November 1, 2010

* * * * * * * * * * *SOME THINGS NEW, SOME THINGS OLD * * * * * * * * * * *

It was like watching Time go by, seeing and hearing the evolution of Hawaiian Slack Key guitar playing styles from it’s rudimentary start in older nahenahe/slow & mellow style songs to seeing and hearing it played on an instrument that is a cross between a guitar and a harp…….it was all there, in a grand production called the Second Annual Seattle Slack Key Festival………and it was a glorious four and a half solid hours of awesome entertainment!!!!

—It started with one of the Old Grand Masters of Kiho`alu, George Kuo whose inimitable Mo`olelo/story telling style sooooo appropriately introduced and explained to the nice sized, mostly non-Hawaiian audience what Kiho`alu is and how it began.  Kuo sang and played a number of songs, accompanied in a several by the graceful hula dancers from Aunty Moody Ka`apana’s Halau Hula Pulamahia I Ka Liko Lehua .  Kuo was joined on stage by Sonny Lim (on bass) and Greg Sardinha (on steel guitar)….one highlight of Kuo’s set was a striking version of the beautiful “Sanoe” (with Sardinha playing the steel guitar the way the instrument was intended….blending into the music)….George Kuo ended his set with the rousing Whee Ha Slack Key Swing)

—Then it was the Festival Host Cyril Pahinui’s turn on stage and the man with the salt & pepper hair and goatee did not disappoint…..he was all that Aloha can ever be: warm, passionate, compassionate and spreading (through his guitar and his unique “Pahinui kine” voice) the love of and for Hawaii to all his fans!  He was joined on stage by his nephew Kunia Galdeira, Sonny Lim and Greg Sardinha….this set was full of older traditional Hawaiian tunes like Hula O Makee, Lei Nani, Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai, Kaulana O Kawaihae… Kunia did his unique version of Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai as Aunty Moody’s haumana  danced….the highlights of this set were “Alaska Rose” a song written (and sung) by Cyril as a tribute to his ohana in Alaska AND, of course, Cyril ended his set doing THE PAHINUI theme song “HI’ILAWE”……special recognition needs to go to Kunia’s ukulele playing (really neat) in the set……….

As with changes that come with the passage of time, the next two segments of the Festival recognized the “modernizing changes” that are occurring in Kiho`alu playing styles.

Jeff Peterson is a Maui guy, who grew up on the slopes of Haleakala where his father worked for the Maui Ranch.  Jeff Peterson is a technical master of guitar playing….he reminds me of star Hawaiian entertainer Willie K as both of them have such outstanding and diverse abilities….Willie K can sing the gamut of song styles from traditional Hawaiian to rock to reggae to classical….Jeff Peterson has equally diverse guitar playing styles (from traditional slack key Hawaiian to classical and everything in between)…Jeff’s guitar licks are so clean and clear, definitely capturing the attention of  the audience who seemed to hold their breaths waiting for his next strokes….Jeff played an ode to his island of Maui with Pua Mana then went “blue Grass” with a song called “Let’s Ride” (into the crater of Haleakala) and even went Jimi Hendrix (upbeat) with Rainbow Bridge (where he was joined by Makana)…the high spot of Jeff’s set was a loving tribute to his wife with “Kahealani” (a song he wrote which speaks of voices on the wind)…………

— next up was Makana, whose name translates as “gift, blessing, reward”…….and the man is indeed a gift to all of us, an extraordinary entertainer….superb guitarist…… emotional singer with a voice that captivates…..Makana was resplendent in his nearly all white clothing and definitely awesome in his singing and guitar playing….

—Talk about music evolution…..the beautiful blonde, haole lady who followed Makana on stage was Muriel Anderson and her instrument has to be described as more “haole” than Hawaiian (half guitar/half harp) BUT Muriel played music that is purely Kiho`alu….and, auwe, she is goooooood!

