana in the room that he was shaking just by being surrounded by all these priceless artifacts.

The song had the most insane tuning, which is why Makana never plays it live; the tuning could take as long as the song. But tonight he wanted to play the song for us. The leo of the song was pleading; it was like a pule woven into the poignant strains of the strings on the slack key guitar. The final lines were like a primordial call out to the universe, a plea for positive action to reverse the increasing negative trends that are surrounding and choking us.

He put out a challenge to all Hawaiian musicians to use their music  to do what is necessary to perpetuate the culture. Although much of Hawaiian music is fun and playful, playing only music that is light, fun and joyful does not help people who are facing genocide. Musicians need to go deeper with the intention of composing songs that address the issues. We (musicians) have the voice; we go out to sing for the world and take the message, so we need to be mindful of the power and the role of musicians to make a change.

I wrote earlier that Makana has had a long love affair with this nurturing island called Kaua`i. He tried for many years to write this song but did not know how to do it because he did not know where to start.  So finally the song came to him and he wanted to debutKaua`i for the EKK audience. It’s an instrumental so it conveys feelings with sounds that create pictures in your mind. When you close your eyes and let the music take you on an aerial view of the island, you soar over the chiseled mountains and lush valleys with so many shades of green juxtaposed against the brilliant red Kaua`i earth, with brilliant silver strings of waterfalls slicing through the face of the cliffs. You marvel over the rolling hills with subtle hues of colors, set against the dense forests and the quilts of tidy taro fields. You see the remnants of tidy little plantation towns spread strategically along the one road that goes around the island, gradually spreading out like fingers and beginning to touch each other. Tiny little harbors along the coastline provide venues to connect with each other by ocean and to the outside world. The waves tumble in endlessly over white, brown and black sandy beaches, changing the sand bars at the mouth of each river where local folks spend a good part of their lives. You can enjoy the dolphins and turtles swimming alongside your ocean craft and watch the water for that glorious splashing tail of a breaching whale. As you stretch your eyes out to the horizon, you see the blue expanse of ocean blending into the sky without a hint of a horizon except for a line of clouds waiting for the setting sun to set the panoramic sky ablaze with a palette splashed from the heavens. I leave you with this melody of words inspired by music at the hands of a musical genius.

Koi, from his Koi CD is one of Makana’s signature songs in which his distinctive slack-key style shines. Lotta whistles and huge applause. Of course no performance by Makana is complete without Ku`ulei Awapuhi by Emily Taylor. He played this song standing up so you could get the whole effect of his style of slack key. Hana hou screams by the standing audience prompted Makana to play and sing Cuanda Calienta el Sol, a Spanish song that had been recorded by Sonny Chillingworth.

This Gift of Music evening was nothing short of exceptional on many levels.


In the opening 45 minutes of the program, EKK fans and volunteers put on a fun-filled unique fashion show inspired by the youthful Fashionistas of Harajuku near Tokyo, Japan.

It was a fun way to fill a forty-five minute block of time and to raise some donations for EKK 2017.



George Costa, Office of Economic Development, Director, County of Kaua`i
Louda Larrain, Artist, Textile & Fashion designer, Louda Collection Couture
Art Umezu, Japan Marketing Specialist for Sports & Cultural Arts, County of Kaua`i
Mitsuru Umezu, President of Sakura Systems, Japanese Language and Business; former Fashion Accessories Designer in Tokyo


GRAND PRIZE:  Chie-Chan & Ainalani — Design by Chie Takahashi
$100 award from Keiko Napier at Blu Umi, Hanapepe

FIRST RUNNER UP: Ama-li-ahhhhh — Amalia Gray & Her Daughter;
design by Jodi Ascuena
$75 cash award from John Underwood, Island Architecture & Design

$75 Award from KIKO Gallery — Kamala; design by Mizu Sumida

The Wine Shop & Kukui Grove Cinema Awards: Midnight Rider, Justin; design by Mizu Sumida
La Spezia Restaurant Award: Kamala; design by Mizu Sumida
Koloa Rum Award:  Sir Patrick; model and design by Patric Knight
Puuwai Gallery Award: Yumi-chan; design by Jodi Ascuena
Kauai Nut Roasters Award: Taylor Oda; design by Magenta Billet
Kalaheo Café Award: Poipu Lolita;  model & design by Diane Wry
Joe’s On the Green Award: CocoPuff; model & design by Christine Bayley-Wortley

The Kamoa `ukulele beautifully decorated by Max Graham was won by Dan Retuta of Crestone, Colorado.

* * * * *

If you have a disability and need assistance for Monday events please email Carol Yotsuda at giac05@icloud.com.

Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”
E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai`i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua`i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua`i Beach Resort.
Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai`i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

* * * * *
How to find buy tickets for the Willie K Concert: Tickets will be available for purchase at the Feb 29 EKK event

23 02, 2016

EKK: Manuela Boy! My Dear Boy! Who’s Coming Up on Monday, February 22?

2021-10-12T18:03:50-10:00EKK 2016|0 Comments


Monday, February 22, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 – Leap Into Hawaiian Music
6 p.m. – 6:50 p.m. – Harajuku Fashion Show
7:10 p.m. – 9 p.m. – The One and Only MAKANA
Kaua`i Beach Resort Jasmine Ballroom
Contact:  giac05@icloud.com
Here is the link to EKK on Facebook:

EKK:  “Manuela Boy! My Dear Boy!”

Manuela Boy! My dear boy! You no mo’ hilahila
No mo’ five cents, No mo’ house.
Go `A`ala Paka hiamoe!

This ditty that we sang as kids took on real life form for us when we met Lito Arkangel, a home-grown product of Kea`au on Hawai`i Island. Today a popular musician, dedicated teacher, father of three children with his beautiful wife Rayna, Lito still embodies many of the qualities of the delightful Manuela Boy we all knew in our lives growing up.

A child of divorced parents raised by his mother, he grew up in a family-oriented community where everybody’s house was his home for which he is thankful, because who he is today is the result of the goodness of those who looked after him as a child. His friends and neighbors all had great big families and all of them treated him as one of them. Lito is grateful that he attended Kea`au Elementary School because everyone he knows went to that same school; everyone knew and cared about each other. He appreciated that his teacher gave him the gift of music and song. In the military he was so homesick that he wanted to cry all the time; the music helped him to cope with the homesickness. He credits his Irish/Cherokee mother for her gift of a “guilty conscience” coupled with a lot of freedom, because without that he might have gone down the wrong path like many of his friends had done. Everything is about making the right choices. He perseveres to hold that gift and strives to do right by her. For all the hard times they once gave her, she tells him, “I watch your kids when I want to!”

Having served in the US Navy in the Persian Gulf War Conflict on board the USS O’Brien and earning a degree at UH Hilo, he lectures at UH Hilo in the departments of Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language, Kinesiology and Performing Arts. Musically, he began singing at backyard jams and is today recognized as a falsetto favorite whose recent CD, Lito Arkangel … Me Ke Aloha, a 15-year labor of love, was a finalist in the 2015 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards competition. “In this day of digital downloads, CDs are not really a good commercial investment, but just consider it a real expensive calling card.”

Taking the EKK gig as an opportunity to spend some quality time together, Lito and Rayna spent a Valentine’s Day date on Kaua`i away from his three kids and renovations to his new old house. Smart move. He reminded men that it is so important to treat the women in your life right. As much as you don’t want to listen, it’s important to zip your mouth, and listen, because in the end, guys always have the last say, “Yes, dear!”

When Lito sings, he sweeps his listeners along with the sheer power of his performance, his dynamic and often surprising falsetto, his animated expressions, vigorous `ukulele strumming and the many stories that share his personal connection with every song. Without that personal connection, the songs lose their meaning to Lito; without that meaning, the songs do not have the power that he packs into every performance. It was certainly a treat to have this artist share his music on Kaua`i.

Accompanying him on steel guitar was his silent partner with his vast experience and musical mana packed into the awesome strains of his vintage Rickenbacker Lap Steel Guitar. Dwight Tokumoto, a long time teacher in special education in San Jose and Hawai`i, today spends his partial retirement working at a Charter School in Hilo. This gives him a lot of time to pursue his musical passions, something that started many years ago when he bought his first $25 Dobro at a garage sale. It was so old that parts of it were screwed together. He’s come a long way and today plays music with the Kahulanui Big Island Singers, a nine-piece Hawaiian Swing Band. Dwight is married to Pua Tokumoto who produces the Tahiti Fete in Hilo. Together, they operate the Waipunalei Hawaiian Coffee Farm in Laupahoehoe. If you ever have a chance to sit and chat with this fine gentleman, you will discover a fascinating person with a lifetime of musical experiences.

Lito’s stories set the stage for each song that he chose to share, beginning with a short chant. Many of the songs were well known favorites but his passionate delivery was truly Lito’s own style and interpretation. In Hawai`i, there are two kinds of pohaku, or rocks. The rocks full of puka, or holes, are like women; they can take a lot of heat. The solid rocks are like men, you heat them up and they crack and explode. With this observation, he dedicated his first song to women. Gently picking out the melody on his ‘ukulele, Lito chose the perfect song for his voice – sweet, soft, sometimes soaring, melodic, full of emotion. Pua `Olena by Jimmy Kaholokula, is a song that exemplifies humility . . . a quality that has been pounded into Lito by his mother, his kupuna and all the wonderful women who healed, supported and fed him. The graceful hula dancer Kainani Viado, dressed in her Valentine red, shared her dance. Lito sent this song out to the entire Kaholokula family who just lost Robbie, younger son of composer Jimmy Kaholokula.

Lito has that indescribable quality and charismatic personality that makes you want to just hang out with him. When he’s singing you want to call out, “Don’t stop singing!” Lito poured his heart out with his amazing falsetto in his favorite love song Kealoha. He loved that his music prompted the hula dancers, Mahina Baliaris and Yumi Teraguchi-Locey, to share their hula.

He spoke about the composer of one of his favorite songs; she hails originally from Anahola and now makes her home on Hawai`i Island. When he was a 17-year-old high school senior who also attended college at UH Hilo, he met Kainani Kahaunaele. As a youngster he loved the boxes of 8-tracks that belonged to his Dad, a Viet Nam vet who worked in the plantation factory. Lito used to play them and especially loved the music of Karen Carpenter. He sang her song, Close to Me because he felt such a connection to that song. When he met Kainani, he believed that Karen Carpenter had come back into his life as Kainani Kahuanaele, his Hawaiian Karen Carpenter. He said that she is today one of the most successful haku mele artists in Hawai`i with songs that have so much depth and meaning. One day Kainani needed to record the song Lei Ho’oheno for a friend’s wedding since she could not be there in person. She asked Lito to sing the background music and play the `ukulele for the recording “because you’re a better `ukulele player than I am.” He was so stoked with her compliment. He said that the `ukulele is the easiest instrument to learn to play but it’s also the most difficult instrument to master because there is so little to work with. He was surprised to learn that Kainani had composed that song for her friend Maikalani, whose daughter turned out to be Lito’s niece. Small world and a really special personal connection to the song.

He talked about Hale `Olelo, a beautiful new building on the UH Hilo campus where Hawaiian culture will thrive. Larry Kimura wrote a wonderful song called Kulaiwi, orNative Land, for this building. Lito’s enthusiasm as he spoke about the building and the song that Larry Kimura wrote was so contagious that it made you want to fly over to Hawai`i just to take a look at it, a testament to the efforts of all those who played significant roles in making the resurgence of the Hawaiian language a reality in this lifetime. Preparing to come to Kaua`i, he asked Kumu Kimura if he could share this song with the people of Kaua`i. It’s not a well-known song but one that he loves.

Lito needs a personal connection to each song in order to sing it. One way he makes that connection is to play, play, play the song until he gets sick of it. It then becomes his own to really sing and interpret in his own style. This is what he did with the song Pua `Ahihi by Maddy Lam and Mary Kawena Pukui. What was his connection with this hula classic?

His friend Rupert Tripp Jr., who is like his big brother, took him to play a duet at the Brown’s Beach House Restaurant, a place where the hula dancers rule. These kumu hula dancers choose the songs that the musicians are to play. He talked about Danny Girl, a veteran hula dancer who always “allowed” the musician to play the first verse so she could make a graceful entrance when they sang the first verse again. Danny Girl danced to Pua `Ahihi which Lito learned just to play for her. When he and Rupert Jr. were hired to play at Breakfast at Tiffany’s at Waikoloa, the wealthy clientele took so long to exit after the event that they ended up singing Pua`Ahihi eight times in a row. He wanted to record the song on his CD. Sadly, he learned that Danny Girl had passed away from cancer, but he was glad he had the chance to play for her.

Because of the controversy going on up at Mauna Kea, some of his students ask if they could skip class to participate in the protest. He told them to make sure all within their kuleana was done first before they go up to the mountain. “Which is more important? Your education or Mauna Kea?” He posed that question to the students. Of course, they chose to go up to the mountain, but Lito chose to mark them absent. His favorite musician is Gary Haleamau, who used to play for many years in Waikiki in the days when Hawaiian music was everywhere and now resides in Las Vegas. Gary’s family wrote a song about the mountain between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, a place called Pohakuloa. What an extraordinarily beautiful song, and Lito’s falsetto is simply at its best in this song.

When asked to play on the Kamoa `ukulele that was going to be given to one lucky winner, he sang another kupuna favorite from west Hawai`i. I Kona is truly his kind of song; it gave Lito a chance to hit the rafters. After intermission, the Kamoa `ukulele was won by Stan Greenbaum, one of our loyal snowbirds who lives part time in Kapa’a and part time in Colorado. Sitting in the front row, he took a hop, a skip, and a jump to pick up his `ukulele.

Just as Elton John sang about how he wished he had met Marilyn Monroe, Lito wished that he had met Aunty Edith Kanaka`ole while she was alive. He is thankful that he is very close friends with their entire family — daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, all of whom follow closely in her footsteps. He was honored when Kekuhi Kanaka`ole haku mele, or composed an `oli for his CD release party and told him that he was special. He feels a close connection with Edith Kanaka`ole because of her song Ka `Uluwehi O Ke Kai. He feels that the ocean is such a profound resource that provides everything that one needs and that it is important to malama the ocean. He believes that Hawai`i is a place where self-sustainabilty is possible but we all need to do it together. When he was playing music in Japan last April, he invited the Japanese hula dancers to stand up and dance wherever they were and was thrilled to see dancers popping up all over the concert hall in which he was singing. Another thrilling thing was a shout-out, “Welcome to Japan, Bruddah Lito!” from the famous Sumotori Konishiki who had come to see him perform in Japan. Just as they did in Japan, many hula dancers at EKK went up to perform to this classic hula – Namaka Lindsey, Mahina Baliaris, Elena Gillespie, Kainani Viado, Pua Raines, Alex Nelson and a lovely snowbird. There was so much joy and enthusiasm in the way Lito sings Ka `Uluwehi O Ke Kai. He made it seem so fresh and new.

