With summer dawning Maui's innovative Ebb & Flow Arts organization has just launched their annual "North South East West Festival."
This ambitious program gathers renowned musicians, artists and dancers for a series of chamber concerts and multimedia events on Maui, Oahu and the Big Island through July.
"It's spanning two months, from four piano compositions to an improvising virtuoso pianist to string ensembles and our annual multi-media exploration," explains Ebb & Flow's founder/pianist/composer Robert Pollock. "Again it's all free admission, so that we create barrier-free events for the general public."
Willie K could win in multiple categories at this year’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. The program will air at 7 p.m. Sunday on KFVE.
Maui News file photo
Opening last Sunday at Seabury Hall, the festival will travel to Honolulu and Hilo and return to Maui on June 23 for an exciting evening of improvisational piano music by Lee Pui Ming at the Keawala'i Congregational Church in Makena.
"She's a Canadian virtuoso pianist who found out about us through the internet," Pollock notes. "She's really developed the art of improvisation and presents a wide variety of expressions."
This Hong Kong-born artist draws from the Chinese traditional and pop music she heard growing up, the European classical music she spent most of her life studying, and the jazz she encountered moving to Toronto.
"I love sound, movement," she says on her web site. "I love listening to silence, feeling stillness. Music and biodynamic craniosacral therapy are fields in which I play and practice what I love."
In her dynamic live performances Lee frequently incorporates her voice and extended piano techniques (using the body and strings).
"Lee's amazing energy and her dedication to her truly original musical vision simply sweeps the audience along with her," praised a review in Toronto's Globe and Mail. "There was thunderous applause-from people who had looked distinctly panicky when she first started playing."
Besides her concert, Lee will present a free improvisation workshop on June 22 at the Maui Music Conservatory in the Queen Kaahumanu Mall.
The Maui Music Conservatory will also host a "Piano Synergy" concert on July 14, featuring multiple piano works by Cage, Feldman, Busby, Milhaud, Osborne (a world premiere), Debussy and Ravel, with pianists Beatrice Scorby, Peiling Lin, Lotus Dancer, Anne Ku, Ruth Murata and Robert Pollock.
"It's on French independence day so thematically many of the composers are French," says Pollock. "There is a wonderful work for four pianos by Darius Milhaud entitled 'Paris.' "
The festival comes to a close on July 28 at Seabury Hall with a "Multimedia Originals" concert featuring stage compositions by Peter Swanzy; performance artist Tony Walholm; musicians Paul Marchetti, Danny M., and John Zangrando; dancer Lisa Buell; puppeteer Francis Kane; actor Todd van Amburgh and artist Michael Takemoto.
"It has a focus on Maui's mother Hina and the final episode of Maui to gain immortality," Pollock explains. "Francis Kane will be doing some puppetry in the hula ki'i Hawaiian tradition of puppetry. And Peter Swanzy will do a 3-D piece with the audience using 3-D glasses."
As well as presenting concerts over the summer Ebb & Flow will release their first CD, "Tangled Flow," featuring violinist Sarn Oliver and Mariko Smiley and Pollock on piano. It includes Oliver's "Kazanka Ice Berg," Pollock's "Duo No. 5," and Edward Toner Cone's "Elegy."
"In the last several years we've had large turnouts at our venues and enthusiastic responses," Pollock reports. "That they are enthusiastic for the avant-garde is quite unusual and generally surprises our Mainland guests, who don't get that response where they live. Last year we had a composer John Melby from Massachusetts, and he couldn't believe it."
* Ebb & Flow Arts presents the "North South East West Festival 2012" through July 28. More information is available at: www.ebbandflowarts.org.
It's Na Hoku time again and as usual Maui is well represented amongst the nominees in various categories vying for awards on Sunday night. Two of our brightest stars, Willie K and Raiatea Helm could win in multiple categories. Excelling at so many musical styles, this year Willie focused on the blues, and the resulting "Warehouse Blues," earned him nominations for Male Vocalist of the Year and Rock Album of the Year, plus Favorite Entertainer. Molokai's sweetheart is up for Female Vocalist of the Year and Island Music Album of the Year for her gorgeous "Sea Of Love," as well as Favorite Entertainer of the Year.