—Sooooo, how do you cap off four PLUS hours of outstanding entertainment?? (The program went longer than scheduled because there were sooooo many “Hana hous” during each set!)

Simple:  you bring on a brand new Hawaiian singing group named Hi`ikua (translates as “to carry on/to perpetuate”) and let them completely bewitch and enchant the audience with their unique singing style (reminiscent of Hui Ohana or Napalapalai as they sing mostly in the high keys) doing songs like Pua Ahihi and O Kalena Kai. Hi`ikua is in the process of completing their first CD and take my advice: buy one soon as it goes on sale because this group is going to be great!  Gary “Kalei” Medeiros did a special guest appearance with Hi`ikua, singing the old falsetto special “Alika” which was loudly applauded by the audience.

* * * * * * * *DA FINALE—-A GROUP CALLED HI`IKUA* * * * * * * *

Kamuela Kimokeoehua Krug & Hi'ikua

Kamuela Kimokeoehua Krug & Hi'ikua

Probably the most impressive thing about the Hi`ikua group BESIDES their music is who they are and what they do OUTSIDE the music arena!

The University of Hawaii, Manoa has a special program called Ho`okulaiwi which is an initiative that focuses on preparing Hawaiians to go into their communities to become educators, to teach the youth in those communities about their heritage!

Kalehua Krug is a large man who is totally dedicated to his Hawaiian lineage as displayed by the Hawaiian tatoo that covers the right side of his face!  Kalehua has a very unique falsetto, reminiscent of Dennis Pavao’s!  He is an expert in Hawaiian Olelo and has composed several songs…as a lyricist, he worked with Amy Hanaiali`i on two of her most recent recordings.  Kalehua is in the MedT (Masters of Education) program at the U of Hawaii and is about a year away from becoming Dr Kalehua Krug! Kalehua and his wife Kihapai have three children.

Kamuela Kimokeo is the lead guitarist, singer and leader of the Hi`ikua trio!  Kamuela is also in the UH Ho`okulaiwi program (he has a Master’s Degree in Music and, like Kalehua, is also working for his PhD). Kamuela is currently working on developing a music curriculum for the Nanakuli Boys & Girls Club.  His main music influence has been his father, renowned Hawaiian entertainer Kimo Kimokeo! Kamuela was one of the featured artists on the Grammy award winning “Slack Key Kings Vol II” album. Kamuela and his wife Roxy have one son.

Blake Leoiki Haili and his wife Juliana live in Kaneohe.  Blake plays bass for the trio and has a multi-range voice that fills in the harmony for Hi`ikua very nicely.  He is a sheet metal fabricator in his every day job and like most Hawaiians, if he isn’t working then he is on or in the ocean!

Mahalo Nui to Cyril Pahinui and his wife Schelle for making Seattle Slack Key Festival 2010 such an outstanding event……….you two DA MAN!!!!!!!!

* * * * * * * A GRAND PARTY FOR A GRAND OLD LADY* * * * * * *

It was soooooo heart warming to watch this truly beautiful lady dancing the hula…soooo graceful, sooooo enchanting, soooooo Hawaiian…..her name is Aunty Marge Lehualani Allison Hunt……and she was all of EIGHTY-EIGHT YEARS YOUNG on this particular evening commemorating her birthday at the new “Kila’s Island Grill” restaurant in Everett, WA.

