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Making music again

Na Palapalai reteams and gifts state with free concerts and new CD release

Keao Costa (from left), Kapulanakehau Tamure and Kuana Torres Kahele present “Na Palapalai — Back to the Patch” Friday at 7 p.m. in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Yokouchi Pavilion and A&B Amphitheater in Kahului. Gates open at 6 p.m. Admission is free. Bring blankets, lauhala mats or low-back chairs for your comfort on the lawn. Chair seating will be available for kupuna so all generations can enjoy an evening of music and hula. Backpacks, outside food and beverage not allowed. For more information, call 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org. Photo courtesy MACC

Not one, but two free major Hawaiian events will be presented over the weekend at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, with Na Palapalai joined by seven of Maui’s hula halau at 7 p.m. Friday, and the annual Ki Ho’alu Guitar Festival at 1 p.m. Sunday.

In celebration of the popular group’s reunion and the release of its double CD, “Back to the Patch,” Na Palapalai has scheduled five free concerts across the state, which is what brings them to the MACC’s Yokouchi Pavilion and A&B Amphitheater.

This extraordinary show will also feature Kumu Hula Keali’i Reichel and Halau Ke’alaokamaile, Kumu Hula Napua Greig and Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka, Kumu Hula Kahulu Maluo and Halau Kamaluokaleihulu, Na Kumu Hula Iliahi and Haunani Paredes and Halau Kekuaokala’au’ala’iliahi, Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona and Halau O Ka Hanu Lehua, Kumu Hula Kapono’ai Moliatu and Halau Na Hanona Kulike O Pi’ilani, and Kumu Hula Hokulani Holt-Padilla and Pa’u O Hi’iaka.

The multi-award-winning group was formed in 1995 by original members Kuana Torres Kahele and Kapulanakehau Tamure in Hilo, where both were raised on traditional Hawaiian music. With the addition of bassist and fellow falsetto singer, Keao Costa, they formed a trio.

Over the years, Na Palapalai has released seven albums, with several charting in the top five on the Billboard World Albums chart. The group has won a number of Na Hoku Hanohano Awards including Group of the Year, Hawaiian Album of the Year and Hawaiian Language Performance.

Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning Anuhea hosts an Aloha Always Foundation fundraiser at Charley’s in Paia June 29. Photo courtesy the artist

Known for his original compositions for hula, Kahele has released a number of award-winning recordings as a solo artist. His first solo album, “Kaunaloa” in 2012, won five Hoku Awards including Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

Kahele undertook an unprecedented four-year songwriting project to complete an album of new, original music for each of the Hawaiian Islands, releasing the first two volumes of the series in 2014. In 2017, he produced “Music for the Hawaiian Islands (Lana’ika’ula, Lana’i), Vol. 5,” and “Aina Momona — Molokai, Vol. 6.”

“Na Palapalai’s latest album features 20 newly recorded songs on two discs. It’s dedicated, ‘to all the hula dancers around the world,’ “ says Kahele. “Mahalo for the support from countries and cultures we could’ve never dreamed of reaching. It is for you that we sing.”

This CD is not available in stores, on iTunes or online retailers like Amazon. It can be found at https://napalapalai.myshopify.com/products/na-palapalai-back-to-the-patch, and as a fundraiser for various Hawaii halau.

“We want to give back to all the kumu, dancers and Hawaiian music fans that have stuck by us for all these years,” says Kahele. “We are excited to share the new music and hope it continues to unite and uplift the hula community in positive ways.”

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Huge news that Paul Simon will play his first-ever concert on Maui at the MACC on Aug. 13 and 14, in a benefit for the environmental groups The Auwahi Forest Restoration Project and Kua’aina Ulu ‘Auamo.

When he announced his retirement from touring in February 2018, the legendary musician reported he would still occasionally perform for charitable causes, especially those protecting our environment.

His affection for our island led him to pick only Maui for these historic shows. They mark his first concerts in Hawaii since Simon & Garfunkel appeared at Honolulu’s HIC Arena (Blaisdell Arena) back in 1968.

• Tickets are $55, $85, $125 and $185 (plus applicable fees) and go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. For tickets and more information, visit the box office, call 242-7469 or go online to www.mauiarts.org.