An interesting point Lito made was that in Hilo nobody claps. It’s  disturbing to some artists, but that’s just the way it is in Hilo. There is so much talent on the island and there are parties all the time; lu`au for every occasion happens every weekend. Lito asked himself what his kuleana as musician was at a lu`au. A birthday lu`au for a one-year-old is not for the musician; it’s a mahalo for everyone who helped to raise the baby during the first year. The party is not about the musician; a musician is there to complement the celebration. So he is fine with no clapping or applause when he plays. The majority of his gigs are comprised of playing at the Celebration of Life for the departed. He sings to help heal people. Sometimes he is so moved by the pent-up emotions that he has to excuse himself to his car and call his wife to tell her how much he loves her. It makes him realize how short and precious life really is. Funerals are a time to pay final respects for the departed and all the energy must go to the mourning.

Lito meant to share the song Kaleohano as his Leap Year surprise, but another song came up and took its place on his playlist. It turned out to be one of the most moving songs of the evening. He heard this song when playing with Ernie Cruz, Sr. at the Lei`aloha Ranch. Closing his eyes, he took his time in each song so you could get the essence of the melody and the lyrics, often shifting from a whisper to a full crescendo as the emotion of the song dictated. “English and Hawaiian songs are often closely related,” said Lito, as he went into an unexpected medley combining a beautiful song sung by Willie Nelson, Angels Flying Too Close to the Ground, with Manu O’o. Singing back and forth between the two songs, one could feel the connection of the imagery between the flying angels and the graceful flying bird of Hawai`i. Lito’s soulful version of Manu O’o is truly memorable. Dwight’s steel sounds were so perfect for this song.

Lito warned about growing up kolohe (rascal) on a small island because word really gets around if your actions are not pono. He shared Princess Kekaulike’s song written in the 1880s about flirting in the rain in Hilo. That unusual rain is called Kani Lehua with sudden loud bursts of torrential rain that stops as quickly as it starts, often on a hot sunny day. He demonstrated how the rain falls in sudden heavy bursts . . . like gossip. Kauai I Ka Nani `O Hilo is about a man and a woman stuck in the rain with the conversation going back and forth between the two. He once had the idea of singing both parts of the conversation with his low bass voice and his high falsetto, but decided he should just sing the male version. He wanted to sing it with the suave charm and swagger of Johnny Almeida who in his day was the smoothest operator who used to sometime sings as long as eight hours on the radio. As he sang he tried to embody every bit of what he saw in the charming Johnny Almeida. This song was connected with his story of how he and Rayna ended up together.

It happened at the Pali Room at the famous Naniloa Hotel, a party place nicknamed “Break Wallet” because the drinks were so expensive. Thinking she had winked at him, or maybe she got something in her eye, he went to ask her to dance but was turned down flat and felt hurt and downhearted. After several attempts to reach her by phone, he gave up as she showed no interest in him. One day a mutual friend told him, “My friend Rayna like check you out.” Of course his wife Rayna’s version is that the same friend came and told her, “My friend Lito like check you out.”  A true matchmaker, her ploy worked. He wished he knew this song back in those days; it might have made it easier to hook up with her. Long story short, they are now happily married with three children.

He shared a story about the three piko in Hawaiian and his philosophy about living on the island. You really need to look for the positive in others. That is so important to be able to live on an island. He spoke about Connie Camarillo who was a great storyteller who gathered up the kids and told them ghost stories. Connie encouraged him to sing falsetto. When he was young he did not want to sing falsetto and be seen as a mahu but with the encouragement of this teacher and the singing in his high voice coming so naturally, he now embraces the style and is well known for his falsetto singing

Probably the song that was the most emotionally charged was his version of E Ku`u Morning Dew by Larry Kimura and Eddie Kamae. Lito sings with so much gusto, his face registers every possible emotion written into the song, moving from deep guttural sounds like old-time Hawaiian singers to the sudden high falsetto. He sang it first in his regular voice and the second time in his falsetto voice. “This song is my ‘reset button’.” When things go wrong he wakes up and sings this song and everything is all right again.  He said this song goes out to anyone going through an ordeal right now. He knows how to make things right with his music because he is so sincere and authentic.

As the music dies down and the magic angel dust settles, fans walk out the door with great sighs of appreciation for the music and the artists they just experienced. Here is one talented artist touched by the gift of God who will keep that humbleness because at his very core he is still a Manuela Boy who remembers his roots.

To Lito: Never lose that, because that is the very essence of what makes you such an exceptional musical messenger.
If you have a disability and need assistance please email Carol Yotsuda at giac05@icloud.com

Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”


E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua’i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua’i Beach Resort.

Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai’i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Who will win Harajuku `Ukulele painted by Max Graham?

Tickets for Concert will go on sale at EKK on February 22 Monday BEFORE the Fashion Show begins.
14 02, 2016

Aloha Music Camp Meets E Kanikapila Kakou! Who’s Coming Up on Monday, February 15?

2020-09-12T11:40:34-10:00EKK 2016|0 Comments

Who’s Coming Up on Monday, February 15?

Monday, February 15, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 – Leap Into Hawaiian Music
6 p.m. –`Ukulele hour with Lito; Talk Story about Steel with Dwight
7 p.m. – New to EKK, Lito Arkangel and Dwight Tokumoto from Hawai`i island will share their music and message with you.
Kaua`i Beach Resort Jasmine Ballroom
Contact:  giac05@icloud.com

feb 15

“Here We Go Again!
Aloha Music Camp Meets E Kanikapila Kakou!”

“We have such a good time whenever we come to Kaua`i.  The welcome is all very warm; you make us feel so special.  What we enjoy most is just to kanikapila together…so Que Sera Sera.”

These words were coined by the emcee of the AMC artists/instructors, Alan Akaka, a leader in the world of reviving and promoting the steel guitar. He did a masterful job of introducing and giving each artist a chance to share and to shine in the third year that EKK hosted “Community Aloha Night.” Once again the EKK audience could get a chance to hear the music and stories of so many talented kumu – ‘ukulele superstar Herb Ohta Jr. of O’ahu, well-known slack key artists Kevin Brown of Maui and John Keawe of Kohala, Hawaiian language expert Kaliko Beamer Trapp of Hawai`i island, kumu hula Uluwehi Guerrero of Maui, chanter Liko Puha who comes all the way from California, and Konabob Stoffer of Hawai`i island who handles a lot of the AMC coordination.

Additional AMC instructors who were not on the stage are Calvin Hoe of O`ahu, Mauli’ola Cook of Kaua`i, and luthiers Dennis Lake and Bob Gleason of Na’alehu on Hawai`i island.

Keola and Moanalani Beamer, the legendary leaders of the group had just flown in after an intense two-week concert tour up and down the west coast and were present to introduce the program. Keola, who serves as the artistic director of AMC, shared that the stellar cast on stage were not just excellent artists but inspirational teachers who really knew how to work with people.  “It’s not just about filling buckets; it’s about leaving a legacy of learning; it’s a magnificent skill set that these teachers bring with them. We all remember our teachers that shaped our lives.”

Alan skillfully maneuvered through the line-up. As they moved from one favorite song to another, it was thrilling to see each artist adding their unique style and instrument to the musical round robin. Like the “hot potato” game, each musician took a turn and quickly passed it on to the next musician with a nod, a wave, or by calling a name, never missing a beat until the whole song had been sculpted and shaped by each musician. It was interesting to hear how the basic song morphed ever so slightly as it moved from one artist to another. In between the music, the artists shared stories prompted by questions posed by Alan.

