Mahalo to Anne E. O’Malley for the great photos and putting up everything for our Facebook Friends
“The Maunalua Effect”
“Contagious” is a word and condition that we all know too well. When someone is coughing, we shy away from them; when someone gives out bad vibes, we move away from the source; when a group is laughing and having a great time, we try to slide into their circle; when someone is having unparalleled good luck, we try to rub against their elbow . . . never fails, everything seems to affect people and things around them. Such was the case on Monday EKK — the animated action of the musicians and hula dancers, the full of humor give-and-take between the artists, the full rich harmonious in-the-rafters falsetto singing definitely was contagious due to what I would dub the “Maunalua Effect.”
Everyone standing in the porto cochere waiting for the valets were in high spirits, laughing, joking, talking about the evening and just extending their fun time inside the ballroom to their trip home. Great thing is that it works both ways. My volunteers rushing Bobby Moderow to catch the last plane out reported that he was so elated from the effect of the best and most appreciative EKK audience, that he could hardly be contained and practically spilled out of the car. Bobby writes, “Aloha my dear. First of all let me thank you for a most wonderful event. We really enjoyed ourselves. Hoping everyone enjoyed as well! Looking forward to the next time. . . We really had a nice time with you all!!!!!”
What a great way to spend a Monday night — spreading love and aloha — on this gorgeous island we call home.
Monday, March 3, 2014
“An Evening Packed with Songs”
With no hesitation, the three-man group called Maunalua launched into an evening of great music and good-humored joshing between Bobby Moderow Jr. and Kahi Kaonohi while the newest member of the group, young baby-faced Richard Gideon looked on with an amused smile. They led off with three songs, each sung by a different artist — Hilo One by Bobby, Hula O Makee by Kahi, and Kalena Kai, a chant by Liholiho put to music by Charles E. King, by Richard.
Throughout the performance Bobby kept up the chatter Portugee-style with Kahi throwing out funny barbs at him with a dead-pan expression. “Once you partake, once you are a part of it, you are doing your kulueana in perpetuating the culture. Nowhere will you feel the love like at EKK,” pointing out that he is the “white kid” who plays Hawaiian music. Kahi volunteers, “You ARE white. Now you are red.” Bobby attributes that to catching some sun because he came in earlier than the others and adds, “Lucky I did not show up in my speedos.” Kahi retorts, “That would have scarred me for life!”
Kawai Lehua, one of Frank Kawaikapu’okalani Hewett’s exquisite hula compositions was beautifully harmonized by the group. It was so emotionally uplifting that it made you want to get up and dance. Na Ka Pueo is a song from Maui sang by Richard while playing on his 12-string guitar.
The first Maunalua CD with “music of our land and our people” was released in 2000 and garnered the Hawaiian Album of the Year award at the Na Hoku Hanohano Competition. In those days there were only about 3 – 4 Hawaiian albums but today there are about 15 – 20 each year; that says a lot for the resurgence of Hawaiian music. On that CD is one of their favorite songs from Hawai’i Island “where my Mom lives” — Hi’ilawe; sung in their exuberant style of singing.
Bobby and the group is very much influenced by the 1970’s music of Hui ‘Ohana with Ledward and Nedward Kaapana with cousin Dennis Pavao. One of their most beautiful songs which Maunalua, at first, did not want to approach because it was perfect as sung by Hui ‘Ohana. However they tried singing it and really liked the way it came out, so they shared with us Ku’u Pua Mae’ole (never fading flower). They sang it proud with their beautifully harmonizing leo ki’eki’e voices and Richard’s ‘ukulele pa’ani.
Bobby invited He’uilani Bandman, one of the sweetest hula dancers on Kaua’i, to join them for a couple of hula numbers. They had been good friends since they worked at the Waikiki Duke’s Canoe Club where the hula dancers showed up everyFriday to add their beauty to the show. Nani Kaua’i followed by Aloha Kaua’i were the two Kaua’i hula numbers that He’ui danced; in the second hula, seven more hula dancers emerged from the audience and each danced with their own choreography, much to the pleasure of the appreciative audience. “I should dance the hula because I studied under the hula lineage of Aunty Ma’iki Lake,” said Bobby. “I’m glad you did not bring your malo,” sighed Kahi, feigning relief in his dead-pan expression.