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Some of Hawaii’s leading musicians will gather for the 28th annual Ki Ho’alu Guitar Festival presented free at the MACC’s A&B Amphitheater at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Artists performing include Halemanu, George Kuo, Brother Noland, Lance Takamiya, Danny Carvalho, Michael Ka’awa, Wilson Kanaka’ole, Tavana, Dwight Kanae, John Keanaaina, Ka’eo, Kamuela Kahoano, Pa’ani, Wesley Furumoto, Will Tafolo, Aja Gample and Jonah Domingo.

Gates open at 12:30 p.m. and the show runs from 1 to 6 p.m. Festival goers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets or mats. Backpacks, outside food and beverage not allowed.

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Maui’s Zenshin Daiko will present its 20th annual Taiko Festival on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the MACC’s Castle Theater. They will be joined by Roy and PJ Hirabayashi, founders of the prestigious San Jose Taiko, along with esteemed musician, educator and composer, Eien Hunter-Ishikawa.

Formed in 1999, Zenshin Daiko has presented more than 50 performances a year including cultural and community events all over Hawaii and in California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Nevada and Japan. In March they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a trip to Japan.

The nonprofit organization is dedicated to teaching taiko to children. Growing from a small, local taiko group to one that has achieved national and international recognition, Zenshin Daiko has been recognized as a leading builder of taiko drums from used wine barrels. Besides building most of the drums that the group uses, they have built and repaired taiko for other groups and churches all over the islands.

In 2014, they joined Mick Fleetwood in concert at the MACC for an epic version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk.”

As the founders of San Jose Taiko, the Hirabayashis helped to create a new Asian-American art form by infusing the traditional rhythms of Japanese drumming with musical and cultural influences from around the world. The first American taiko ensemble invited to tour Japan, they have performed in a wide range of venues, from community centers to Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Based in Portland, Ore., Hunter-Ishikawa specializes in drumset, taiko, percussion and shinobue flute. Born in Japan, his passion for drumming started at an early age through the involvement of a youth taiko ensemble directed by Saburo Mochizuki, a founding member of Tokyo’s pioneering Sukeroku Daiko. Earning a Master of Music degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, while in Honolulu Hunter-Ishikawa performed and toured extensively as a member of the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble.

• Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 (plus applicable fees) for kids 12 and younger.

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A special benefit for Hawaii Hears will be held on Saturday at Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon in Paia with Eric Helmkamp,Rowdy Love, 2019 Rock Album of the Year Hoku-winner the Deborah Vial Band and Yum Yum Beast.

This event will celebrate and bring awareness to Hawaii Hears, which advocates and provides education to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, along with professional development throughout the state of Hawaii.

Helmkamp opens at 6:30 p.m., followed by Rowdy Love at 7:30, Deborah Vial Band at 8:30 and YumYum Beast at 9:30.

• The show is open to the public with no cover charge, but a $10 donation is appreciated. Must be 21 and older to attend.

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And coming up at Charley’s, 2019 Female Entertainer of the Year Hoku-winner Anuhea will host an Aloha Always Foundation fundraiser on June 29 with separate afternoon and evening shows. The Foundation helps to inspire and empower Hawaii’s youth through scholarships.

The event will feature multiple live music acts performing throughout the day, along with a silent auction, raffles and prize giveaways, face painting and a photo booth.

The afternoon event runs from 1 to 5 p.m., with Anuhea performing at 3:30 p.m. Charley’s dinner service begins at 5 p.m. Doors for the second (nighttime) event open at 9. Redmelo performs at 10 p.m., followed by Anuhea & Friends at 11. Separate tickets are required for each event.

General admission is $23 for adults for each event. Presale is only available online. Tickets will increase to $30 day of show at the door. Children 12 and younger accompanied by a paying adult are $15. VIP Tickets for each event are $60 and include a VIP entry line, choice of an Aloha Always T-shirt or hat, autographed VIP Lanyard and a meet-and-greet with Anuhea. A VIP booth for $400 is available for each event and includes four tickets, a reserved booth and the above VIP offers. Advance tickets available at www.anuheajams.com/alohaalwaysmaui.

• For more information, call 579-8085 or visit www.charleys maui.com.