Culture

NĀ MELE: TRADITIONS IN HAWAIIAN SONG
Josh Tatofi

 

As a young child, Josh Tatofi thought he had an ordinary life. “I thought everyone’s dad was a rock star, and I thought everyone was playing music,” he says. His father, Tivaini Tatofi, was a founding member of local island music group Kapena. “I didn’t really know that my childhood was special until way later,” says the younger Tatofi.

 

Download the transcript of this program

 

NĀ MELE: Traditions in Hawaiian Song - Josh Tatofi and his bandmates Travis Kaka (left) and Laupepa Letuli (right)

NĀ MELE: Traditions in Hawaiian Song – Josh Tatofi and his bandmates Travis Kaka (left) and Laupepa Letuli (right)

 

Born in Honolulu, Tatofi grew up on Windward O‘ahu, in Kāne‘ohe, before moving with his family to Maui in his early teens. It was in Kāne‘ohe that Tatofi would have a breakthrough moment, when his friends of the Hawaiian music group Hū‘ewa invited him onstage at a bar to sing a Hawaiian-language song.

 

NĀ MELE: Traditions in Hawaiian Song - Josh Tatofi's performance includes a Hula performance

The program also features hula dancers from three different hālau: Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela, Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua and Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea.

 

Read more about Josh Tatofi in our June program guide cover story here.

 

More from Josh Tatofi:

 

Kaleohano, commentary

 

Kaleohano. Written by Louis Moon Kauakahi

 

Kāneʻohe

 

Kuʻu Leo Aloha

 

Kuʻu Pua Ilima

 

Lei Hala, featuring Hālau HiʻIakaināmakalehua

 

Leolani

 

Pua Kiele, featuring Hālau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine

 

 

 

 

 

International Jazz Day from Cuba

International Jazz Day from Cuba

 

More than four dozen world-renowned artists come together for an International Jazz Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, culminating in an all-star concert. Featuring performances by Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Marcus Miller, Chucho Valdes and more.

 

 

 

NĀ MELE: TRADITIONS IN HAWAIIAN SONG
Natalie Ai Kamauu and Family

Na Mele: Natalie Ai Kamauu and Family

 

Natalie Ai Kamauu’s voice fills the PBS Hawaiʻi studio.  Natalie performs with a passion that comes from the origins of the songs she sings, and the love she has for her family. She is joined by her husband, Iolani Kamauu, on guitar and vocals, and their daughter, Sha-Lei Kamauu, who accompanies the music with hula.

 

Program

 

Among the songs featured are “Pili Aloha,” which connects Natalie to her mother, kumu hula Olana Ai, and “Shower Tree,” which was written for Natalie and Iolani’s son, Chaz. Sha-Lei joins Natalie and Iolani with hula, including the playful “Hula Tease,” and a graceful accompaniment to Natalie and Iolaniʻs performance on “Uhiwai.”

 

 

 

NĀ MELE: TRADITIONS IN HAWAIIAN SONG
Weldon Kekauoha

Story by Emilie Howlett

 

 

Hawaiian musician Weldon Kekauoha has been crafting beloved musical arrangements and sharing them with Hawai‘i, the continental U.S. and beyond for over 30 years. He’s enjoyed a successful solo career, amassing multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards and, in 2014, a Grammy nomination. For the past 15 years, he has been going to Japan to perform, finding an enthusiastic audience there that has embraced the Hawaiian culture.

 

Web exclusive:

 

 

Kekauoha gave a soulful performance in PBS Hawai‘i’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Multimedia Studio, for the taping of our newest Nā Mele. In this episode of our traditional Hawaiian music series, guitarist Jack Ofoia, bassist Alika Boy Kalauli IV and hula dancer Yuko Hashimoto accompany Kekauoha with a performance set against dramatic photo backdrops of Hawai‘i landscapes.

 

Identifying himself as a contemporary artist with a traditional foundation, Kekauoha goes in-depth about the meaning behind his songs, his experience as a longtime performer and the importance of music in his life.

 

He also addresses an incident at the Halekulani Hotel in 2013. While enjoying the pool during a weekend getaway at the Waikīkī hotel, Kekauoha and his family were asked by security guards to verify that they were guests. The guards were acting on another hotel guest’s suspicion that the Kekauohas did not belong at the pool because they were locals.

