Embark on ancestral paths

The 22nd annual Celebration of the Arts at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua this weekend will gather some of Hawaii’s celebrated artisans, educators, cultural practitioners and entertainers.

With the theme, “Ko Makou Alanui Kupuna Our Ancestral Paths,” this popular cultural event will include music and hula by Maui’s Kumu Kamaka’eu Williams and Ka Pa Hula o ka Ulu Koa, performing from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. Saturday in the resort’s lobby lounge.

The Celebration Lu’au and Show will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday in the Aloha Pavilion. The award-winning Halau o Ka Hanu Lehua, under the direction of kumu hula Kamaka Kukona, will bring to life the dance of ancient and contemporary times. The evening will be capped off with music by the Grammy-nominated Hawaiian swing band, Kahulanui.

Drawing inspiration from the Hawaiian swing music orchestras of the 1920s and ’30s, the Hawaii island group performs classic Hawaiian songs in a syncopated style to make Hawaiian swing vibrant and alive for today.

The band’s debut album, “Hula Ku’i,” was the only Hawaii-based recording to be nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award; it received a nod for Best Regional Roots Music Album.

The “Celebration After Hours” party at 9 p.m. Saturday in the Alaloa Lounge features the return to Kapalua of the award-winning Hawaii island-based mother-son duo, Kekuhi Kanahele and Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, with guitarist Shawn Pimental.

A five-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner, known for his unique talent and captivating stage presence, Kaumakaiwa is the eldest grandchild of Pualani Kanaka’ole and the great grandson of revered kumu hula Edith Kanahele Kanaka’ole, one of the leaders of the Hawaiian Renaissance movement. His mother, Kekuhi, is acclaimed as one Hawaii’s greatest chanters. She won the Female Vocalist of the Year Hoku award for her stunning album, “Kekuhi.”

Festival events Sunday include the screening of the documentary “Aunty Nona Beamer – Malama Ko Aloha (Keep Your Love)” by Kenneth Martinez Burgmaier at 4 p.m.

Winona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Beamer, the late mother of Keola and Kapono Beamer, was a revered chanter, composer, kumu hula and author, who spent a lifetime researching and teaching Hawaiiana, a term she coined.


In one week, we lost Hawaiian music icon Rev. Dennis Kamakahi and Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning guitarist/falsetto vocalist Chino Montero.

One of the most prolific writers in Hawaiian music history, a Grammy Award-winner and a multi-Na Hoku winner, Kamakahi died on April 28. He was 62.

“Hawaii has lost one of its greatest sons,” said son David Kamakahi via Facebook. “After his battle with cancer, he was surrounded by family and close friends, with the background filled with the music of Gabby Pahinui and The Sons of Hawaii.”

Best known in recent years for his work backing Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom, guitarist and falsetto vocalist Chino Montero died May 2 of a heart attack. He was 52.

A member of the groups Palolo and Manoa Madness, Chino performed with Gilliom for 12 years and won a Na Hoku in 2011 for his work on “Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawai’i.”

“He had my back for so many years on many different levels,” Gilliom said on Facebook. “He wasn’t just my guitar player, he was a brother.”

Chino was recently nominated for a 2014 Na Hoku for Song of the Year for his debut solo album, “Made In Hawai’i.”


Some Bob Dylan fans on Maui are bemoaning the recent Maui Arts & Cultural Center concert, saying that the rock legend hardly played any of his classic songs -and the ones he did were dramatically revamped.

Anyone who has closely followed this enigmatic artist’s career probably knows that Dylan is far more interested in looking forward than back. For years, he has tended to focus on his current recordings in concert, and, as he has expressed in interviews, he has no interest in “mainlining nostalgia.”

It’s understandably disappointing for old fans wishing to rekindle memories of the past, hearing his songs the way they were initially recorded, but that’s what you get with Bob. He just doesn’t play to the crowd.

Go with no expectations, and you got to delight in brilliant, new, Americana gems like “Early Roman Kings” and “Duquesne Whistle,” played by a superb band, and a nod to the past with a stunning, “Watchtower.”

And at least we got one “thank you.” That’s more than President Barack Obama received when Dylan played the White House in 2010. The president told Rolling Stone that Dylan “steps off the stage, comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves. And that was it.”


It’s sad to hear about the recent closing of Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei. Sounds like another victim of Maui’s exorbitant, escalating commercial rents.

Stella Blues hosted many memorable dinner shows that provided a perfect opportunity to hear some of our finest musicians in a cozy, intimate setting.


Jack Johnson returns home to play a Kokua Hawaii Foundation benefit at the Waikiki Shell on Friday, Aug. 1. Tickets will be made available online, at the Blaisdell box office and at all Ticketmaster outlets for Hawaii residents only at 10 a.m. Saturday. Credit cards will need to have a Hawaii billing zip code.

As more than 40 percent of Bruno Mars tickets for his recent Oahu shows were sold out of state, it’s great that Jack is favoring Hawaii residents for the initial day of sales.


The 6th annual Maui Brewers Festival kicks off from 4 to 7 p.m. May 17 at the MACC’s A&B Amphitheater and Yokouchi Pavilion to feature some cool music, along with bountiful food and beers. This fundraiser for the MACC’s arts and community programs includes music by LiA LiVE & Hi ground, Jamie Gallo with Simply Twisted, and The Throwdowns fronted by Erin Smith. For more information, visit www.mauiarts.org.