Sanoe by Queen Liliu`okalani was played by Herb Jr. Alan asked him if he would rather sing it. Herb’s quick reply, “No! Oh no, no, no!” On his new CD titled My ‘Ukulele World, Herb actually sings the vocal to his song. According to Alan, hearing Herb sing is as rare as a baseball card. As Herb picked out the melody on his `ukulele, Alan added the romantic strains of the steel. If you closed your eyes, you could picture dancers in formal dress in the days of the Monarchy as they waltzed gracefully across the ballroom floor.

The one thing that each artist did before they began to sing was to call out the Key they were playing so everyone could be on the same page musically.  “Key of G!” called out Kevin Brown as he started Island Style written by John Cruz. Of course the whole audience could follow along with the lyrics to this well known local favorite. “Key of C” called out Kaliko as he began Israel Kamakawiwo`ole’s Panini Pua Kea and passed the song down the line for others to add to it. John Keawe chose a Dennis Kamakahi classic,Wahine `Ilikea, to which many in the audience could sing along.

“Key of A!” shouted out Liko Puha as he started He Nani Mokihana, a Kaua`i song by Chinky Mahoe which is on one of the Makaha Sons CD.  A chanting instructor at AMC, Liko’s physical presence is so commanding as he boomed out the opening pule at the beginning of the show; he’s a gentle giant with his ever-present huge smile and even bigger heart.

“And now we have the import from Maui, You can tell he’s all in pink!” said Alan as he nodded to kumu hula Uluwehi Guerrero. Sure enough, he wore a flowered pink shirt, waved his wrist to show off his bright pink watchband, and held up his eye glasses so everyone could see that he had pink rims. Ever ready with a witty one-liner, Uluwehi said, “If there is a medical emergency, I am ready!”

Uluwehi is ready with his performance as well, as he called upon two of his hula dancers from Hokkaido, Japan. Known as “Uluwehi’s butterflies”, the two gorgeous dancers – Ku`uipo and O-Chan — in casual teal sundresses, stepped up to dance. In his melodic voice, Uluwehi sang Kipahulu by Hoku Rasmussen, who taught the Honolulu Boy’s Choir for many years. Kipahulu, birthplace of his great grandmother, is on the hot side of Maui island as you drive back from Hana. It is the resting place of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. “Key of F-u!” called out Uluwehi, as he would pronounce it in Japan.

Shouts of hana hou called for another hula by the Hokkaido hula dancers. “If you came all the way from Hokkaido, you need to do a hana hou!” Uluwehi introduced Pua Ahihi, a collaboration by Mary Kawena Pukui and Maddy Lam who wrote so many beautiful songs that became classics in the world of Hawaiian music as well as the world of hula.

Uluwehi felt compelled to share his amazement at the way that people worldwide are drawn to hula. He has been going to Hokkaido for 23 years, six times a year, and is often invited to teach all over Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Europe. He feels that it is the way our culture is shared with others; and that whenever you have the essence of aloha and go out and share that passion, it is embraced by others. “The heart of our culture is aloha based.”

Musical instruments are also showing up in many countries. When asked how he came to make his unusual stick bass, Konabob Stoffer shared that one day he was watching someone play a rope attached to a stick on a washtub.  Unable to locate a 40-gallon gas can, he thought that perhaps he could make similar sounds with easily accessible 2 x 4 sticks and weed whacker cord. It worked! Up to now he has made 470 of his unusual praying-mantis-looking stick basses which are now being played in the US, Germany, Japan and other countries.

Emphasizing the kanikapila jam style that musicians share at parties and casual gatherings the artists shared songs that were pulled from archives; we have not heard some of them for years. Moanalani Beamer will be teaching hula to an old almost-forgotten favorite from when we were kids. Puka Puka Pants by Eaton “Bob” Magoon was certainly a favorite long ago; it’s good that it’s not forgotten and will probably now see a revival along with the trendy new puka puka jeans which are higher priced the more pukas they have on them. Amazingly, the musicians all seemed to know this old party favorite. Bob Magoon, Ed Kenney and Gordon Phelps also collaborated and wrote Numbah One Day of Christmas in 15 minutes as they ate Chinese food at a Diamond Head home in the 1950’s. The song endures to this day and helped to legitimize the use of pidgin English in Hawai`i.

Kevin Brown responded to a song request from the audience with the familiar strains ofMr. Sun Cho Lee also by Bob Magoon and popularized by Ed Kenney. This song has become so popular not only at backyard parties but on the big stages. The original first verse about the stingy pa-ke man has grown into a full-blown description of every ethnic group under the witty and humorous pen of Keola Beamer. The lyrics poke fun at the excesses and stinginess of a “representative” of every ethnic group that comprises the landscape of races that came together as plantation towns were populated with immigrant workers from many countries.

Alan directed the question to each artist to share his own experience growing up in this ethnic stew pot of races, cultures, foods, language, pastimes and relationships. The results were an amazing very funny sharing of stories like you would hear sitting around in the garage. They all recalled playing marbles, hopscotch and jacks with their small-kid-time friends of many colors.

Uluwehi said that growing up in Hawai`i, all our families worked in the same place (plantations), everyone lived in the camps and there were no fences, we ate each other’s food and grew up together. Uluwehi shared a funny story about his sleepovers at his friends’ homes. His mother asked him if he was going to church with the family. “But they Buddhist,” he told her. “Never mind! You go church with them!” she insisted.

When Konabob Stoffer was asked, he said that he grew up in O-He-O (Ohio) where his mom told him to change the channel whenever bluegrass was playing because, “It will affect your IQ!”

When Alan asked Herb Jr. about growing up, Herb’s witty one-liner came back, “I haven’t grown up yet.” At which point Alan forgave him for not including him in his recent CD. Herb’s quick comeback was, “I will ask you when I grow up!”
Herb is a man of very few words but what he says always packs a punch.

“Hawai`i is so different; besides the weather, what brings you back here?” was the question posed. The reply was that people on Kaua`i are so friendly. To capture this in song, Uluwehi called out “Key of G!” and shared the beautiful and nostalgic Honolulu, I’m Coming Back Again!  This is a sentiment shared by many in attendance at EKK . . . the prime example being our “Snowbirds” who fly back each year when they hear the strains of Hawaiian music calling to them in their snowy ice-covered homes on the continent. A special treat was that Moanalani went up unexpectedly and thrilled everyone with her amazing hula. A true hula goddess, Moanalani obliged to shouts of hana hou and went up to the stage to dance Hi`ilawe. Smiling broadly, Kevin Brown pointed out how wonderful hula dancers looked from the back.

We interrupted the program to give away our Kamoa ‘ukulele which was a beautiful instrument with a plug-in “puka.” The most amazing thing is that for the third time in a row, a member of the Aloha Music Campers was the over-elated winner of this generous donation from Kamoa `Ukulele. Yvonne Panapuanani is a Hawaiian living in Boulder, Colorado who comes to AMC each year to learn the hula.  She nearly fainted when her name was called. Happy!  Happy!

Led by Herb Jr., Hene Hene Kou `Aka was the perfect song for the kanikapila jam session; it gave everyone one last chance to shine. They moved smoothly into the formal ending of the night with Hawai’i Aloha. In his fluent Hawaiian, Kaliko wrapped it all together in a final pule. He, together with Uluwehi and Liko had started the evening with an in-depth introduction to `Olelo Hawai`i in Hawaiian Music that gave the audience a chance to dig deeper into the meaning of the lyrics that make up the songs that they all love so much.

Garden Island Arts Council feels privileged to once again bring the Aloha Music Camp artists, so rich with talent, heart-felt sharing and a genuine feeling of aloha in all they do, to perform at the EKK program.  Hope to see you all next year!
If you have a disability and need assistance please email Carol Yotsuda at giac05@icloud.com

Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”

E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua’i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua’i Beach Resort.

Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai’i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

How to find EKK at the Kauai Beach Resort:

ekk dir

6 02, 2016

Who’s Coming Up on Monday, February 8?

2016-02-06T15:03:23-10:00EKK 2016|0 Comments


Who’s Coming Up on Monday, February 8?

Monday, February 8, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 – Leap Into Hawaiian Music
6 p.m. – 6:50 p.m. with Kaliko Beamer Trapp
`Olelo Hawai`i and its use in Hawaiian Music
(bring your `ukulele to play)
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.:  The Aloha Music Camp Artist/Instructors with Keola and Moanalani Beamer, Alan Akaka, Kaliko Beamer-Trapp, Kevin Brown, Uluwehi Guerrero, Mauli`ola Cook, Calvin Hoe, John and Hope Keawe, Herb Ohta Jr, Liko Puha and Konabob Stoeffer
Kaua`i Beach Resort Jasmine Ballroom
Contact:  giac05@icloud.com


EKK: When Musicians Take a Step Off the Edge

They are not a “trio” in the conventional world-of-music sense; they do not dress alike with matching aloha shirts . . . Guitarist Steve Inglis showed up wearing his black and white western attire; Keale came dressed up with long pants for the first time and bassist Chris Lau looked GQ-sharp with his new look, a kewpie-doll hair-do topping off his clean-cut good looks. Together, they were the unconventional trio with an evening of unconventional music. And the audience ate it up.

All three love “roots” music. Their spirited bluegrass opener, Manu Kapahulu, was about the Queen’s little finger that was equivalent to another person’s gesture using a different finger or their forearm.

Balancing that with the Hawaiian classic, Wai o Ke Aniani, played in a very different style, set the tone for the evening; this was not the night for ordinary! Chris’s pa`ani on the acoustic upright bass was pretty awesome. If you sit close to him you can feel the resonance in your chest. Brudda Keale always throws in his audience-interactive song, Ride The Sun, which gave everyone a chance to sing-along with the artists.

Steve sang Pua O Ke Aumoe, My Flower of the Midnight Hour, an exquisite love song written because he was missing his sweetheart so much that the sweet scent of the Puakenikeni ignited the love song. Steve and Uncle Dennis Kamakahi were spending some time in Kalaupapa on Moloka`i working on the songs for their collaborative CD titled Waimaka Helelei.

Keale shared his original song about Kaena Point at the end of the road on West O`ahu, a bleak landscape where the tiny orange five-petal Ilima blossoms grow in profusion. Kaena is bleak to the casual observer but not to Keale who was inspired by all the fragrances surrounding him. Keale described the rare ‘Ohai plant into which he buried his face to enjoy the smell of peaches and the ehukai or salt spray that kicked all the way up into the mountains. He captured and recorded his observations in his original song Pulakau Maka on his CD KEALE Motherland.

A fast tempo song about the midnight train titled Cold Sunday with Steve on lead vocals and the sound of the train whistles streaming off his guitar was yet another demonstration of his virtuosity. Slack key, Acoustic, Hawaiian, Rock n’ Roll, Country, Folk — you name it, Steve can play it.

Keale was asked to demonstrate on the soon-to-be-given-away Kamoa `ukulele. This gave him a chance to tell a fifteen-minute story for a three-minute song and he could not resist it. He did not talk about how the `ukulele got its name, but he gave a very informative and interesting insight into the more recent `ukulele phenomenon that has been sweeping the world as one of the fastest growing instruments of choice; he mentioned `ukulele super stars like Israel, Jake Shimabukuro, Taimane, Herb Ohta Jr., Kalei Gamiao, Aldrine Guerrero and others who have become internationally recognized for their virtuosity on the `ukulele. He shared the impact of George Harrison of the Beatles, the first ambassador of `ukulele who always carried two `ukulele wherever he went and whenever anyone said, “Wow! I always wanted to play the `ukulele,” he let that person play on it. No one called as much attention to the humble little instrument as George Harrison did. Keale then played Harrison’s favorite `ukulele number, I’ll See You In My Dreams. The winner for this week’s Kamoa `ukulele giveaway was none other than “Surf” of Kapa`a, who can now join his two youngsters in learning to play the `ukulele.

I had challenged the artists to do something they had never done before. “Terrified” and yet willing to step out of their comfort zone and venture into the unknown, Steve invited anyone in the audience to step up to the open mic and contribute to an extemporaneous haku mele. The trio began with soft background music and called on any brave souls to come up and “create it on the spot.” Vigil Alkana broke the ice by stepping on stage, cupping his hands and leaning into the mic making some soulful sounds like the whale songs. A tiny blond lady tiptoed to reach the mic and started making some really awesome melodic sounds. This amped up the background music and Steve began to add some lyrics to his music and to Vigil’s whale sounds. We finally had to give Vigil the gaff because a line was beginning to form off stage.

Catching everyone by surprise was a young Japanese rapper complete with the striped beanie on his head and the typical crouching posture of rappers. Not sure anyone understood any of the lyrics, but everyone caught the hand-clapping, toe-tapping beat of this delightful entertainer while his female companion danced her heart out in a wispy choreography quite in contrast to the rapper’s steady beat.

Yet another surprise. A tall, handsome gentleman, dressed like he came from an investment meeting or a golf game with some business tycoons, stepped up to the mic and the most delightful soft scat in a truly exquisite voice flowed easily from his lips. The tiny blond lady tiptoed again to reach the mic and brought the collaborative haku mele to a gentle close. What a total joyful surprise this extemporaneous number was. Steve started the “experiment” with, “We might probably surprise ourselves.” I am sure everyone will agree that the entire ensemble surprised and delighted everyone.

Another venture into the unknown was to play some very traditional Hawaiian songs in Quatro tuning on the `ukulele with some Mexican rhythms on the guitar and backed up with the rich bass sounds. They started with the classic Hi`ilawe sung more like a chant rather than a mele. It was a whole new song. So was O Oe Io with Keale’s rich mournful voice capturing the pensive mood of the song while Steve’s phenomenal command of the guitar made for unforgettable instrumentation. Waialae, about Grandpa’s favorite fishing spot off Kaimuki was also given a new sound with the Quatro tuning.

Steve was also red hot when he played a Maui song recorded in the 1970s by the Makaha Sons; I remember it as a rallying song by the UH football players. Keale shared an interesting story about performing with Steve in Sacramento. An elderly Hawaiian uncle came up to Keale requesting that the Hawaiian musicians should play more during the concert. Keale put a reality check on the situation telling the Uncle that Steve, the Haole guy, grew up in Palolo Valley and when you open your eyes and look at him you might see a Bob Dylan, but when you close your eyes, you hear a Gabby . . . that the leo of his voice is really Hawaiian. “This Brudda is more Hawaiian than me.” This comment left Steve speechless.

As a youngster Steve spent many summers in Moloka`i among the Kalaupapa residents with Hansen’s disease. He sang a kolohe Moloka`i song by Dennis Kamakahi about the poisonous red berry called the Kikania which grows on the panini cactus. The song apparently has some very interesting kaona.

Keale told a story about his indoctrination into the Hawaiian culture as shared with him by his uncles. One particular incident was a visit to a burial site where the bodies of the chiefs were placed upright with the feet at the top so that the skulls were buried in the ground. Even in death, the heads of the royalty could not be viewed by commoners.
Such a sacred burial is reserved for royalty. He sang the song Bury Me which he dedicated to Uncle Dennis, a person who, in his opinion, is so sacred.

