Aloha Dear Readers! Iʻm gearing up to resume posting here on “Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure.” Time off has allowed me to pursue newly-articulated (to me, at least) interests, and to read and reflect. So many ideas . . . so little time. So many directions to develop.
How I wish I could have just one graduate student . . . but time & circumstances have closed that door. The University of Michigan is my intellectual home. It has afforded me opportunities to work toward institutional transformation, and it has earned my loyalty through its generous support of my efforts and contributions. Focusing on undergraduate teaching has allowed me, for example, to follow my interests in the diversity of musics in the United States, and over the history of the United States. There are important frameworks for viewing Hawaiian musicʻs global circulation, and for mining new directions of inspiration. More to think about.
UM has a strong program called “Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program,” and it has connected me so far with three first-year students of unusual maturity and initiative. Ruiqi Chen, Katie Sommers, and Trevor Picard are making significant contributions to work on discography, especially in the era of 49th State Records and since. Much more to come on that front.
2012 only granted me 10 days in Honolulu. But I got to see my brother & his family, and visit my parents’ graves in Kane’ohe. I also got to see Kuini sweep Ka Himeni ‘Ana, I got to sit with Lynn Piccoli at the Corner Kitchen listening to Kupaoa and enjoying Frankieʻs hula, and I got to go crate-digging at Hungry Ear Records–which meant more LP digitizing into the fall semester.
2012 brought important new books–Adria Imada’s important cultural analysis of hula in Aloha America, the Hawai’i Council for the Humanitiesʻ collection We Go Jam, and John Berger’s long-awaited update of George Kanahele’s Hawaiian Music & Musicians. Honolulu magazine is back with its “greatest” compilations, this time 25 CDs of the new century. More brain food.
I got to go holoholo on other huaka’i, and finally connected with John Marsden, Basil Henriques and Les Cook in the east, and Malcolm Rockwell in the west. All four are enriching my projects immensely. You, dear readers, will have to stay tuned to find out exactly how enriched my projects have become already–and weʻre not pau. Then in New Orleans I got to spend time with Keola Donaghy, and not enough time with Aaron Sala and Revell Carr.
On the Hawaiian music front–new CDs, mostly by long-established artists, with a few new artists sprinkled in. And at the end of the year, 13 Hawaiian CDs appeared on the Recording Academy’s preliminary ballot in the “American Roots Music” category, with two scoring Grammy nominations: Keola Beamer’s Mālama Ko Aloha and Weldon Kekauoha’s Pilialoha. Much more to muse over.
Facebook has transformed how we all connect and communicate. Fans now have the pleasure of following musicians at home in Hawai’i and California and elsewhere, and touring. (More and more Hawaiian musicians and dancers do seem to be catching up with each other in Tokyo instead of Honolulu these days.) And Aunty Wandaʻs Mele Monday page has become a trusted compass for gathering and pointing to the massive amounts of video of live performance and vintage clips now appearing on YouTube, Vimeo, and other sites. Much to enjoy.
To all of you, dear readers, blessings of the season and best wishes and aloha for 2013!