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.


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