The fifth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival will be presented Friday through Sunday at the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. Celebrating music created on the Hawaiian steel guitar, the festival features a number of distinguished players including Alan Akaka, Greg Sardinha, Bobby Ingano, Geri Valdriz, Ed Punua, and Ross Ka'a'a in free performances, presentations, workshops and jam sessions.
Akaka, in conjunction with his Ke Kula Mele School of Hawaiian Music, is producing the festival, coordinating performances and workshops.
The son of retired U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, the acclaimed steel guitarist has created his own style, incorporating influences from such masters as David Rogers, Benny Rogers, Jules Ah See, Billy Hew Len, David Keli'i, Jake Keli'ikoa, and his teacher Jerry Byrd. He has recorded with a number of artists including Genoa Keawe, Benny Kalama and Sonny Kamahele.
Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine photo
Photo courtesy Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Photo courtesy Alan Akaka
Akaka and The Islanders will take the main stage at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by Sardinha and friends.
From 9 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, the public is invited to join in kanikapila jam sessions hosted by the players. These sessions provide an opportunity for guest musicians, students and aspiring artists to share their talents and learn from the masters.
Popular radio personality Alaka'i Paleka will emcee the Steel Guitar Ho'olaulea beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday with Sardinha, Ka'a'a, Valdriz, Ingano, Akaka and Punua headlining a concert of stellar steel guitar.
Daytime music workshops begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Topics include beginning Hawaiian steel guitar, recording tips, playing the nahenahe style, and "Talk Story: The Songs of Barney Isaacs." Mele Fong will present ukulele workshops and Leimomi Balcasco-Murray will teach hula classes at 1 and 2:30 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, cultural activities such as lei making, Maori carving, and story telling are being offered.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel's Sunday champagne brunch in the Tiki Terrace will feature entertainment by festival performers including Sardinha, The Hawaiian Serenaders, and Akaka and The Islanders.
* The fifth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival takes place Friday through Sunday at the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. The festival's events are free except for the Sunday brunch. For more information, call 283-3576, or visit www.mauisteelguitarfestival.com. The festival is presented by Arts Education for Children Group.
Congratulations to all the Maui musicians nominated for Na Hoku Hanohano Awards this year. Anuhea and Amy Hanaiali'i each received three nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year, Contemporary Album of the Year and Favorite Entertainer.
Artists honored with two nominations include Keola Beamer for Island Music Album and Favorite Entertainer, and Kamakakehau Fernandez for Most Promising Artist and EP of the Year.
Ekolu is up for Single of the Year and Maoli got a nomination for Reggae Album. Hula dancer Wainani Kealoha had her "Maui Island Dream" DVD nominated, and Joel Katz's "Hawaiian Steel Guitar - Hawaiian to Jazz" was nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year.
Two Maui artists are in the running for Rock Album: Tom Conway and Howard Ahia. And Molokai's Ekolu Kalama was nominated for Contemporary Album.
And finally, albums are up for Compilation Album include, "Kumu Keli'i Tau'a - a Lifetime of Mele, and "Lana'i Slack Key Festival - Live Kiho'alu at Ko'ele."
The annual Haiku Ho'olaule'a & Flower Festival on Saturday will feature a great entertainment lineup including Eric Gilliom and Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, Makana, Ekolu, Marty Dread, Ahumanu, Lei'ohu Ryder, Wes Furomoto, Kalama Ukulele Band with Benny Uyekate, Dr. Nat and Rio Ritmo and Donny Divino & The Maui Ohana Band.
* The free festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Haiku Community Center. Parking is available across the street from the community center for $2. And on Sunday, a Haiku Homecoming Lu'au will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Haiku Community Center. Traditional luau lunch with talk story sessions and music by Richard Ho'opi'i for $25.
Popular Washington, D.C.-based reggae band SOJA returns to our island to play the MACC's Pavilion/Amphitheater on Friday.
Adept at uplifting audiences with catchy melodies and stirring roots rhythms while addressing serious global issues and struggles, SOJA was originally formed in 1997. The band comprises Jacob Hemphill on vocals and guitar, bassist Bob Jefferson, keyboardist Patrick O'Shea, percussionist Ken Brownell, and drummer Ryan Berty, plus horn players Hellman Escorcia and Rafael Rodriguez.
Over the years, they've sold more than 150,000 albums, toured 15 countries and have generated an almost Grateful Dead-like international fan base.
The inspirational spirit of their songs has long resonated with Hawaii's audiences. In 2009, SOJA paid tribute to their avid following here with the documentary DVD, "SOJA Live in Hawaii."
* SOJA plays the MACC on Friday. Hip-hop, alternative rap band Atmosphere will open. Show starts at 6 p.m.; gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $39.50 general, and $80 for VIP ($5 more on show day), plus applicable fees. Call 242-7469.
The Canadian duo of Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine, known as Dala, make their Maui debut on Friday in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's McCoy Studio Theater. Known for their lush harmonies, these two best friends, who met in their high school music class in 2002, have released five albums and toured extensively across North America.
Drawing upon influences like the Beatles, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, they craft catchy original songs and produce gorgeous covers of classics songs like Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" and Dylan's "Girl From North Country."
No strangers to the festival scene, they have performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and California's Strawberry Festival, and in 2009, they were the only Canadian act invited to play at the 50th anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival.
Dala's album "Everyone Is Someone" was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. It earned them a fifth Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best Folk Group, and was hailed by The Irish Post as the Album of the Year.
Dala's song "Horses" was nominated by National Public Radio as one of the "Top 10 Folk Songs of 2009." In summer 2010, their PBS special "Girls from the North Country" was broadcast across North America. The resulting live CD and DVD for was nominated in Canada for a 2011 Juno Award for "Roots and Traditional Album of the Year."
One review praised: "Dala travel musically amidst contemporary folk landscapes that tap into the traditions of the past with an appealing mix of Everly Brother-ish soaring, catchy pop melodies, Brit-folk acoustic jangle and some 70's Laurel Canyon pop a la Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills and Nash and Fleetwood Mac."
* Dala perform on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the McCoy Studio Theater. Tickets are $25 (plus applicable fees). Call 242-7469.