Aunty Marge Lehualani Allison Hunt

Aunty Marge Lehualani Allison Hunt

It was a glorious party, so fitting as a mahalo gesture to Aunty Marge for all the mana`o she has shared with hundreds of others in the Pacific NW over the past fifty years…. Aunty Marge is recognized as one of the first to teach hula in the Seattle area (in the mid-1950’s) and still passes on lessons she learned from mentors/good friends like Aunty Emma Sharpe, Uncle George Naope, Iolani Luahine, Hoakalei Kamau`u and Linda Mendez.  Among others in the packed house audience were…

—musicians Tiko Kaeo, Peter Tabali, Gregg Delosantos and Bernie Simeona

—Kumu hula Krista Moani Espiritu and haumana from her Halau Hula

Hula performance at Aunty Marge's luau

Lehualani including Charmaine Lokelani Dunton , Pua Kai, Mari Azob-Nash, Jane Shaw, Yoko Maeshiro, Jana Spellman, Sandi Howard, Grace Tuchsen, Judi Cook, Raina and Kendra Shaw, Amia Nash, Sharalynn

Hula performers at Aunty Marge's luau

Ramm, Miki Matsumoto, Katherine Espiritu and Melinda Wong-Gantt

—among others there were Jeri & Mike Tackett (she teaches Hawaiian Olelo while he writes/ illustrates Hawaiian themed children’s books), Joseph Quimpa (originally from Waimanalo), Andy Espiritu, Annette and Dennis Masanda and Louise Simeona. ….plus three young couples (Rene Spruiell, Shannon Carroll, Ben Temple, Kevin Beamish, Liz Hensley and Nolan West…..all dressed up in their formal tuxedos and gowns) who stopped in on the way to their Glacier Peak HS prom to eat and enjoy the party…..

Aunty Marge & Kathy Kaopuiki

Aunty Marge & Kathy Kaopuiki

—my lovely wife Kathy was a “co-birthday honoree” guest (she and Aunty Marge share the same October 26 birthdays) at the party and Kathy wants to publicly thank Krista Espiritu and her Halau haumana for making this an extra special birthday celebration!

* * * * * * DA HAWAII CONNECTION RADIO SHOW GANG * * * * * *

Hawaii Radio Connection Ohana

Hawaii Radio Connection Ohana: (l to r) Braddah Gomes, Manono, Uncle Danny, Cousin Gail, Uncle Gregg, Maile and Uncle Ed)

You’ve heard their voices on the radio every Saturday (9 a.m.-10 a.m. on KXPA 1540 AM and noon-2 p.m. on KBCS 91.3 FM) sooooo tis time for you to see their beautiful and handsome faces…….here’s a picture of most of the Hawaii Connection Radio gang (missing Aunty Moody Ka`apana and Sistah Kulina)……..

* * * * * * * * * WAT’S HAPPENING? COMING EVENTS * * * * * * * * *

NOVEMBER 6:            75th Anniversary of Filipinos in Seattle Celebration

NOVEMBER 6:            World Dance Party, Southeast Seattle

NOVEMBER 7:            Bunka No Hi Japanese Cultural Day, Seattle

NOVEMBER 13:            Hawaiian Holiday Bazaar & More!!! 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Vancouver, WA

NOVEMBER 19:            “EKOLU in Concert”, Lola’s in Portland, OR

NOVEMBER 20:            2D Annual American Indigenous Peoples Day; Puyallup, WA

NOVEMBER 21:            “EKOLU in Concert”, King Cat Theater, Seattle

DECEMBER 3:                Keoki Kahumoku & Keola Santos at the Clover Technical College McGavick Student Center, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd, Lakewood, WA with “Grooveline” and MUO (Monday Ukulele Ohana)

DECEMBER 10:            “Christmas in Polynesia Concert” at Kila’s Island Grill Everett, WA

* * * * * * * ALOHA OE, LINDSEY FAY PAMAIALU KINNEY* * * * * *

Tall, gentle, handsome, quiet, soft spoken….characteristics that truly earned him the admiration and respect of all who met him but traits not necessarily descriptive of a war hero…but Lindsey Kinney was a war hero! Awarded Purple hearts twice for wounds he suffered in combat in Viet Nam….awarded a Silver Star medal (second only to a Congressional Medal of Honor for acts of heroism) and a Bronze Star (third highest award for heroism) for his actions in Viet Nam…..Lindsey rarely spoke about these awards though he was always proud of having served his country as a US Army Special Forces Green Beret!!!

