CONVERSATIONS — a new series

My year in Honolulu has accelerated to warp speed for some time now. I am up to all kinds of activities. Hereʻs a sneak peak at an ambitious undertaking:
I am organizing a series of gatherings to reflect on accomplishments in Hawaiian music studies, and to envision future endeavors–think collective mapping in the context of a music industry that is transforming right before our eyes. Stay tuned for more information as planning proceeds. Working title is:
. . . aia i ka wai . . .
Dialogues on [the Present and Future of] Hawaiian Music
And what an opportune moment to launch yet another series on this blog–a series devoted to CONVERSATIONS with interesting folks. And a series to encourage everyone to engage in interesting conversations around Hawaiian music and hula.
To launch this series, I am most excited to share this space with students in my classes. Teaching at University of Hawai‘i has been rewarding on so many levels. The class on Hawaiian music is a challenging mix of students that includes novices to Hawaiian music, graduate student researchers, and professional performers and recording artists, at least one of whom has made two trips (that I learned about on Facebook!) to Japan in the middle of the semester. Here is what the students’ task was:
“Find a musician or recording artist who performs Hawaiian music. For this assignment, any member of this class is off limits. (Among the students are Danny Carvalho, Jade Louie, Chadwick Pang, Aaron Salā, and Brandon Souza.) Set up a questionnaire of five interesting questions, and interview your musician / recording artist. Submit your assignment in the form of a Q & A interview piece.”
The assignment is an exercise in realizing that different purposes for the information, and different audiences for the completed Q&A, will shape the kinds of questions that are asked. The bottom line is what I call “Wisdom from the Book of Mom”:  Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.
The first assignment submitted . . . rocked my socks. The thoughtful questions invited thoughtful responses and rich insights. That Conversation will initiate this new series.
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