Having already earned standing ovations from audiences as far afield as Germany and Switzerland, "Recalling Hawaii," a multi-media chronicle of hula, mele and oli, will have its Maui premier on Saturday in the Castle Theater.
Directed by Roselle Keli'ihonipua Bailey and featuring a massive cast of 70 dancers, chanters, musicians and actors, this epic production draws on the collective talents of performers from Maui, Oahu, Kauai, California, Samoa, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Presented by the Ka 'Imi Na'auao O Hawaii Nei Institute, which was founded by Bailey in 1976, the show explores Hawaii's history from the time of creation through historical highlights to modern times.
Dancers from the upcoming “Recalling Hawaii” are pictured at an Olukai fundraiser at Kanaha Beach Park in 2010. Front row, l-r: Holly Maile Ho, Kukui Gavagan, Maile Ku‘uleialoha Kinimaka, Kasey Maka Redman. Second row, l-r: Lei Kama-Sickles and daughter Stella Mae Leikahekeaonapua Sickles. Kumu Sharon Balidoy strums ukulele and sings.
CHERYL MOMILANI POKIPALA photo
The members of SLAM! are David Choy, saxes; Kelly Covington, vocals; Alan Villaren, guitar and vocals; George Tavoularis, keyboards; Michael Kennedy, drums and Jay Molina, bass and vocals.
Photo courtesy of SLAM!
Through a mixture of contemporary and Hawaiian music, featuring Kauai's Na Hoku Award winners Na Kaholokula, complemented by a continuously changing display of backdrop images pertaining to each time period, the production brings to life the past, present and our future.
The evening will help raise funds for Lae Ulu 'O Kai, Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows and the Ka 'Imi Na'auao O Hawaii Nei Institute.
"It's a colorful, heartfelt, emotional musical of Hawaiian history woven with some fun, some sadness, some anger and some joy in the heart," Roselle Bailey explains.
"A time past, breathed into life, is hula. It is a moment reflected for someone. It is the aloha (love), the 'eha (pain), the pono (hope), and the hu'eu (humor) of a people. It is the survival of that people. It is the people. It is Hawai'i"
- Roselle Keli'ihonipua Bailey
"It took me a long time to figure out how I could give everybody the scope of Hawaiian culture and history with music, oli, hula, and other media. Ka 'Imi Na'auao O Hawaii Nei Institute was founded to return dignity to the Hawaiian people and to educate the populace about its science and philosophy through the vehicle of hula, and it took me a long time to figure out how to present it in an enjoyable and educational form."
"Recalling Hawaii" was first presented in 2010 at the historic Heidelberg Castle in Germany. It also sold out shows in Basel, Switzerland that same year.
"I teach twice a year in Germany and in Vienna and Berne, Switzerland," she continues. "The students there wanted to educate the people and that's why we went to Heidelberg. I have always wanted to go there ever since I was a child. It's the first time any Hawaiian group had been to the castle."
People were quite surprised she reports.
The headline in a German newspaper proclaimed: "More than flower leis and swinging hips. A Hawaiian-German cooperation project introduces into the secrets of hula."
The general consensus she says was, "Hawaii does have a culture and history, it's not hula hoop. The common idea is when you say you're taking hula they think of the hula hoop."
Born in Lahaina, Roselle Bailey is regarded as one of the renaissance teachers of hula and Hawaiian culture.
"On the eve of her birth, her great grand uncle, John Keliiwaiwaiole Keolewa, had a vision that she would become a teacher. "I don't think he envisioned me as a hula teacher," she says. "It was more spiritual. And that's what I'm doing."
Her lifetime studies began with her parents Pua and Ned Lindsey. These studies continued under the tutelage of revered teachers, first with Aunty Emma Sharpe at the age of four, and later with Edith Kanaka'ole and Kau'i Zuttermeister.
"I'm really proud to have been under their care and their watchful eyes and their concepts and precepts," she says. "Nothing was really planned. I just go with the flow. With Aunty Edith I was living in Hilo and that's when the so called Hawaiian renaissance started. When Aunty Kau'i opened up her classes to the public, I commuted from Kauai to Oahu."
Her husband's work as an engineer led her to travel to Iraq, Iran, Holland and Bangladesh. It was while living in Iraq that Roselle felt inspired to dedicate her life to teaching. "I would dance and taught hula (there) and I had dreams in Hawaiian," she recalls.
Returning to Hawaii in 1971, the Baileys made their home first in Hilo and later on Kauai, where Roselle founded her halau and began formally instructing students in the art of hula. While on Kauai she served for 18 years as kahu for Ke Ahu a Laka, one of the most significant sites for hula practitioners. The site was restored under her guidance.
Since returning to Maui in 1994, Roselle has led cultural programs to Canada, the Solomon Islands, India and Thailand.
She's excited about presenting such a major production for the first time on Maui. "It's almost like the new kid on the block," she says laughing. "People are unfamiliar with me."
Hoping that the show inspires people she concludes: "It's an extraordinary hula show. I hope people are impacted with hope in their hearts and a song on their lips and a smile on their face, and go back to helping each other."
* "Recalling Hawaii" will be presented at the MACC's Castle Theater on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Before the show there will be an unveiling of an original watercolor painting by Maui Artist of the Year, Philip Sabado. The audience is advised that once the program is under way, entrance will only be allowed at the end of the first oli. Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children under 12. Show day tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children. For ticket information call 242-7469.
Last week's Na Hoku Hanohano Award preview inadvertently left out a Maui musician, Wailuku resident John Ioane Keanaaina Jr., whose slack key guitar and vocal CD "Na Mele O Ioane Keanaaina," was nominated for Most Promising Artist of the Year and Extended Play Release of the Year. He won the Extended Play Release of the Year award for his album.
Recently releasing her wonderful second album "For Love," Anuhea has been busy touring the Mainland on a "Love and Roots Tour" with Mishka. This weekend we'll have an opportunity to catch her up close in an intimate setting at Stella Blues. She will play two shows per night on Friday and Saturday.
Last month Anuhea was invited to perform for the Dalai Lama at the "Pillars of Peace" event at the University of Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center. "I chose to perform a brand new song I wrote called 'Forever Summer' that I've fallen in love with, almost like my gift to the whole situation," she says.
* Anuhea show only tickets are $30, plus tax and gratuity, while show and four coarse dinner is $60, plus tax and gratuity. Each night's first show dinner will start at 5 p.m. sharp with music starting at 6:15 p.m. Second show dinner will start at 8 p.m. with music starting at 9:15 p.m. Anuhea is offering a free track to download at: www.anuheajams.com/free.
After a long residency at Stella Blues, SLAM! has embarked on a new venture - funky jazz on Saturday nights at the Royal Lahaina Resort. They've created the new Jazz Club Maui in the resort's Alii show room, with two shows at 9 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.
The band features saxophonist David Choy and vocalist Kelly Covington with George Tavoularis on keyboards, Alan Villaren on guitar and vocals, Michael Kennedy on drums, and Jay Molina on bass and vocals. They play a mix of original tunes and music by jazz and R&B artists such as David Sanborn, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, The Crusaders, Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder.
"We are focusing on building Jazz Club Maui into a great new venue for live jazz," says Jay Molina. "We hope to get the room established enough to where we can present concerts with special guests."
* SLAM! will perform at the Royal Lahaina Resort's Jazz Club Maui on Saturday. There is a cover charge of $15, which includes complimentary valet parking. A pupu, drink and show package is $49 per person, plus tax, and a prime rib/seafood buffet, drink and show combo is $69 per person, plus tax. For reservations and information, call 808-661-3611.