 

Kekauoha vented about the incident on Facebook. The post went viral, sparking widespread outrage. The hotel apologized, but for Kekauoha to be a target of discrimination in the same neighborhood where he and many other Hawaiian musicians made a name for themselves was a bitter irony for him.

 

Today, Kekauoha says he doesn’t harbor any ill feelings toward the hotel. “Hopefully it brought a little bit more of an awareness,” he says. “Racism can rear its head often, and we’ve got to always be vigilant to try and keep it in its place.” Thankfully, as Kekauoha knows intimately from his world travels, nothing breaks down barriers of difference better than the art of sharing music.

 

In these excerpts from an interview with Kekauoha and Jason Suapaia, PBS Hawai‘i’s Vice President of Integrated Media Production, Kekauoha highlights the many ways music has touched his life.

 

 

PBS Hawai‘i: How important is music in perpetuating the Hawaiian culture?

Weldon Kekauoha: Very, very important. People say hula has been able to sustain that part of the culture, and from there, so much of the [Hawaiian] Renaissance has been able to flourish. More interest has grown because of hula, and music has always been there in the background.

 

I think music is a little bit of a different animal, only because it’s so open for creativity and influence. If you look at so much of the history of Hawaiian music – in Hawai‘i, on the U.S. mainland, even abroad – it’s incredible to see how much the music has changed from being super traditional, and then going way out from it, to being commercialized.  And I mean that in a good way. There’s of course some negative aspects to it, and then “Hollywood-ized,” if you will. Then it took a long while to bring it back [to the traditional], because it just got so way out from the original intent of our culture. But it’s neat to see the revival of all that is Hawaiian, and the new pride that has been fostered from it. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next 20 years.

 

Kekauoha, left, performs on Nā Mele with bassist Alika Boy Kalauli IV and hula dancer Yuko Hashimoto. Photo: Richard Drake

 

How has music touched your life, and your family’s life, and what would it be without music?

I can’t imagine how it would be without music. It’s always been there, it’s always been in the background for me at some level. And obviously, now, where I am, it’s what I do and it’s what I’m known for. I feel blessed that I get to do what I love to do. Oftentimes, people are looking for something to do that they enjoy, and I think if it wasn’t for music, I would probably embrace whatever it is that I was doing, and that would become perhaps my passion and I’d make it work. That’s your job. If you’re not happy, you gotta change.  But if you get to know your job well, and you love it, it’s a different type of enjoyment.  In this case, it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed since I was a young boy. To be able to carry it over into sustaining me, my family and my life all this time, I’ve been lucky.   And it’s still a work in progress. It’s like any other business; you gotta kind of take care of it, and try to make sure you have something good to sell, something good to give people. And you just continue with good relationships and good performances, and all that that entails. Having a good business is pretty much what you should shoot for.

 

When people listen to your music, what do you hope they will get from it?

I just hope that they would like my music, for whatever reason – whether it strikes a chord in them, or reminds them of something. Even I am totally susceptible; I can listen to a song and it just takes me back somewhere. And that’s the power of music. I always remember how strong music can be. I just hope [listeners] take away something. I don’t expect one song to be like a huge, life-changing moment for anybody, but if I can have a place in someone’s heart or mind because of my music, I think that would be my goal. I want them to take away something from my music that they will always remember, whether it’s a feeling or the melody.

 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

 

 

 



PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
Ka Hana Kapa

PBS HAWAII PRESENTS Hawaiian Masterpieces: Ka Hana Kapa

 

Ka Hana Kapa documents the history of kapa in Hawaiʻi and follows the complex process of Hawaiian kapa making from start to finish. Hawaiian kapa is one of the most beautiful art forms in the Pacific. In ancient Hawaiʻi, kapa, or bark cloth made from the wauke plant (Broussonetia papyrifera), was used for clothing, bedding, the wrapping of precious iwi (ancestor’s bones), important ceremonies, and a myriad of other purposes, making it an integral part of everyday life in Hawaiian society. Ka Hana Kapa is the story of kapa making in Hawaiʻi, as told by these dedicated kapa practitioners and their students, who have given new life to this intricate cultural practice. The film features interviews with kapa practitioners Marie McDonald, Roen Hufford, Dalani Tanahy, Moana Eisele, Dennis Kana’e Keawe, Kaʻiulani de Silva, and Eric Enos. Ka Hana Kapa also showcases the thrilling appearance of Halau O Kekuhi led by kumu hula Nalani Kanaka’ole attired in original kapa made specifically for the Halau at the opening of the 2011 Merrie Monarch Festival.

 

 

 

THE HISPANIC HERITAGE AWARDS 2019

THE HISPANIC HERITAGE AWARDS 2019, Residente

 

The Hispanic Heritage Awards will honor five to seven individuals or organizations doing outstanding work in a variety of fields to benefit the Hispanic and Latino community in the United States and abroad. The evening will feature award presentations for each of these honorees, as well as featured musical performances.

 

 

 

MOVEABLE FEAST WITH FINE COOKING
On the Road in Madrid, Spain

 

In this episode of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, host Pete Evans is on the road in Madrid with two of the city’s rising star chefs, Benjamin Bensoussan and Manuel Berganza. The trio creates a delectable feast in one of the most coveted Madrid rooftop restaurants, Picalagartos Sky Bar. Before the cooking begins, Pete, Ben, and Manuel head to an ecological farm on the outskirts of Madrid, and then make a stop at the famed restaurant Cinco Jotas, where Pete learns the right way to carve a Jamon Iberico (iberian ham). Back at Manuel’s restaurant, NuBel, the chefs cook up delectable Ceps Tatin, a Whole Roasted Suckling Pig, plus other mouthwatering local dishes-all to be enjoyed by guests at a spectacular Spanish rooftop feast.

 

 

 

NĀ MELE: TRADITIONS IN HAWAIIAN SONG
The Lim Family

NĀ MELE: The Lim Family

 

Our newest offering of NĀ MELE: TRADITIONS IN HAWAIIAN SONG features the hugely talented, musical Lim Family of Kohala, Hawai‘i Island. Family members perform regularly at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, as well as the nearby Mauna Lani Bay Hotel, and they also travel often to Japan to entertain audiences and to teach hula. This program, recorded in PBS Hawai‘i’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Multimedia Studio, is a new setting for the Lims. But they seem at home almost anywhere, surrounded by music and family. On the program, you’ll see siblings Sonny Lim, Nani Lim Yap and Lorna Lim perform as a trio. Among the featured hula dancers are family members Namakana Davis-Lim, Brianna “Wehi” Lim Ryder and Asialynn Yap. Songs performed include “Lei Ana O Kohala,” “Ka Wahine O Ka Lua” and the instrumental “Pau Hana Rag.”

 

Program

 

 

 

The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo

 

The Rise and Fall of the Brown Buffalo is an innovative look into the life of radical Chicano lawyer, author, and countercultural icon, Oscar Zeta Acosta – best known for his volatile friendship with legendary journalist-provocateur, Hunter S. Thompson. The author of two groundbreaking autobiographical novels, Acosta’s powerful literary voice, brash courtroom style and notorious revolutionary antics made him a revered figure within the Chicano movement, and offered one of the most brazen, frontal assaults on white supremacy seen at the time. Yet in hindsight, Acosta is more known as Thompson’s bumbling Samoan sidekick in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas than for his own work exposing racial bias, hypocrisy, and repression within the California justice system. This film sets out to right this historical wrong, giving Acosta his due place as an imperfect, but larger-than-life figure in American history. Channeling the spirit of the psychedelic 60s and the joyful irreverence of Gonzo journalism, the film also shows Acosta’s personal and creative evolution play out against the backdrop of a society in turmoil. From his origins in segregated rural California, to his stint as a Baptist missionary in Panama, his radicalization in the Chicano movement of the 60s, to his mysterious disappearance in Mexico in 1974, director Phillip Rodriguez offers us a complex figure emblematic of a generation. Relevant now more than ever, this untold story probes issues of racial identity, criminal justice, and media representation, while revealing the personal story of a troubled and brilliant man coming to terms with his identity and finding meaning in the struggles of his people.

 

 

 

Silent Sacrifice:
Stories of Japanese American Incarceration

Silent Sacrifice: Stories of Japanese American Incarceration

 

Silent Sacrifice: Stories of Japanese American Incarceration is a two-hour documentary film that will shed light on the ramifications of Executive Order 9066. This landmark film shares the experience of Japanese Americans before, during and after WWII with a focus on the Merced, Tulare, Fresno and Pinedale Assembly Centers.

 

Preview

 

 

 

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