Aloha Music Camp Weaves Song With Molokai’s Rich History

The winter 2007 Aloha Music Camp ended Saturday, it was a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Participants came from England, Germany & Austria, the East & West Coasts, Alaska and throughout Hawaii to study with the slack key guitar masters who make up the Beamer `Ohana. This year’s group included kumu hula Kapono`ai Molitau of Maui, Grammy award winning slack key artist Sonny Lim of Hawai`i, `ukulele songtress Robyn Mahealani Knuebuhl and slack key legend Kevin Brown.

The second winter camp at Kaupoa Beach Village was graced with beautiful weather for daily classes and evening concerts under the tents. Some of memorable moments include:

Kumu Kapono`ai taught his students to make pu niu and learn oli to chant at sunrise and sunset. In the photo, he leads his class in an oli giving thanks at the end of the day.

Seven students built beautiful solid koa `ukulele under the guidance of Hawai`i luthier Dennis Lake.

Sonny Lim taught both intermediate and advanced classes in ki ho`alu and offered a bonus class in Hawaiian steel guitar.

Robyn Knuebuhl shared songs and stories on the `ukulele and also taught a hula class.

Anakala Pilipo Solotorio of Molokai helped students weave palm leaves and shared his love and knowledge of Molokai.

But for most, the highlight of the camp was talking story with Aunty Nona Beamer and watching her and the Beamer Family perform last Thursday night. The Aloha Camp and Kenny Burgmaier of Maui Reflection Films are producing a documentary about Aunty Nona and how the Aloha Camp reflects her lifelong vision to teach Hawaiian culture. It was wonderful to watch her visit classes with each kumu and talk story. Kenny and his crew will be back at the next Aloha Camp – June 24 -30.

”We love being on Molokai because of the people, the history and the land. And Kaupoa Beach Village is the ideal location for our camps. Nowhere else can visitors experience what is truly unique about Hawai`i,” said Mark Kailana Nelson, Aloha Music Camp Administrator. “You wake up at dawn to the songs of the birds; you can attend classes where the loudest sound is the surf and the wind through the palms. At night, no electric lights dim the stars.”

Nelson said the group was sensitive to Hawaiian cultural sites in the area. He thanked Anakala Pilipo for maintaining the garden, where the group presented oli and where oleleo classes were given. Indeed strong friendships have been forged between the staff at Kaupoa and the Lodge – even first year guests cry when they leave.

As for the future, Nelson says there are many exciting plans. Administrators are in the process of setting up a foundation so we that the number of scholarships offered to educators and children on Molokai can be expanded. They also hope to provide outreach back to the community so Molokai residents can study with the kumu of the camp. Also, several new camps will be offered in the future. The Molokai Hula Retreat, original scheduled for this May, will take place in 2008.


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