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
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?
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
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 email@example.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: