Windward

Josh Tatofi
Cover Story by Liberty Peralta

NĀ MELE: Traditions in Hawaiian Song - Josh Tatofi, Monday, June 24, 7:30 pm

BY LIBERTY PERALTA , PBS HAWAI‘I

 

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.

 

Likewise, he didn’t find music particularly special right away. He was about six years old when his dad would start showing him basic notes on the bass guitar. He’d also go through the motions of taking guitar and piano lessons. “I was so over it,” he says of the latter. “I wanted to play with the kids next door.”

 

That feeling changed a few years later – “when I was eight or nine” – when he and fellow children of Kapena’s band members were “thrown onstage to play a couple of songs,” recalls Tatofi. “I liked the feeling of being onstage, playing music. I wanted to be like my dad.”

 

He’d find further inspiration from R&B vocalists like Luther Vandross and Pebo Bryson. “Love songs, ballads is what I love to sing,” says Tatofi.

 

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.

 

“I came off stage, and I didn’t know, but Kumu Hula Auntie Aloha Dalire was in the crowd,” Tatofi says. “She tells me: ‘Eh, I don’t know what you’re doing with your music career life, but I think you should sing Hawaiian music.’ And I was like: ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Thank you, Auntie, but no, I just don’t think that’s the right thing to do.’”

 

Dalire passed away a week or two later.

 

“I remember singing at her funeral, and I remembered the conversation that we had, and it just lingered upon me for a while,” Tatofi says.

 

His desire to stay in the Islands and entertain local audiences, encouragement from friends, and a growing ease and excitement in creating Hawaiian music arrangements, steered him toward writing more Hawaiian mele.

 

Tatofi admits he doesn’t speak the Hawaiian language, so he writes his music in Tongan, his family’s native language, then in English, before enlisting the help of friends fluent in Hawaiian to translate.

 

“When you try to write it in English [first], and then translate it to Hawaiian, it’s kind of difficult just saying ‘I miss you,’” he says. “In order to get the proper ‘I miss you’ in Hawaiian, I have to write it in Tongan first, ‘cause once I translate it from Tongan, it turns into something like, ‘The morning mist lingers throughout my day.’ That part just kind of kills me, because it picks at your brain and your heart at the same time.”

 

Josh Tatofi (center) with bandmates Travis Kaka (left) and Laupepa Letuli (right)

Josh Tatofi (center) with bandmates Travis Kaka (left) and Laupepa Letuli (right)

 

Tatofi wrote his first Hawaiian language song, “Pua Kiele” – “not knowing once we released that song, that it would change my life forever,” says Tatofi. His 2016 debut album, also called Pua Kiele, would go on to win two Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards.

 

He hasn’t let success get to his head. “I’m still a student of being a practitioner of Hawaiian music, of Hawaiian culture,” he says. “I’m still very much learning.”

 

This month, Tatofi is featured on a new episode of PBS Hawai‘i’s Nā Mele: Traditions in Hawaiian Song. He’s joined by bandmates Travis Kaka on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and Laupepa Letuli on lead guitar and backing vocals. The program also features hula dancers from three different hālau: Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela, Hālau Hi‘iakaināmakalehua and Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea. Watch this performance on Monday, June 24 at 7:30 pm on PBS Hawai‘i. The program will also be available to view online here at pbshawaii.org.

 

Josh Tatofi on NĀ MELE: Traditions in Hawaiian Music, Monday, June 24, 7:30 pm

 

 

NĀ MELE: TRADITIONS IN HAWAIIAN SONG
Josh Tatofi

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.

 

Preview

 

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.

 

Josh Tatofi on NĀ MELE: Traditions in Hawaiian Music, Monday, June 24, 7:30 pm

 

HIKI NŌ
#1014 – Top Stories from the Winter Quarter of the 2018-2019 School Year

HIKI NŌ #1014 – Top stories from the Winter Quarter of the 2018-2019 school year

 

This compilation show features some of the top stories from the Winter Quarter of the 2018-2019 school year:

 

–Students from Maui High School in Kahului introduce us to Maui High robotics captain John Fabella. John’s mother passed away when he was just seven years of age, and his father was deported. Growing up without his biological parents, John found an extended family in his Maui Waena Intermediate School robotics team and later, in the Maui High School team.

 

Program

 

–Students from Wai‘anae High School on tell the story of a female wrestler who used to be teased and bullied about her weight, and lost the pounds to regain her self-esteem.

 

–Students from Kalāheo High School in Windward O‘ahu focus on the importance of taking responsibility while driving. Their story is framed by the recent traffic fatalities in the Kaka‘ako neighborhood of O‘ahu and how that tragedy sparked a family’s memories of losing their daughter in a drunk driving incident.

 

–Students from Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy Middle School in the Waimea district of Hawai‘i Island show us the proper way to saddle a horse.

 

–Students from Ewa Makai Middle School on O‘ahu feature two cancer survivors who battled with their diseases at a very early age: Lily Mallory, who was undergoing treatment for her cancer at the age of three, and Emi Robison, who was battling leukemia at the age of seven.

 

–Students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kaua‘i introduce us to Mike Coots, a surfer and photographer from Kīlauea, Kaua‘i, who lost his leg in a shark attack and now, ironically, works to protect sharks against the ravages of the shark fin soup industry.

 

–Students from Maui Waena Intermediate School in Kahului feature a food truck owner who starts a pay-it-forward campaign to help feed workers affected by the recent federal government shutdown.

 

–Students from Moanalua High School on O‘ahu introduce us to figure skater and Moanalua High School senior Kyra Fukumoto. While Hawai‘i has only one ice skating rink, and its resources for training figure skaters is very limited compared to the Mainland, Kyra is adamant about being based out of her home state. She is very proud of being from Hawai‘i and looks forward to representing the islands in her career as a figure skater.

 

This special episode is hosted by Tyler Bright, a 2018 HIKI NŌ graduate from Wai‘anae High School on O‘ahu who is currently studying biology at Chaminade University in Honolulu, with hopes of becoming either a canine rehabilitation therapist or a physical therapist.

 

 

 

 

NĀ MELE: TRADITIONS IN HAWAIIAN SONG
Mailani

NA MELE: Mailani

 

With lighting dimmed to mimic the rosy blush of sunset, and a waterfall trickling lightly in the background, Mailani Makainai takes us on a musical journey. The lush greenery that blankets the studio is a tribute to Mailani’s beloved home on the Windward Side of O‘ahu. In this first NĀ MELE performed at PBS Hawai‘i’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Multimedia Studio, she performs “Hamama I Ka ‘Iu,” an affectionate portrait of the Hamama waterfall in Waihe‘e Valley. Kau‘i Dalire joins the songstress to dance hula for “Ka Wai Lehua ‘A‘ala Ka Honua.”

 

Program

 

 

 

HIKI NŌ
#1009 – Skater Kyra Fukumoto and other stories

HIKI NŌ #1009 – Skater Kyra Fukumoto and other stories

 

TOP STORY

 

“Skating for the Islands”
Students from Moanalua High School on O‘ahu introduce us to figure skater from Moanalua High School, senior Kyra Fukumoto. She pursues her passion despite limited resources on the island, including only one ice rink. She is very proud of being from Hawai‘i and looks forward to representing the islands in her career as a figure skater. Kyra does not view the Olympics as a realistic goal for her. Instead, she plans to graduate from college and become a professional skater.

 

Program

 

ALSO FEATURED

 

–Students from Kalāheo High School in Windward O‘ahu explain the complexities of funding and preparing lunch at the state’s public schools.

 

–Students from Island School on Kaua‘i show us how to make a traditional haku lei.

 

–Students from Mid-Pacific on O‘ahu spotlight the comeback of Hanafuda, a traditional Japanese card game.

 

–Students from Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha Public Charter School on Kaua‘i profile a native Niihau woman who struggles with a major career decision that will impact the future of the Niihau dialect and culture.

 

–Students from Connections Public Charter School in the Hilo district of Hawai‘i Island take a look back at the late Hawaiian slack-key guitar master Cyril Pahinui’s dedication to music education.

 

–Students from Kalani High School in East O‘ahu profile a young tie-dye designer who is inspired by 1960s culture.

