A Great Night For Hula And Jazz

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - September 15, 2010
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Kamehameha Hawaiian Ensemble dancers (from left) Royal Kalua-Santiago, Moani Gabriel, Kiana Kekoa and Chelsie Puuohau-Hashimoto

Not one, but two not-to-miss concerts are happening Saturday (Sept. 25): Kapalama I Ka Po Mahina (Kapalama on a Moonlit Night) and the Manoa Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Both start at 6 p.m., both feature award-winning musicians and both are presented by schools stacked with students. Decisions, decisions ...

Kapalama I Ka Po Mahina is presented by Kamehameha Schools Kapalama and features a lineup of Na Hoku Hanohano award winners Holunape, Ho’okena, Hoku Zuttermeister and A Touch of Gold.

Providing the hula portion of the program are the guests of honor, the group of students this concert is all about, Kamehameha Hawaiian Ensemble and its equally talented director, kumu Kaleo Trinidad.

The concert is the key fundraiser for the ensemble, a school club rooted in history that plans to take its students to Aotearoa (New Zealand). During the 11-day trip, the students will perform and share their Hawaiian culture with New Zealand students through song, dance, language and performing arts and through exchanges with local New Zealand schools.

“The Kamehameha Hawaiian Ensemble is a club that was started in the ‘60s by Aunty Nona Beamer,” says Trinidad. “It lasted for about 10 to 15 years, then the program started again in 1998. We’re made up of singers and dancers, dancers mostly. And about 99 percent of what we do is hula (both kahiko and auana) and oli.”

Larry Carlton

Comprised of more than 50 sophomores, juniors and seniors, the ensemble is a collection of talent that stems from halau throughout the state.

“A lot of these students have danced for quite a while because it’s a club that you need to audition for,” adds Trinidad. “What also makes this club special is a lot of our students are Hawaiian language students and in other performing arts, so it’s really a special place because we have a lot of students who are cultural experts in their own right.”

This fundraising concert will help defer the $2,000 per student cost and allow the group to not only share Hawaii’s dance, language and culture with the people of Aotearoa, but also provide the students with a life-changing experience.

‘We chose Aotearoa because culturally they are so strong,” adds Trinidad. “They have cultural movements that are way ahead of where we are at here in Hawaii. So we have a lot to learn from them. They have been a real source of strength for the Hawaiian culture for many years. We want to ignite that same intensity and passion in our students.”

Rounding out the concert are steak and garlic chicken plates and two highly anticipated desserts.

According to Trinidad, (who was part of the select few invited to the top-secret taste test) these two desserts are “fantastic.”

“Kamehameha is known for two desserts: (fair-colored) brownies and peach cobbler,” he adds. “What we’re going to do is take each of the desserts, put a scoop of ice cream on each and then cover it with one of our students’ family’s secret recipes, which is a chocolate haupia sauce.”

The concert is happening at Kamamalu Courtyard (hula mound) at Kamehameha’s Elementary School. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 presale and $30 at the door. For tickets, call Nikki Thompson at 783-1029.

“The whole trip is going to be a very cultural experience because we aren’t going to stay in any hotels,” says Trinidad. “We’re visiting three cities, and in each of the cities we will be hosted at their cultural centers (marae). I hope through this trip that our students will be inspired to be leaders, continue to share our culture and learn from other cultures.” ...

Offering up a different melodious event under the same moon is the 2010 Manoa Jazz & Heritage Festival at Andrews Amphitheatre.

Standing center stage is 18-time Grammy nominee and three-time Grammy winner Larry Carlton with the Larry Carlton Trio (Larry Carlton on guitar, Travis Carlton on bass and Gene Coye on drums).

“It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Islands, so I’m looking forward to it,” says Carlton. “And this time I’m coming with what I call the ‘Young Guns’ because they’re 28 and 26 years old.”

The Larry Carlton Trio got its legs two years ago, when Travis (Larry’s son) introduced him to Coye. The three have been performing together since.

“My son was born with a musical gift,” adds Larry. “He is a world-class bass player and Coye is a talented drummer. I know I’m bringing a strong show.”

Carlton’s resume also includes accolades such as the recipient of Guitar Player magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and his solo on Kid Charlemagne (Steely Dan) made Rolling Stones’list of 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

“I started as a studio musician in 1970 when I was just 22 years old, and I’ve played with some of the best musicians,” says Larry. “I was fortunate to have had those opportunities.”

He has worked in studio with musicians and groups including Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Jerry Garcia, Sammy Davis Jr., Herb Alpert, Quincy Jones, Bobby Bland, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, to name a few.

“My solo career has been my main focus for the past 30 years,” says Carlton, who adds he’ll use his two “vacation” days after the concert to lounge and relax. “And three years ago I was able to check off something on my to-do list, which was to start my own record company. So I’m really excited about that.”

Larry Carlton and his young guns will be joined on stage by local talents Robert Shinoda & Friends (Jeff Richman, Vernon Sakata, Noel Okimoto and Bruce Hamada and the Punahou Jazz Band.

Tickets cost $15 to $35. Purchase advance discount tickets online at etickethawaii.com or by phone at 944-2697.

Also enjoy dining options from Simply Ono and Centerplate Catering (cash only), or bring your own picnic.

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