As a hula dancer Bobby experienced an amazing spiritual experience at the Halau Hanalei and also loved playing for a wedding at Wilikoki, the Wilcox home on Hanalei Bay. To share his deep feelings for Hanalei, he wanted to sing a song learned from the Brothers Cazimero. Nani Hanalei, a chant-like song, is haunting and memorable.
To put in a plug for the Kamoa ‘ukulele donated and given away each week, Richard was asked to show how terrific the ‘ukulele sounds. He played a complicated version of Nanakuli E A. During the first hour, Kumu Richard Gideon taught the ‘ukulele group how to play Nanakuli E A a song composed by “Professor” Richard Iliwa’alani for a special program for keiki. Although it was his first stint at teaching ‘ukulele, he did a stellar job “because the ‘ukulele students are so good and so serious about learning,” said Richard. He had to go beyond the simple basics because the students wanted to push the envelope. After the intermission, the huge group of ‘ukulele aficionados who learned how to play Nanakuli E A on the ‘ukulele stepped up to the stage and played the song in parts. Bobby warned them not to overshadow Maunalua, but they were determined to perform and they did a great job; the audience gave them well-deserved applause.
The second half of the program was packed with songs and shouts of hana hou past the closing time. A rousing Hele On to Kaua’i kept the audience on their toes. Nani Niihau featured the smooth falsetto and bass instrumentation by Kahi. Ku’u Home O Kahalu’u, composed by Bobby’s famous uncle Jerry Santos, is always a crowd favorite and with three voices hitting the rafters, the song sounded wonderful.
One of Bobby’s signature falsetto tunes is Sanoe. He shared the story about Queen Liliu’okalani’s lady-in-waiting who nightly, after she heard the Queen snoring, opened her window to let in her young man to do what they enjoyed. Kahi said, “Yeh, they were playing Monopoly.” Of course, the wise all-knowing Queen, in her discreet fashion, composed the song Sanoe, the mysterious mist of the night, which undoubtedly referred to the young man who nightly climbed in through the window.
Because his two daughters are ages 14 and 12, Bobby said he put bars on this window. Kahi corrected him, “You put bars on your own window by mistake.” “Yeh, now I can’t get out,” admitted Bobby. However, he does not worry about his daughters because he makes sure that the young boys calling know that he has his landscape architect father’s chipper-shredder handy.
As the evening drew to a close, the drawing for the Kamoa ‘ukulele made everyone sit up in their chairs. Richie drew a ticket out of the bottle and when Ethel Kauahi’s name was announced, the audience exploded into cheers for her. Now she has to take ‘ukulele lessons from her husband Melvin Kauahi who teaches seniors at Kalaheo Neighborhood Center. Longtime supporters of EKK, the Kauahi’s walked out happy.
To give hula dancer He’uilani another chance to dance the hula, Maunalua launched into Aunty Edith Kanaka’ole’s famous hula about the seaweeds, Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai. Of course that was the signal for all the hula dancers in the house to jump up and dance their hearts out….and they did.
Although they had to make a quick get-away on the last flight out, it was hard for Maunalua to let go of the love and aloha from the audience so they gave themselves a hana hou with Two Shadows into Ku’u Lei Awapuhi; this put the whole audience into a great mood for their ride home. Topping off the program with Hawai’i Aloha, everyone walked out beaming with the “Maunalua Effect” on their faces.
Who’s Coming Up Next at EKK?
Sunday, March 9, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
E Kanikapila Kakou 2014
EKK CONCERT: Leina’ala Pavao Jardin
& Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina’ala
Music by Na Molokama
Kauai Beach Resort Jasmine Ballroom
Tickets: $35 Reserved Section (buy at EKK)
$25 Advance; $30 at door
Outlets: Hawaiian Music Kiosk in Princeville & Coconut Marketplace;
Kauai Music & Sound; Kauai Beach Resort Counter;
Island Soap & Candleworks; Scotty’s Music, Banana Patch Studio
Monday, February 24, 2014, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
E Kanikapila Kakou “Continuing the Legacy”
Hui O Kalama’ola Hana Hou with Doric Kaleonui Yaris & Nathan Kalama & Five Halau
6:00 – 7:00: Ukulele Circle
7:00 – 9:00: Performance
If you have a disability and need assistance please email Carol Yotsuda at <email@example.com> for Monday events.
(s) Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, www.gardenislandarts.org — “Celebrating 37 years of bringing ARTS to the people and people to the ARTS”
E Kanikapila Kakou 2014 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.