Lindsey Kinney was born in Honolulu on December 18, 1940 to Henry Richard Kinney and his wife Emma Kinney.  Lindsey passed on October 14, 2010!

Lindsey was a gifted athlete, earning an athletic scholarship at Punahou high school and in later years becoming one of the best golfers in the Pacific NW Hawaiian golfing community as well as one of the better youth coaches (volleyball, basketball, soccer) in the Seattle area CYO program.

Lindsey had lived in Seattle since the early 1970’s and was fixture at the Kauai Family Restaurant in the Georgetown area of Seattle where you could find him nearly every morning (until health problems forced him to move to a health care facility) having his Hawaiian style breakfast!

Lindsey is survived by his brothers Kaika and Daniel, and his daughters Brooke Kinney and Heather (Jose) Ramos and mo`opuna Kaleo, Emma, James, Jordan, Lauren, Isaac and Emily plus a huge number of friends and other ohana. Several members of Lindsey’s Punahou football team (including Harry Mamazuka and Bennie Sampson) were there!

Lindsey was buried with honors at the Tahoma National Cemetery on October 22, 2010!

Aloha `oe, Lindsey Fay Pamaiaulu Kinney……..rest in peace!!!!!

* * * * * * ALOHA `OE TO ALIKA DIAS, ANOTHER HERO * * * * * *

Clarence Alika Dias, was born/grew up in Wahiawa, Oahu and graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1967.  Alika passed away October 20, 2010 in Woodinville, WA. Alika is survived by his lovely wife Pat, daughter Nalani and son Alika III..

Alika was another of those tall, gentle, handsome, quiet, soft spoken Hawaiians whose actions spoke louder than any words could.  He was an outstanding athlete, at one time being one of the premier high school track and field performers in the nation!

The Memorial Service for Alika was especially notable for the number of people I call heroes (law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for us everyday) who came to pay their respects to a man who had at one time been one of them. There were several Honolulu Police Department officers who flew in from Hawaii to honor Alika (who was, at one time, an HPD officer).  At the time of his death, Alika was a vital part of the US Homeland Security’s program to keep the Puget Sound waters free of terrorists and safe for those of us who live here!

Aloha `oe Clarence Alika Dias………………rest in peace!!!

* * * * * * * * ALOHA `OE TUTU NANCY NORRIS TONSETH * * * * * * * *

Her name was Nancy Norris Tonseth….she was born in Westholme, British Columbia, Canada in 1925 and was a member of the Halalt Tribe…..she was also part Hawaiian with her lineage going back to the mid 1800’s when her grandfather (Nahanu ohana) came to Canada to work for the Hudson Bay Company! Nancy Tonseth died on October 24, 2010!  The Tonseth name may not be familiar to many of us Hawaiian Islanders in the Pacific NW but the Cabunoc name is…..Timmy Cabunoc is a master technician who provides sound system support to many of the Hawaiian Islander activities in the Pacific NW; Timmy also provides a support boat for many of the outrigger canoe regattas in the Pacific NW….Timmy’s Mom Jeannie Cabunoc is also well known up here in the Pac NW…Nancy Norris Tonseth was Jeannie’s mother and Timmy’s “Tutu”!!

The service for Nancy Norris Tonseth was especially noteworthy for the large number of “multi-cultural/multi-ethnicity” people who came to pay their respects…..a third of the population was Native American (including several from other  Pacific NW/ Canadian/Hawaiian families); another third was Filipino and the remaining numbers were divided between African Americans and haoles (the audience was so diverse that I almost felt like I was back in Hawaii)! Condolences to Jeannie and Timmy and the rest of their ohana!!!

Aloha `oe Nancy Norris Tonseth…………….rest in peace!

It’s time to go Holoholo again……life is not forever so be kind to each other…………

A hui hou e malama pono……Danny

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