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

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 or or by phoning the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel at 822-7222 Ext. 5708


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