Stories regarding Molokai’s music scene

Schonely Releases CD

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Schonely Releases CD

Molokai musician Rick Schonely has recorded his first CD and recently went live on radio and performed a couple shows in Honolulu. Schonely, who retired with the Maui Fire Department, teaches at Molokai High, gives tours in Kalaupapa for the Molokai Mule Ride, is the sports reporter at The Molokai Dispatch, and plays music with several local bands.

“Music is life for many of us and we especially enjoy the local Hawaiian music,” he said. “And even more so the music of Molokai is special. Local Hawaiian music reminds us of our ‘ohana and our island and our kuleana to take care of the land the water and most importantly, each other.”

A musician all his adult life, Schonely said he got in the studio for the first time to record with Kapena Delima.…

Youth Symphony Comes to Molokai

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Hawaii Youth Symphony News Release

The classrooms of Kaunakakai Elementary School on Molokai will be filled with the joy of music during the Hawaii Youth Symphony’s string workshop held at the school on Saturday, June 23 through Sunday, June 24. 

“The Hawaii Youth Symphony is thrilled to share more of the opportunities and wonder that music education has to offer with students on Molokai,” said Randy Wong, president of the Hawaii Youth Symphony. “Music is a right, not a privilege, and we look forward to inspiring these enthusiastic young students to further develop their skills and have fun while learning.” 

In partnership with Kaunakakai Elementary School teacher and bassist Bob Underwood, the Hawaii Youth Symphony will teach Molokai students the fundamental techniques of string instruments, general musicianship skills and the opportunity to rehearse as an orchestra. 

As part of the workshop, Molokai students will receive instruction and private lessons from some of the Hawaii Youth Symphony’s distinguished coaches, including Dr.…

Melveen Leed Honored

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

PPSEAWAH News Release

Molokai musician Melveen Leed will be honored with the  Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Pan Pacific Southeast Asian Women Association of Hawaii (PPSEAWAH) in a ceremony on March 24.

Leed is being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, only the second recipient from Hawaii in PPSEAWAH’s 90 years of service in the Pacific. PPSEAWA-Hawaii’s Lifetime Award honoree is selected from a list of distinguished Pacific iconic figures. Leed has made her marks in myriad of ways in education, television, entertainment, indigenous issues, her philanthropic charity work in the past 50 years, as well as a positive role model for young people in the Pacific and the USA.  Born in Honolulu in 1943, raised in Molokai, she is a multi-talented and versatile vocalist and musician who plays the ukulele, guitar, piano, congas, mandolin, accordion, marimba, and many other ethnic instruments.  Her music genres crosses from Hawaiian, Polynesian to Jazz, country, gospel, Latin, Pop, Reggae, Folk, Blues, remarkably, she also sings in 18 languages.…

A Morning of Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar at the Library

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

A Morning of Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar at the Library

Dressed in aloha attire — slippers, shorts, aloha shirt and a lei — and armed with a strange-looking musical instrument nested on his lap, Maui musician Joel Katz gave a free performance and talk story at the Molokai Public Library on the morning of July 27.

As Katz began plucking the chords of his Hawaiian lap steel guitar, the roughly 20 people who attended the performance immediately surrendered to his music.

The sweet melodies coming out of the odd-looking instrument were all-too-familiar. Traditional Hawaiian music, haole-hula songs, country music, Beatles melodies, all felt right at home among an audience of a wide age range.…

Celebrating the Bon Festival

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Celebrating the Bon Festival

By Molokai Dispatch Staff

Last Saturday at Molokai’s Guzeiji Soto Mission, the community gathered to honor the memories of loved ones and keep a Japanese tradition alive. The annual bon dance brought hundreds of residents and visitors together for a lively drum performance, dancing and food. Draped from the temple roof, names of deceased love ones on slips of paper fluttered in the breeze as the beat of Taiko drums signaled a reunion with their spirits. Photo by Sarah Ching.


Molokai Musicians: Bob Underwood

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Molokai Musicians: Bob Underwood

By Roberta Cross, Community Reporter

Editor’s note: In a series highlighting Molokai musicians, the Dispatch asks local artists about their roots, passions and influences.

Bob Underwood was born in Indiana, grew up in Pensylvania and Colorado, and moved permanently to Molokai in 2003. He is a first grade teacher at Kaunakakai Elementary School.

Underwood spent the first 20 years of his musical life performing all kinds of pop and jazz music. He plays many instruments, although bass is his main instrument and guitar his second choice. “I can play decent violin, but I wouldn’t hire me as a violinist,” he said with a laugh.…

Molokai Musicians: Zelie Duvauchelle

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Molokai Musicians: Zelie Duvauchelle

By Roberta Cross, Community Reporter

Editor’s note: In a new series highlighting Molokai musicians, the Dispatch asks local artists about their roots, passions and influences.

Zelie Duvauchelle was born and raised in Puko`o on the east end of Molokai. She is currently working on her album entitled “Hu,” which means “to pour forth.”

For the last 20 years, she has been performing, composing songs and preparing for this album.

Duvauchelle’s big news is that her album will be co-produced with recording engineer Milan Bertosa. Bertosa recorded Israel Kamakawiwo`ole singing “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” and “White Sandy Beach” for the first time in a spontaneous late-night studio session in 1988.…

Ukulele Ohana Molokai to celebrate Mele O`o 

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Full Heart Productions News Release

This coming Memorial Day weekend, May 27-31, the sounds of the happiest instrument on earth will once again fill the lodge at Pu`u O Hoku Ranch as the Ukulele Ohana Molokai workshop and its teacher Lono, return for the fifth year.

The theme this year will be Mele O`o or powerful music.  Participants will learn the deep roots of Old Style Hawaiian music with Lono on their ukulele, and to experience the vibrant community of Molokai. When asked what inspires him to write and teach Lono says, “The line between the past and the present, through our ancestors, prepares us for the future.…

Heal Yourself With Music and Aloha

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Heal Yourself With Music and Aloha

Community Contributed

By Ayda Ersoy

I am hugely grateful to be a part of the amazing Tuesday Kanikapila jam group up at Coffees of Hawaii. It had such an effect on me, seeing how much joy and aloha is shared by such a beautiful group of people just getting together to make music, that I had to write about it!

The group’s founders Waipa Purdy, Roy Horner and Bill Perdue kindly shared their interpretations of Aloha, and I wrote the article for my Huffington Post blog.

Here’s a short excerpt, you can read the full article online, and see photos and a short video of the group, at…

After 11 Years, Molokai Dances in Merrie Monarch

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Molokai hula dancers and vendors spent months rehearsing and crafting with a specific purpose in mind: sharing the stories of Molokai at the 52nd Merrie Monarch Festival.

After a decade-long absence from hula’s premiere annual event, Moana’s Hula Halau traveled to Hilo for the weeklong hula and cultural festival from April 5-11, along with 10 Molokai businesses. Twenty-four halau from Hawaii and the mainland came to compete in solo and group competitions, bringing their own unique take on Hawaii’s renowned method of storytelling.

“It’s not about being pretty,” said Kumu Hula Valerie Dudoit-Temahaga of Moana’s Hula Halau. “… It’s not about the beauty of being on the stage.…