Of course, no performance on Kauai is complete without Koke`e by Dennis Kamakahi. Immediately, Annie Punohu, Kainani Viado and Mahina Baliaris came forward to dance this hula favorite.

Unforgettable and a chicken skin moment was the combination of Ina Lejin’s exquisite hula to the richness of Keale’s voice reaching out to the distant shores of Niihau singing Ua Nani Niihau. The audience sat in awe with mouths open as this tall statuesque blond moved with the elegance of swaying bamboo. She was dressed in a black strapless long dress imprinted simply with green fern design and wearing a shiny black kukui nut lei with green Mokihana-like berries. She captivated the audience with her beauty and graceful fluid hula. What a treat! Steve’s guitar mastery was evident in all the songs but definitely topnotch in this song. It made you want to call out, “Don’t stop! Don’t stop!” You wanted to stretch the time out as long as possible.

What did some of our audience members say about their favorite numbers?

Aloha Carol,
I just really enjoyed the three of them playing together. But the “Leap Year Surprise” song was really inspired. I loved the music they came up with and then the folks that bravely got up on stage to add to it.
It was so spontaneous & fun!
Of course, I always love seeing/hearing Walt. He is such a genuine, sweet and talented man. Steven was amazing on the guitar and Chris
on bass was a great addition. I liked the mix of their musical choices, too.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems the programs get better and
better every year! Mahalo nui for the amazing job you do.
Looking forward to next week…
— Andrea Slevin

The japper (Japanese rapper), the opening song, the beautiful hula that made time stand still, the new version of Hiilawe, the country song of burying him with his head down and his toes up, some songs that the other guy did, did I miss anything?
One of the best EKK ever. Really
— Mizu Sumida

Aloha e Carol!
Kala mai, but enjoyed the music, but what was interesting was the song kekania . . . never heard it before and found it amusing. Used to use the orange hard berries to make leis, but remember my father telling us that it was poisonous. But the pheasants use to eat the berries . . . so poisonous??? Not sure, but when we were young, you jus’ listen to your parents . . . most of the time.
— Jill Kouchi

Aloha Carol,
As always I enjoy the real Hawaiian songs and music. The open mic though was a lot of fun and I thought the rapper was great. I loved when the blond lady came on stage to dance the hula. Her look and movements were just beautiful. What is her name? Thank you again for all the time and energy you put into making this such a success and gift to us all.
— Charlie Baker

Hi Aunty Carol
I looooved Keale’s Ua Nani Ni’ihau and Ina’s hula! I want to ask her to teach me that hula, so ono!
I loved Keale’s wala’au too. He so funny and aloha always lol
Another great evening, we are looking forward to the next week with Beamers. MAHALO NUI
— Yumi xoxo

As I reflect back, what really adds to the performance is the Talk Story as well as the interaction between the three musicians. Each is an accomplished musician. For one who has very little musical talent, I am always amazed as to what they can get out of their instruments.
All in all I just enjoy the Hawaiian music, regardless of the piece, as we have nothing like it in northern Michigan! The performances just add to our enjoyment of being here each winter – 15 years now.
— Lee Bowen

If referring to song ….. I’ll see you in my dreams… (The George Harrison song on the `ukulele)
— Melvin Kauahi

I don’t know the name, but it was one of the last ones where Steve played the guitar like a Rock Star, and Walt was right in there. The crowd liked it too.
— CarolSue (Carpenter) Ayala

If you have a disability and need assistance please email Carol Yotsuda at giac05@icloud.com
Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”

E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua’i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua’i Beach Resort.
Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai’i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

How to find EKK at the Kauai Beach Resort:

ekk dir

1 02, 2016

EKK Week 2 Wrap – Who’s Coming Up on Monday, February 1?

2020-09-12T11:40:33-10:00EKK 2016|0 Comments

Who’s Coming Up on Monday, February 1?

Monday, February 1, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Fabulous music by fabulous musicians will amp up your appreciation for the nuances of Hawaiian music when an unlikely combo brings on an evening of musical surprises — Stephen Inglis on guitar, Keale on `ukulele, Chris Lau on acoustic upright bass; all on vocals
*** `ukulele hour begins at 6 p.m. ***
Kauai Beach Resort Jasmine Ballroom
Contact: giac05@icloud.com


Into Another Dimension with Niihau-Style Kanikapila

Jody Ascuena, our local Hawaiian-speaking Brit from Newcastle, England and an avid student of Hawaiian language in her present life, was still in 7th heaven the morning after the EKK performance by the Niihau contingent. “I was transported! I don’t know where I was transported to but it was wonderful!” Teary-eyed and red-faced, she was recollecting all her favorite moments of the performance by the Triple Ts plus two Niihau `ohana at EKK. It was a rare opportunity for residents and visitors to get to see them perform.

Keiki’s Musical Debut

Their young nephew, John Austin Keiki`aloha Kaohelali`i, opened the program with his musical debut playing the baby grand piano, his favorite of the 16 musical instruments that he is able to play at this stage of his 17 years. Since this was his first solo public performance, he was extremely nervous so he scripted the entire performance right down to the audience reaction, writing, “…And when the applause dies down…” and the hokey but hilarious joke he interspersed for a little comedy (that’s what performers do, I guess).

I looked at his notes and thought to myself, this looks like a two-hour program, but he hit it right on the head and charmed the audience for 40 minutes, the exact time I allotted him for his opening segment. Three hymns or himeni, self-accompanied on the `ukulele, were his opening numbers, but the rest of the performance was a delightful selection of piano favorites which he played while narrating his story of how he came to be playing the piano Hawaiian style without any sheet music.

EKK being his solo debut for the public, Keiki was not a seasoned performer, but he managed to deliver a solid performance full of humor and superb mastery of the piano, which he has been playing now for almost two years. When I think about my own six agonizing and futile years of piano lessons (more agonizing for my teacher than for me), I could not believe my eyes and ears at his performance.

“November 19, 1998!”
Keiki described the day that he was born as if he were a fly on the wall witnessing the entire momentous event. His Mama did not know what to name him so, “I was pretty worried about that,” he comments. Luckily, Great Grandpa came to the hospital and sang to her Jesus Loves Me or Ke ike Aloha. His mom heard it as “Keiki Aloha” or “child of love,” thus he left the hospital as John Austin Keiki`aloha Kaohelauli`i.

Flash forward to the present where he is a senior at Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha. As a volunteer art resource teacher at KKNOK, I met Keiki when he was six years old. He was unforgettable as the colorful May Day King along with a delightful court of primary grade students all dressed in full May Day regalia by their aunties and uncles. So full of energy, this precocious little boy king was ready for moi moi (sleep) by the time the procession began. This precociousness and larger-than-life personality has been Keiki’s signature style along with his immediate mastery of just about anything that you could throw at him.

Still, it was a surprise for me to show up at his house and find him sitting in a little lean-to shack in the yard with his young buddies playing jazz on the clarinet like he was in a smoke-filled pub. Besides his favorite clarinet, he plays alto/soprano saxophone, violin, trumpet, cornet, trombone, ocarina, flute, harp, upright bass, steel guitar, concert ‘ukulele, harmonica (prisoner’s tune finder), melodica (the piano-like side of the accordion) and accordion (what everyone thinks a French person plays). Tonight at EKK he chose to concentrate on playing the baby grand piano in the colorful style of the Hawaiian aunties who used to pound out song after song at Hawaiian parties. Such a rare sight today.

He titled his piano segment “Centuries and Decades,” and while he kept up a humorous commentary of his recent development in piano-playing, he played lively snippets ofChopsticks, Beethoven’s Fur Elise, Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, Habonero, La Cucaracha, and a couple of Hawaiian mele for his family.
He later also played Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Kaulana Na Pua, Aloha Kaua`i,Makalapua, and Aloha ‘Oe.