 

This episode of HIKI NŌ is hosted by students from Maui Waena Intermediate School in Kahului, Maui.

 

 

 

HIKI NŌ
Episode # 906 – 2017 HIKI NŌ Fall Challenge

 

This episode features stories from the 2017 HIKI NŌ Fall Challenge. In September of 2017, five high schools and nine middle schools participated in a challenge in which teams had exactly four days to conceptualize, shoot, write, and edit a HIKI NŌ story based on a specific theme. No work could be done on the stories prior to the production window because the theme was not revealed until the start of the four-day sprint. The theme of this challenge was “What it’s Like to Walk in Another Person’s Shoes.” No teachers, or adults of any kind, could provide hands-on assistance. It was all up to the students.

 

TOP STORIES
Included in this episode are the winners of the Middle School and High School Divisions of the 2017 HIKI NŌ Fall Challenge. The Middle School winners were from ‘Ewa Makai Middle School in the ‘Ewa district of O‘ahu. Their story “Lolita” features a drag queen in his early 20s who explains how taking on his drag persona of Lolita gives him confidence and helps him cope with a sometimes difficult life. The winning High School story, “Hurricane Harvey Relief,” was created by students at Kalaheo High School in Windward O‘ahu. It follows a group of volunteers who put themselves in the shoes of Houston’s Hurricane Harvey victims and helped to collect goods toward the relief effort.

 

ALSO FEATURED
–Students from Maui High School created a story about what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a teen transitioning to a new gender.

 

–Students from Kapa‘a High School on Kaua‘i featured the school band president who is successful at what he does because he tries to walk in the shoes of his fellow musicians.

 

–Students from Wai‘anae High School in West O‘ahu stress the importance of empathy in dealing with people who suffer from a very painful condition known as Fibromyalgia.

 

–Students from Kamehameha Schools Maui Middle show us that walking in the shoes of someone who moved to Hawaiʻi for a better life helps us to better appreciate our island home.

 

–Students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kaua‘i help us to consider what it’s like being a teenager who is prone to suicide.

 

–Students from Maui Waena Intermediate School in Kahului tell the story of a cobbler who creates custom shoes for people who can’t wear conventional footwear.

 

This program encores Saturday, Sept. 8, at 12:00 pm and Sunday, Sept. 9, at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website, www.pbshawaii.org/hikino.

 

 

HIKI NŌ
Episode # 915: Girls Got Grit and other stories

 

TOP STORY

 

Students from Sacred Hearts Academy, an all-girl school in the Kaimuki district of O‘ahu, tell the story of their school’s professional mentoring program called Girls Got Grit. The program places Sacred Hearts students in professional work places where they are mentored by female staffers. The story follows Sacred Hearts junior Shelby Mattos, who is interning at Hawaii News Now through Girls Got Grit. “Being in Girls Got Grit allows students to enter a professional business environment, and doing that kind of sets a level of expectations for when we enter the workforce,” says Mattos. Other Girls Got Grit internships include Castle Medical Center and Alexander & Baldwin. The program’s director Shelly Kramer says, “I want these girls to come out strong, empowered and feeling that they have a network that they can touch.”

 

ALSO FEATURED

 

–Students from Hilo Intermediate School on Hawai‘i Island show us how to make a refreshing AND healthy snack: a yogurt parfait.

 

–Students from Mililani Middle School in Central O‘ahu feature Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking, a nonprofit with a mission of addressing gender inequity in the film and media industry.

 

–Students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kaua‘i tell the story of a young woman who designs and builds a wheelchair for her disabled dog.

 

–Students from Seabury Hall Middle School in upcountry Maui explore the integral role of mules at Haleakala National Park.

 

–Students from Kapa‘a Middle School on Kaua‘i feature a young woman in the traditionally male role of a Samoan fire knife dancer.

 

–Students from King Intermediate School in Windward O‘ahu tell the story of a female student who fell in love with DJ-ing.

 

This episode of HIKI NŌ is hosted by students at President William McKinley High School in Honolulu.

