Stories regarding Molokai’s music scene

2014 May Day Highlights

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

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Each year, schools around the island celebrate May Day, known as Lei Day in Hawaii. Students at each school are selected for the royal court to represent every island, and perform songs and dances for family and friends. Here, we represent each celebration that’s taken place over the past three weeks.

Kualapu`u School keiki hula danced in honor of Hawaii’s beloved chiefs during the May Day celebration, which featured live entertainment from Darren Benitez.…

Dancing With Purpose

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Dancing With Purpose

What do ballroom dancing and sexual abuse prevention have in common? If your answer is “nothing,” you’ve never been to Kealoha Hooper’s ballroom classes on Molokai. While some might view ballroom dancing as old-fashioned or out-dated, Hooper is using ballroom to teach lessons of respect and start conversations about a problem plaguing many of today’s communities: violence and sexual abuse of children.

Ballroom dance classes sponsored through Molokai’s Consuelo Foundation, an organization working to prevent child neglect, violence and abuse, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) are teaching Molokai students more than how to rumba, fox trot and tango. The classes are enriching lives by improving self-confidence, communication, acceptance of others and regard for personal boundaries, said Hooper, a ballroom dance instructor who danced professionally with at Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Portland Oregon.…

Dancing with the Winds: Ka Hula Piko 2014

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Dancing with the Winds: Ka Hula Piko 2014

Photo courtesy Catherine Cluett.

Ancient Hawaiians used winds to recognize and heed messages of warning, blessings and things to come. The 23rd annual Ka Hula Piko festival brought the Molokai community, along with visitors from around the world, together to celebrate hula traditions and how Hawaiians today are connected to kupuna of the past through the elements.

“The wind and the elements are so important in our lives and our ancestors made connections to them…that taught us to mind the protocol and be aware of these elements when they are in action,” said Elsie Ryder, ho`opa`a, or chanter, of Halau Hula O Kukunaokala.…

Sharing the Love of Music

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Sharing the Love of Music

Inside the white brick walls of Kaunakakai Elementary School room A-103, the reverberation of melodies fill the air after school Mondays and Wednesdays as keiki, parents and community members tackle playing some of the toughest string instruments to learn.

The students are a part of the Molokai Community Band and the 21st Century Instrumental Music program, an after-school music program for individuals of all ages to receive group music lessons and learn a string or woodwind instrument. The focus is learning how to read music, play an instrument and interact with others in a group environment, said Bob Underwood, a first grade teacher at Kaunakakai Elementary and volunteer string instrument teacher.…

Finding Neverland: Kualapu`u Students Perform School’s Last Musical

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Finding Neverland: Kualapu`u Students Perform School’s Last Musical

The cast of the “Peter Pan” musical gather for a group photo at Kualapu`u School. Photo by Laura Pilz.

Keiki sent their loved ones flying on a musical journey to Neverland last Thursday evening at Kualapu`u School’s performance of “Peter Pan” and the school’s last theater production.

The overflowing school cafeteria left only standing room for latecomers to watch 35 eager students of all ages sing, dance, and deliver “Peter Pan,” their second musical and fourth annual production. Students performed last week during school for classmates on April 7 and 8 and for their ohana on April 9 and 10 at 6 p.m.…

Lessons in a Whale’s Belly

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Lessons in a Whale’s Belly

Captain Mark leads an imaginative journey around the island to a group of first and fourth graders. Photo by Jessica Ahles

Keiki had a whale of a time learning about humpback whales and their place in the environment Friday. But while most have only seen the great creatures from a distance, students at Kilohana School got up close and personal, climbing into the belly of a 36-foot inflatable humpback, softly rocking to soothing whale sounds and taking an imaginative ride around island’s waters.

“My name is Captain Mark and I’ll be your tour guide today,” Storybook Theater Executive Director Mark Jeffers said as he saluted to Kilohana School’s second grade class.…

Hula Under the Banyan

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Hula Under the Banyan

Photos by Jessica Ahles

Through a swish of hips, gestures of graceful hands, shake of the `uli `uli and toss of flaming torches, attendees of Moana’s Hula Halau’s annual dinner show were treated to a journey of the elements and senses through hula and Polynesian arts. After the evening of first-class live music and entertainment, the full house of guests offered a standing ovation Saturday at the Molokai Community Health Center. Featuring Tahitian, traditional and modern dances, as well as special guests from Maui with fire and haka performances under the canopy of the banyan tree, the show was both impressive and emotional for many.…

Vocalist Returns to Molokai

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Vocalist Returns to Molokai

Photo by Jessica Ahles

Molokai native and award-winning vocalist Melveen Leed sang for a packed house at Paddlers Inn last Saturday night. Hula group Na Kupuna O Moana opened for and accompanied the singing legend throughout the night.

“Tonight is wonderful,” said Raquel Dudoit, kumu hula for Moana’s Hula Halau. “It’s crazy that this many people are here and it’s nice to see everyone.”

Dudoit said Na Kupuna O Moana practice every Tuesday for over an hour and have more performances each year than she can count. They have won hula competitions around the state.

Leed has been good friends with Dudoit since childhood.…

Molokai: Ground Zero of Hawaiian Culture

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Molokai: Ground Zero of Hawaiian Culture


Photo courtesy of Rick Schonely

Community Contributed

By Winfield DuBresque

The breath of history has revealed another fine example of what lies at the heart of our little island of Molokai. The artist’s name is Norman DeCosta, a quiet and respectful native who lives by the sea with his wife, Hokunani and his dog, Palaka. Who would think that this much decorated survivor of the Vietnam War could harbor the subtle dynamics that flow throughout his recently-released CD, “Pohai Na Mele”?

All the words and fancy rhetoric in the world are thrown to the wind by the simple, quiet devotion that flows from his voice and guitar.…

Norman DeCosta Cd Release Party

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Norman DeCosta News Release

Molokai’s own Norman DeCosta is celebrating the release of his debut CD, “Pohai Na Mele,” with a night of music at Paddlers’ Inn on Nov. 2.  Initially conceived as an archival assortment of his favorite Hawaiian song for members of his ‘ohana, it quickly developed into a much more meaningful project.

Pohai Na Mele showcases all that makes Norman DeCosta’s music so special and appealing — his clear, pure voice, his tender styling, and his respect for the vivid musical storytelling that typifies the island culture.  Come celebrate with Norman DeCosta and The Brown ‘Ohana at Paddlers’ Inn Nov.…