One song he wanted to share, accompanied by `ukulele playing, was called The Kanikapila Song which he confessed his aunties told him Nathan Kalama had composed before he did, so he publicly apologized to Uncle Nathan Kalama sitting in the last row, “Sorry Uncle, I stole your song. Well … it came to me in a dream.” (Good save, Keiki!)

One person he credited as having a significant influence on why he began to play the piano as he does today is Mr. Shawn Texeira, a pianist for his Mom’s halau who he met two summers ago when he was stumped with chord progressions and harmonies. “Shawn taught me the C chord, the F chord, the A7 chord (dramatically pounding each chord out on the piano as he spoke), but Shawn wasn’t prepared for what I would later play on the piano. Shawn gave me the confidence I needed.”

Keiki feels that playing the piano does not have to always be so serious; he sometimes annoys the performers who are coming up next because after they so carefully tell him what to play for them, he will surprise them by inserting “the taps” or something unexpected and risqué. However, when the song calls for him to play it properly, he respectfully tries to play the song as it was meant to be played. This was evident when his aunties came up to take the stage because he was very sensitive to the songs they were singing and added the piano accompaniment as a background where it was okay and refrained from playing the piano when it was not appropriate. It was amazing to sit and watch his emotional and sensitive style of playing.

The Triple Ts Plus Two

As is always the custom in Niihau, the Triple Ts opened with a pule (prayer). The group is comprised of Tono, Myrahann Kahiki`ui Kanahele-Gerardo, Tana, Naniwai`ui Kanahele, and Tita, Tracy Ann Hi`ipoi Kanahele-Vakameilau. Joining them on stage was older sister recently back from Niihau, Ka`ehulani Kanahele and cousin Poni`aloha. Together, the five voices raised in song filling the crowded ballroom with full, rich voices in the gospel tradition. They call it a gift; I heard some folks say, “It’s in their DNA.”

By the way, Hi`ipoi portrayed Queen Emma at the annual Festival in the Queen’s honor held in the uplands of Koke`e. Each year for the past 27 years, one woman has been selected from all Hawai`i nei to bring alive the pageantry of the day in a gathering in the Kanaloahululu Meadow at Koke`e.

Having spent many years at Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha where these girls were schooled, I saw them singing all the time in both formal and informal situations. In fact, I believe they sing more than they talk; it is very much who they are and how they grew up.

“We were inspired and taught by our grandmother,” Tutu Mama Ane Hi`ilani Kelley Kanahele, a two-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner with her `ohana as composer ofhimeni, or Hawaiian hymns. Mama Ane is also a Kaua`i Living Treasure, designated as such by the Kaua`i Museum. The girls have also been composing and singing many of their own original songs. They love reggae.

They led off with Ho`omaika`i dedicated to “Aunty Carol” followed by a song for Mama Ane, Iesu E Komo Mai by Kuana Torres Kahele.

Two years ago, Tana, the youngest of the three sisters, composed a song when she was given a house in Niihau.  Speaking with a great deal of emotion, she shared that it was important to step back and really take a look at what God did for her. Sitting on the lanai of her house, she gazed at the sky and shooting stars as there are no lights on Niihau, and this song came to her. She led the vocals on Keeper of My Soul with the rest of the group harmonizing and singing in parts … so spontaneously and naturally.

Tono led the vocals on Oh How I Love Jesus followed by Kaehulani on E Ho`olohe Mai.Hi`ipoi, who did most of the emceeing, was very humorous in her delivery, asking the audience to excuse Kaehulani’s shyness, “No Mind Her; she is still in training.” Many of the songs in the first half of the program were hymns with powerful voices in harmony –Dear Lord, God is So Good, Mai Kai Keakua and There’s a Roof Above Me. They also shared a number of songs by Mama Ane, Aloha Wau Ia Iesu and Ku’u Ho`omana.

They sprinkled the performance with bits of hula with audience participation. Tono called the ladies in row one to step up and join her in a simple hula called Pupu O Niihau about the treasured leis made of rare shells found on the beaches on “The Forbidden Island.”

Hi`ipoi said that for years she made dinner and took it to Mama Ane, who is one of the premiere shell lei makers in Hawai`i. Whenever she went out to sing, she would ask Grandma if she could borrow her necklace and her `ukulele.  One day Mama Ane called Hi`ipoi to her home and told her to look in the basket and choose one of the three leis in there. Each lei had its own name by the way the shells were sewn together. Hi`ipoi felt so blessed by the gift; Cousin Tono was wearing her lei tonight. Grandma said, “Now you don’t have to borrow my necklace every time you perform.”  She still does but is very careful to return the `ukulele and the lei right after the performance.

As matriarch of the clan, Mama Ane is held in high regard by the entire `ohana. Hi`ipoi shared that Mama Ane was so excited that her great grandson Keiki was going to perform tonight but could not come as she was under the weather. “To Grandma, Keiki is everything; that’s her pet! Keiki is her pet even if he is always talking back to his aunties.”

She called up Uncle Charlie Baker who happened to be wearing his very rare 10-strand, 42-inch long hot pink kahelelani shell lei called Lei Kahelelani `Akala Ikaika, sometimes called Waipapipi, one of the rarest of shells found on only two beaches. The shell is named after the hot pink blossom of the prickly pear. The leis are named after flowers or strung in the pattern of flowers such as pikake, crown flower, etc. because Niihau is too dry for flowers. The shells are their replacement for similar flowers or leis found on other islands. Hi`ipoi ventured to say that Charlie’s lei is the only one of its kind in existence in the world. She also introduced their soon-to-be-married friends from O`ahu who came to see them perform. Yay! Visitors from O`ahu! As rare as Niihau shells.

During intermission, CD’s were given away to six lucky folks who had taken the time to fill out their participant forms. The Kamoa `ukulele was also won by a very happy Jim Golding of Saskatoon, Saskachewan, Canada.

During the second half they asked cousin Poni`aloha to join the group. Her voice is exquisite as she sang two songs, one of them called Refuge.  Hi`ipoi also sang Imi Au la `Oe by Queen Liliu`okalani which she entered in the “You think You Got Talent” Contest at Kaua`i Community College.

Audience request for a hula by Kahiki`ui and Naniwai`ui  prompted the two sisters to each dance their own choreography of E Kumu Ulu. Their gracefulness and charm is truly exceptional. Again, someone said, “It’s just in their DNA.”

Male hula was offered by audience request as young Kiwa`a, Master Keiki Hula Competition winner from Kumu Hula Leina`ala Pavao Jardin’s halau, gave a rousing performance of Hene Hene Ko`aka, the Rocking Chair Hula, with the exciting vocals of Uncle John Mahi. What an unexpected treat and what a voice!  Check him out at Kalaheo Steak House.

Not to be outdone in the hula department, a number of brave gentlemen came up to dance to an upbeat Maori song, E Papa, from Aoteroa with a Tongan hula about one’s big opu led by Naniwai`ui.

Of course, no Niihau performance is complete without the famous song composed by the Reverend Moses Keale who survived his legendary fall from the high mountains of Kalalau to dedicate his life to God, thus building the Hawaiian Church in Waimea and the Church on Niihau.

The girls could not resist throwing in their favorite reggae song called Sweet Love before all stood up, joined hands, and sang Hawai`i Aloha to end an authentic spiritual experience. It was an eye-opener to see how they do it on Niihau.

