Concert Review: Ho’ike ‘Ike O Wai’anae 2008

Concert/Competition: Ho’ike ‘Ike O Wai’anae 2008
Date: Saturday, September 27, 2008
Venue: Makaha Terrace at the Makaha Resort and Golf Club
Master of Ceremonies: Kimo Alama Keaulana
Judges: Kanani Kamahele, Trina Kane, Keawe Lopes and Roy Robins, Sr.

Makaha Resort

The 2008 Ho’ike ‘Ike O Wai’anae took place yesterday, Saturday, September 27, 2008 at the Makaha Resort and Golf Club’s Makaha Terrace. I attended this event upon invitation of my good friend and competitor: singer, songwriter and musician Nathaniel Mahealani Stillman. The event, the brain child of the late Aunty Doreen Lindsey, serves a Haku Mele (music composition) competition where composers who write songs that speak of the people, places, things or events of the Wai’anae Coast have an opportunity to have their songs evaluated and performed before respected judges and an audience for prizes. The competition is currently in its fourth year of existence and this year featured 4 entrants before a highly appreciative crowd at the Makaha Resort who turned out for a great morning of Hawaiian music. The event did not disappoint. In addition to the competition the event featured a performance by Ku’uipo Kumukahi and the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders. Several notable figures within the Hawaiian Music industry and Hawaiiana scene were in attendance including event MC Kimo Alama Keaulana and UH Hawaiian Language Professor Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier.

The Competition


In order of entry, this year’s entrants and their compositions (my apologies in advance for misspelling of names or lack of names as the info was not published in the program and my listening skills are imperfect) included the following:

Mahealani Stillman performs

Entry #1: “Gorgeous Ka’ala No Ho’i” by Nathaniel Mahealani Stillman (last year’s winner) with Chadwick Pang and Chad Takasughi on back-up. As told by Mahealani, he wrote the song as a response to the continued inspiration the mountain range has given to him. As he puts it, “I kept having visions of the mountain.”

Lihau Hannahs performs

Entry #2: “Ka Nani O Ka’ala” by Lihau Hannahs (words) and friend (music). As Lihau shares, she wrote this song as a class assignment for her Hawaiian language course under Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier at UH Manoa. Her class visited Ka’ala as a field trip exercise and in response he asked them to compose a Mele Pana. She did her assignment and had her words set to music by her musically gifted friend (whose name I did not get, e kala mai).

"Na 'Ohana o Nanakuli"

Entry #3: “Na ‘Ohana O Nanakuli.” I did not get the name of the composer but this was a Jawaiian-styled song with the music and back-up vocals done by her cousin Shannah Kai of Brothers and Sisters fame. The composer performed the song in a duet fashion with her grand daughter which was just cute. The song, as told by the composer, was written to help instill community-pride in the youth of Nanakuli to counteract many of the negative stereotypes that are prevalent about the community. More power to that!!!

Frank Damas and crew perform

Entry #4: “Pua ‘Ehukai” by Frank Damas. As told by Frank, he wrote this song in honor of his family home and the verdance with which his father was able to work of the land surrounding it. With an awesome leo ki’eki’e and moving personal story behind it, “Pua ‘Ehukai” secured the judges nod for the win.

Quick Results:

4th Place: “Na ‘Ohana o Nanakuli
3rd Place: “Gorgeous Ka’ala No Ho’i”
2nd Place: “Ka Nani O Ka’ala”
1st Place: “Pua ‘Ehukai”

Featured Concert
Following the competition proper, Ku’uipo Kumukahi and the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders put on a short concert which was off the charts featuring some great traditional Hawaiian music and lots of impromptu hula performances from those in attendance.

Ipo Kumukahi and Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders

The songs featured on their set included the following:

  • “Wahine Hele La O Kaiona” (“He Inoa No Pauahi” to Kamehameha School students and alums)
  • “Ka Lehua I Milia”
  • “Pretty Red Hibiscus”
  • “Sands” (Steel Guitar number featuring Dr. Isaac Akuna)
  • “He Aloha No O Wai’anae
  • “Ke Aloha” (featuring Uncle Kimo doing the hula)
  • “Tewetewe”
  • “Laimana” (featuring Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier doing the hula)
  • “Aloha Kaua’i”
  • “Moanikeala”
  • “Kilakila Na Rough Rider” (with an impromptu hula that REALLY got the crowd going)
  • Hana Hou: Queen Lili’uokalani Medley: “Paoakalani/Aloha ‘Oe”

Many of the songs played are on her latest release, “Na Lani ‘Eha.” For more of Ipo Kumukahi’s works you can check out Aunty Maria’s page here.

Final Thoughts

Ho’ike ‘Ike O Wai’anae 2008 was an awesome event!!! I’m very glad I had a chance to check out this event with my parents (and wife) who just love Hawaiian music. Hearing the radio these days it is obvious that traditional Hawaiian music does not sell as popularly as some other genres of Island music so being a lover of the traditional mele I am always glad when events such as this come along and when artists who perform Hawaiian language music release an album.

The event is still embryonic but it’s events like these that are necessary to help us preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian music in the traditional form. Ipo Kumukahi put it best in one of soliloquy’s to the audience (paraphrased), “When Aunty Genoa passed I was devastated. My father had told me that when she passed it’d be my kuleana to help take up and carry the torch of traditional Hawaiian music forward. Looking to the future it’s not too clear if they’ll be others to take the torch after our time has passed. Seeing the talent at today’s competition I can proudly say the future of Hawaiian music is in good hands.

Amene to that. E ola mau i ka mele Hawai’i!!!! See you at next year’s Ho’ike ‘Ike O Wai’anae!!!!

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