Aloha Dear Readers! I wrote a post from 34,000 ft above sea level as I was enroute from Detroit to Honolulu last week. Then on landing, auē, reality hit! So I‘ve been settling in, with the help of nephews Nate and Seb and – TheBus!
Right out of the starting gate: I attended the MELE Songwriters Workshop at Honolulu Community College. What an incredible experience! Panels offered perspectives from music industry heavy hitters from Nashville, and Hawai’i‘s own, represented by Kawika Kahiapo, Kainani Kahaunaele, and Manu Boyd, along with an inspirational keynote from none other than Robert Cazimero (who still wonders aloud why he gets these invites. Duh.)
From there I head over to Blaisdell for the King Kamehameha Hula Competition. Aue! No media hoopla, practically no audience other than the hālau and their support teams. What gives??? Some discussions going on on facebook, but otherwise . . . quiet. What gives??? ‘Auana day on Saturday, and a steady stream of live music from top names in the industry. Maui fielded AT LEAST three or four hālau. There were some newer hālau who do not (yet?) command the resources to travel to events on other islands. But where is the support from the community for our culture and THESE culture bearers? Where is our appreciation for their efforts? What gives ???
This weekend: First Friday at Hawai’i State Art Museum and Live on the Lawn featuring Big Island artists Kaumaka‘iwa Kanaka‘ole, Bo Lozoff, and Lorna Lim with Wailau Ryder. Tomorrow: Mele on the Lawn at Bishop Museum. Brothers Cazimero are headliners; Kaiholu (last yearʻs winners in Ka Himeni ‘Ana) are also on the bill!! Iʻll be there to cheer on the bass player–my nephew Nate along with bandmates Hanalē, Trax, and Uncle Al. On Sunday: Alan Akaka‘s (my UH classmate!) steel guitar festival on Waikiki Beach Walk, offering a stellar cross-generational lineup of masters and emerging artists.
Of course I am excited beyond belief at this opportunity to immerse myself in Hawaiian music and hula on the ground. Opportunities abound for getting into mischief. Talking story, brainstorming, launching new projects . . . goodness. Oh well, Hawaiʻi has never been about vacation and relaxation for me. To relax, I will have to go back to Michigan . . . next year!!
Most important, I have a concrete deadline for one of my book projects: September 1, 2011. This is the due date for the complete manuscript of “Hawaiian Songs Ancient and Modern.” I will share more about this project over the course of the year, as I work to bring this undertaking to the finish line. I am counting on your support and encouragement in this final phase.
I will have much to share with you all in the coming year. And I shall renew my commitment to strive for regular weekly postings here.
Above all, please keep in mind the tumult going on in the recording industry, the decline in the production of new CDs, and what this means for musicians trying to establish themselves or make a livelihood. No one know yet where the industry is going, but everyone knows that business as we knew it will be no more, what with digital distribution and downloading, along with the closing of retail outlets. Please continue to support Hawaiian music and musicians, not only with your aloha, but with your wallets as well.