Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hamakua Music Festival Concert #2! Nov. 21, 2009

Keali'i Reichel and Halau Perform in Honoka'a
Next Saturday night at the Peoples Theatre, kumu hula Keali'i Reichel and
his award winning halau will perform in a fundraising concert for the newly
revitalized Hamakua Music Festival and the Hawai'i Performing Arts Festival.
Reichel, an internationally known teacher and performer, is also a steward
of Hawaiian culture.
When asked what he wanted people to know about the study and teaching ofHawaiian culture, he replied that Hawaiian cultural practitioners "are
becoming more and more comfortable with ourselves in the modern world, almost to the point of exclusivity. Sometimes the modern world is distracting and disrupting, so we may wall ourselves off to remain as pure as we can when it comes to Hawaiian thinking and world view. People often
ask me what I think of hula music going global. Part of me thinks it's great, but it would also be great if it never went beyond our shores. Hawaii is the epicenter; if the epicenter isn't good the ripple from the epicenter is weak."
Born and raised on Maui, Reichel's love of Hawaiian culture is lifelong. It has saved him at least once in his life. Even though he had started his own halau at age 18, he admits to being wild and "unruly" in all phases of his life. "I did some stupid things, and I get caught and convicted." When up for sentencing, the judge thought the work he had done with Hawaiian culture was important enough to keep him out of prison. As part of community service, Reichel learned discipline and to focus on what he should be doing. He came to the realization it all was supposed to happen. Thus began his devotion to Hawaiian culture that continues to this day.
Winner of numerous Hoku awards, Reichel has opened concerts for Sting, Bonnie Raitt and Lee Ann Rimes. His largest audience of 50,000 was at Aloha Stadium with Celine Dion. He chuckles and says, "The old days of performing at shopping malls are gone." He admits to a fair amount of anxiety before going onstage. "I'm basically shy and introverted. I hate those two
seconds before I perform."
His career has had its embarrassing moments. He described one memorable misstep. "I was in my 20s singing and dancing at a lu'au show at one of the hotels. The stage was four feet high, and black. I couldn't see the edge, and I stepped off that stage with a microphone, and the audience heard a loud thud, and me, in a very low voice, going 'Owwwwww'. The band started to laugh. I went back up and went on performing."
These days most of Keali'i Reichel's time is spent mentoring the young students in his halau. "We enrich and we've been enriched. It's an interesting life. We provide a window into the brilliance of our ancestors, through singing, hula, taro farming...every aspect of what we practice."

Performance is at 7 pm at the Peoples Theatre in Honoka'a. Tickets are $40
for general seating and $60 for VIP seating available online at
www.hawaiiperformingartsfestival.org or by calling 333-7378. Doors open at
6 pm, concert begins at 7 pm.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hamakua Music Festival Concert! Nov. 13, 2009

Here's what's happening Friday the 13th, 2009!
Award winning Hawaiian entertainer Robi Kahakalau will take the stage at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Luau Grounds on Friday, November 13 at 5:30pm. The group Ka'u (with Robi's brother John Kahakalau) will perform with her. The evening of Hawaiian music and dance is a fundraising concert for the newly revitalized Hamakua Music Festival and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is the sponsor.

Ms. Kahakalau happily agreed to perform on behalf of the festival she has visited before and remembers fondly. "I always loved the Hamakua Music Festival, where it was a real pleasure to perform. Wonderful people." She was first to sign up to help the festival, which presents a variety of diverse artists in concert and supports music education in North Hawaii.

Born and raised in Germany, Robi Kahakalau first came to Hawaii when she was 17. "I knew I was home", she said. Since then she has embraced Hawaiian language, culture, and of course, its rich music. Her father, Bob Carter, was a well known jazz bassist in the 1950s who played with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. "At our house, Dad was in charge of the record player." She laughs as she tells the story of her dad, whose real name was Robert Kahakalau, reporting to the East Coast Musicians Union, where he was told he would never get a gig with a name like that. "He looked up at a nearby billboard, saw the name Carter, and from then on, his name was Bob Carter."

Robi started her musical career with the original Hawaiian Style Band, a group that in the early 1990s developed the genre now known as contemporary Hawaiian music. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole was also a member. In 1996 Robi won Island Contemporary Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year awards from Hawaii's Academy of Recording Arts.

She has appeared at Carnegie Hall several times, the first time with Makaha and Sons. Robi's mother, who had lived in New York for a time, always joked, "When you make it to Carnegie Hall, I'll be there with you." And she
was. Robi says, "I had these little military boot-type shoes I performed in. They were my thing. My mother said, Oh, Robi, not those boots. This is such a nice and classy place.' So I agreed to wear dressier slippers. I
ended up tripping on a microphone and unplugging it, then stumbling on my way offstage. The next time I performed at Carnegie Hall, I wore my little boots, and nobody said a thing!"

Robi Kahakalau now lives in East Oahu. Speaking and performing in five languages including, of course, Hawaiian, her smooth vocals are on display every Sunday at Aloha Towers Chai's Island Bistro in Honolulu. After three
tours to Japan in the last year, she is happy to stay in one place in Hawaii where her fans can hear and meet her.
To hear Robi Kahakalau, go to her website at http://voices.cc/Robi/.

Tickets are $39 for General Seating and $49 for VIP seating. Doors at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel open at 5:00. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.hawaiiperformingartsfestival.org or www.hamakuamusicfestival.com or by phoning the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel at 822-7222 Ext. 5708

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Autumn in New York Week #2 2009

Aloha Everyone!
Autumn in New York Report # 2 right here finally!
I had such a great time being there, catching up with friends and going to places that I love... never enough time to do all that but at least I got to some places. And the weather was just GORGEOUS! Loved it... very lucky!


Here's Marshal Williams who is a playwright and whom I worked with on the Gospel musical production of "Mama, I Want to Sing" in Japan when it first came there. He has received many awards for his efforts in the theatrical world. He hasn't changed since that time which was... Wow, about 21 years ago!


Grand Central Station. This is the train to go to Larchmont, my "hometown".


And my high school girlfriends and I got together at Michael Jordan's The Steak House, underneath the Grand Central "constellation canopy". What great location for the commuters!


Of course, this is the Dress!


And look at this view!!! Michael is a verrry lucky guy to have an office with such spectacular view.


This restaurant, Al Di La in Park Slope was just delicious. OMG, the best Venitian cuisine I've had outside of Venice. Thank you Michael for the totally delicious dinner!!!!


Another Park Slope favorite, Blue Apron Foods. Cute little neighborhood gourmet deli, loaded with quality cheese and other goodies. Yummy...


Okay, more to come later!!!!!!!!!!