 

 

HIKI NŌ
Episode #806

 

TOP STORY
Adults today bemoan the fact that members of the younger generation spend all of their waking hours on their smartphones. Young people from that very generation – students from Kapa‘a Middle School on Kaua‘i will surprise viewers with their video primer on “Ten Things To Do When You’re NOT On Your Smartphone.” The activities they feature include making new friends, volunteering for a worthy cause, learning a new hobby – all things that take you away from the virtual world of your screen and into engaging with people face-to-face in the actual, physical world.

 

ALSO FEATURED
Students at Kapolei High School in Central O‘ahu tell the story of a school fun-run that was renamed to honor a teacher’s daughter who passed away from cancer.

 

Students at Konawaena High School in the Kona district of Hawai‘i Island tell the poignant story of a same-sex married couple whose love lives on after the tragic death of one partner.

 

Students from Radford High School in the Salt Lake district of O‘ahu tell the story of a football coach who makes life lessons a priority over winning.

 

Students from Kua O Ka La Miloli‘i Hipu‘u Virtual Academy in South Kona show us how to make unique t-shirt prints out of recycled materials.

 

And students from Kainalu Elementary School on the Windward side of O‘ahu show us how to use earthworms to make a nutrient-rich type of fertilizer.

 

This program encores Saturday, Dec. 24 at 12:00 pm and Sunday, Dec. 25 at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website, www.pbshawaii.org/hikino.

 



INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I
Maui County Council – Moloka‘i / State Senate District 25

 

 

With an unemployment rate of more than 15 percent, the GMO ban would hit Moloka‘i the hardest. Maui County Council incumbent Stacy Crivello and challenger Keani Rawlins- Fernandez discuss how they plan to boost employment opportunities for Moloka‘i residents.

 

State District 25 Senator Laura Thielen and her Republican challenger, Robert Nagamine, are featured during the show’s second half. Theilen has been fighting to preserve agricultural land on behalf of the Windward O‘ahu district, while Nagamine says his top priority is helping people, especially the homeless.

 

Your questions and comments are welcome via phone, email and via Twitter during the Live Broadcast.

 

Phone Lines:
462-5000 on Oahu or 800-238-4847 on the Neighbor Islands.

 

Email:
insights@pbshawaii.org

 

Twitter:
Join our live discussion using #pbsinsights

 

HIKI NŌ
Hongwanji Mission School

 

TOP STORY

 

Students from Mid-Pacific in the Manoa district of Oahu tell how former UH Warrior assistant football coach and former NFL player Rich Miano devoted his life to exceling in football as a reaction to the tragic death of his brother Robert Miano. Soon after the Miano family moved to Hawaii from Massachusetts, a teenaged Robert Miano lost his footing on an ocean cliff in Portlock, injured his head and passed away. Says Rich, “We [he and Robert] shared the same room, we played the same sports, we walked home together. We were inseparable. He was my best friend.” To honor the memory of his brother, Rich wore Robert’s jersey number (38) throughout his career and channeled his inspiration into tremendously successful careers as a player and coach.

 

ALSO FEATURED:

 

Students from Aliamanu Middle School on Oahu explore the challenges of moms deployed for military duty abroad.

 

As a companion piece to this story, we turn to the HIKI NŌ archives for a past story from Kainalu Elementary School in Windward Oahu about programs that help elementary school children deal with the trauma of separation from their deployed parents.

 

Students from H.P. Baldwin High School on Maui profile teenaged artist Sofia Bews, whose artwork has been featured in the prestigious online and print publication Rookie Mag.

 

Students at Hawaii Preparatory Academy on Hawaii Island tell the story of the Annual BK Fun Run, held in honor of HPA alumna Bieni Kohler Johnson, who passed away from breast cancer.

 

Students at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kauai tell the story of basketball coach Clarence Sales. Clarence became paralyzed from the waist down as the result of an injury sustained in a fight. Rather than giving up on life, Clarence decided to use his experience in overcoming adversity to teach valuable life lessons to his players.

 

This episode of HIKI NŌ is hosted by Hongwanji Mission School in the Nuuanu district of Honolulu.

 

This program encores Saturday, April 2 at 12:00 pm and Sunday, April 3 at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website, www.pbshawaii.org/hikino.