If you have a disability and need assistance please email Carol Yotsuda at giac05@icloud.com
Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”
E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua’i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua’i Beach Resort.
Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai’i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

How to find EKK at the Kauai Beach Resort:

ekk dir

27 01, 2016

“Leap Into Hawaiian Music” with Paul, Kenny and Ernie

2016-01-27T11:48:23-10:00EKK 2016|0 Comments

Who’s Coming Up on Monday, January 25?

Monday, January 25, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 – “Leap Into Hawaiian Music”
Triple-T’s of Niihau – “Tono”, “Tana”, “Tita”
and John Austin Keikialoha Kaohelaulii
Kauai Beach Resort Jasmine Ballroom
Contact: giac05@icloud.com


EKK 2016 Here at last!
“Leap Into Hawaiian Music” with Paul, Kenny and Ernie

The ambiance was electric as the EKK ‘ohana gathered for the opening night of EKK 2016. Residents, snowbirds, new faces from all over the continent, Canada, New Zealand and Japan gathered to “Leap Into Hawaiian Music” after a whole year’s absence from Kauai’s unique EKK program. Lots of honi honi as everyone greeted their old friends, excited wala’au as everyone was catching up on news about each other.

A record crowd was present for opening night as three of Kauai’s veteran musicians pooled their 100-plus years of musical entertainment experience to set the tone for the 33rd season of EKK – Paul Togioka, Kenny Rapozo and Ernest Palmeira – brought their A-game to the stage for a great first night.

Email from Paul, Leader of the Pack: “Aloha from Wailua! I just wanted to say “Thank You” for having us perform at your EKK Show last night. I/we really enjoyed ourselves and I hope you were satisfied with our performance.“

Indeed we were!

Paul Togioka, well known for his participation in the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festivals, opened the program with three slack-key medleys as he shared stories about the artists who influenced his own musical journey and a bit of background on how the slack key style of guitar playing got started and developed in Hawai’i. His first medley demonstrated the different popular styles of slack key; his second medley was a combination of very old style slack key. You could hear the influence of Keola Beamer, Raymond Kane, Ledward Kaapana and other slack key greats in his music. His final medley, which included two of his own compositions, included Hula Medley, Pupule Slack Key and Moloka’i Mule Ride. He shared his own risky venture on the back of a mule switch-backing precariously down the steep mule trail to Kalaupapa on Moloka’i.

Recipient of the Hawaii Music Awards “Best Recording by a Slack Key Artist”, Paul has performed at the Grammy Museum and the Wolf Trap National Park. His CD Aikane Kuikawa was nominated for the Na Hoku Awards in 2014. Paul continues to hone his craft as a slack key guitar artist when he is not at his day job as engineer with the County of Kaua’i.

Kenny Rapozo, who led the ‘ukulele circle during the first hour and made “picking” on the ‘ukulele easy as duck soup, shared 13 songs – 10 on the ‘ukulele and three on the guitar. Picture this: He steps on the stage looking like a swarthy gun-slinging paniolo about to draw his pistols. When he said, “I’m going to play two ‘ukulele and one guitar but not all at the same time,” we knew we were in for a treat. He strapped on his ‘ukulele and launched into his favorite Disney song, It’s A Small World, that sums up his love for Disneyland, a destination he has visited no less than 19 times. Another slow Disney song was When You Wish Upon a Star. Of course, everyone could relate to the familiar famous tunes of Disneyland so you could see feet tapping, heads bobbing along with the music.

He shared his version of the story of how the Portuguese instrument brought from Portugal got its name ‘ukulele. A German man was picking on the instrument with flying fingers when a Hawaiian man from the audience yelled out ‘ukulele translating to “jumping flea” in Hawaiian. The Arthur Godfrey name for the instrument was “yukulele” which is not correct. No self-respecting “uku” (flea) wants to be called a “yuku”.

His repertoire covered a wide range of musical styles as he played Whispering, popular in the 1940s, in the style of Chet Atkins playing with his thumb on the top string and fingers on the bottom strings, Buddy Holly’s Every day with Richie Valen’s LaBamba from the 1940s and 1950s, Listen to the Falling Rain, and the popular William Tell Overture from his favorite Lone Ranger radio show in the 1950s. His mastery of the little instrument was topped off when his flying fingers brought images of Spanish dancing ladies twirling in their ruffled skirts in his exciting rendition of Malaguena. Oldies sounded great on the ‘ukulele.

He threw in a couple of Hawaiian songs with apologies that he did not know their titles as he picked them up by listening to someone else playing them. His Dad was an ‘ukulele instructor on Kaua’i so Kenny happily sat in the back of the class and picked up his ‘ukulele skills as a young boy.

Kenny switched to the guitar and played one of his favorites, a popular 1970s tune called Mr. Bo Jangles, Take Me Back to Sorrento by Elvis Presley in flamenco style and Ghost Riders in the Sky, Portuguese style.

When asked to show the audience how good the Kamoa ‘ukulele sounded, he played a lively Zippity Doo Da Zippity Day. “As you can see, I miss Disneyland, but I’m going again next January.” Winner of the Kamoa ‘ukulele was Richard Stefenco from Kapa’a.

Paul Togioka came back on stage wielding his banjo which was his first love in music when he was 20 years old. It’s an instrument that he confessed he had been neglecting of late. In fact, he said that playing on the banjo was even scarier than his recent experience of skydiving as he jumped out of the airplane two miles up in the sky and fell at 120 miles per hour until his parachute finally opened up.

A special surprise was a duo as Kenny joined Paul Togioka and his banjo. They did well together playing a Shuffle Song written by Kenny. It was so catchy that some folks in the audience were caught up in their own hoe-down dances.

Kauai’s own steel guitar master Ernest Palmeira joined Kenny on ‘ukulele and Paul on guitar and together the trio played eight well known songs with that haunting, nostalgic sound so reminiscent of the early days of Hawai’i Calls, suggesting romance in the tropics. Moonlight Baby, Blue Hawaiian Moonlight, He Aloha No Honolulu, Blue Hawai’i, Hula Lady and Sands, favorites of the steel guitar players, swept over the audience with the rich full sounds of old and contemporary Hawai’i all rolled into one.

In the 1940s and 1950s folks traveled to Hawai’i on giant cruise ships so when they docked at port, the music that greeted them was the sound of the steel. Even today when visitors get off the airplane and hear the steel guitar they know they have landed in Hawai’i. For a period of time, the steel guitar seemed to be waning in popularity as an instrument of choice, but recently there has been a huge resurgence of interest and development of new directions with the steel guitar. Through it all, Ernie was never far from his favorite instrument.

Ernie, who has been playing the steel guitar since age16, confessed that he was self-taught because there was no one on the island to teach this young paniolo to play this exotic instrument. Tending his cattle every day, he had no time to go to Honolulu to learn so he taught himself. He certainly has become a master at it with years of playing at the Coco Palms Resort, at the Fern Grotto, at the former Hilton, which is now Kaua’i Beach Resort, and at many other venues. He even toured with the airline promotions to Caracas, Venezuela.

It was a great way to introduce EKK to the huge group of EKK “newbies” who will certainly come back once again to experience Hawaiian Music like they were at an informal backyard jam. Where this week’s program featured three instrumental musicians, next week’s artists will have their voices as their primary instruments so be prepared for a lot of wonderful singing.

If you have a disability and need assistance please email Carol Yotsuda at
Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 39 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”

E Kanikapila Kakou 2016 Hawaiian Music Program is funded in part by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the County of Kaua’i Office of Economic Development, and the Garden Island Arts Council supporters with support from the Kaua’i Beach Resort.
Garden Island Arts Council programs are supported in part by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Hawai’i State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

How to find the Kauai Beach Resort:

ekk dir

Go to Top