Two of our most talented reggae bands, Ekolu ("Simply for Love") and Nuff Sedd ("LifeIn a Song") are competing for Group of the Year, plus Ekolu is being considered for Reggae Album of the Year.
Liz Morales and Joni DeMello of Ahumanu were nominated for Island Music Album of the Year for their lovely "No Kuuipo." And no surprise that The Throwdowns could be crowned for Rock Album of the Year for their hit-packed "Legs Of Our Own."
Other Maui artists in the running include Leiohu Ryder for "Journey Of LightThe Early Years" for Anthology Album of the Year; George Kahumoku Jr. for "Wao Akua (The Forest Of The Gods)" for Slack Key Album of the Year; and Josh Tatofi is in the running for Most Promising Artist of the Year for his album "This Love."
* The 35th Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards will take place on Oahu on Sunday. TV station KFVE will broadcast the awards ceremony live beginning at 7 p.m.
Some Morrissey notes. The peal of church bells heralded the arrival of the British legend and his band to the Castle Theater stage last Friday. Opening with a blasting version of The Smith's classic "How Soon is Now?," most everyone stood the whole show. He's very earnest. He likes to engage with his adoring audience-reaching out and touching hands with fans, offering them his mike, answering questions-"is your mother here? huh?"
He's a bit of a joker-relayed how he likes to brush up on local cultures when he travels, so he picked up a "Hawaii 5-0" DVD. Shirt off and tossed into crowd during one song. The graphic slaughterhouse film that accompanied "Meat is Murder" may have turned a non-vegetarian veg. A phenomenal band, who wore T-shirts emblazoned with ACTION and included guitarist Boz Boorer in full drag and makeup and a massive gong-wielding drummer. Bass drum sports a Hawaii flag. Fans like jumping the stage and hugging him during the encore-with swift ejection by super efficient security. It was really loud.
A passionate Dead Head, the late Ray Ennis, co-founder of Stella Blues in Kihei, will be remembered with an evening of Grateful Dead music performed by the Maui Pranksters on Saturday beginning at 9 p.m. Admission for this third annual Celebration of Ray Ennis's Life is $8 at the door.
The 2012 Maui Invitational Music Festival presents a free classical music concert on Saturday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Home on Front Street in Lahaina. Musicians performing include the Maui Brass Ensemble under the direction of Lisa Owen, harpist Tatyana Shapiro-Leiste, soprano Lisa Paulson, and high school students Sharon Nakama and Skyler Mendoza.
The Maui Brass Ensemble will present works by Mouret (the "Masterworks Theater Theme"), Handel, Bach, Joplin, and more. The Ensemble consists of Julius Galanto and Lance Jo, trumpets; Sue Nakama, French horn; Stephen Rodrigues, trombone; Lisa Owen, tuba.
Works for classical solo harp and opera favorites include music by Italian, French and Russian composers such as "Norma" by Bellini, "Moldau" by Smetana, "Samson and Dalilah" by Saint-Saens and more.
A classically-trained concert harpist from St. Petersburg, Russia, Shaprio-Leiste has performed on television and was seen in a "Dancing with the Stars" episode in 2010. Paulson has been singing professionally for 26 years including performances in local productions of "Honk!," "King and I," "Annie," and "Cats." She was a 2004 HPR Art Song Contest winner.
Both Nakama and Mendoza have performed with the Maui Pops, Maui Community Band, Honolulu Youth Symphony, and Maui Youth Symphony. They will play "Fantasia " for oboe and piano by Pasculli, "Romance" for oboe and piano by Schumann, and "Tambourin" for xylophone and piano.
Paid parking will be available behind the Baldwin Home (enter from Dickenson Street) and proceeds benefit the preservation and continued maintenance of Lahaina's historic sites.