Stories regarding Molokai’s music scene

Local Filmmaker Receives Worldwide Support

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Local Filmmaker Receives Worldwide Support

Last month, Molokai filmmaker Matt Yamashita set a lofty goal: he wanted to raise $22,000 to fund the completion of a new documentary he calls “the most exciting project I’ve worked on.” The film, called “Return to Halawa,” is about Halawa Valley and the life of Anakala Pilipo Solatorio, one of the last Hawaiians born, raised and still living in the east Molokai valley.

As of Sunday night, 150 backers from around the world had pledged $21,831 to the project on, a website that’s been coined the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Funding on Kickstarter is all or nothing — project creators set a goal amount and deadline, and if the goal isn’t reached, they don’t receive any of the money pledged by backers.…

Lono’s Newest Album

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Lono’s Newest Album

Community Contributed

By Aunty Hanai Makuahine

Lono has done it again!  In this new CD, “He Mele Nei,” the seventh in his Old Style series, Lono continues his journey along the path of preserving Hawaii’s traditional music, and once again we are blessed to travel that path with him.  The reverence and passion that master musician Lono has for his music clearly comes through.  As we accompany him while listening to Old Style VII, we are totally transfixed by his latest gift to us.

Lono is a dedicated artist — dedicated to his music, to maintaining the Hawaiian way, to showing respect and aloha for the kupuna who have greatly influenced his life and his music, and to preserving both vocally and instrumentally the Hawaiian heritage of aumakua and legends and stories of Hawaiian culture. …

Dancing with the Spirits

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Dancing with the Spirits

Rev. Shuji Komagata, right, beats a taiko drum during last weekend’s Bon dance. Photo by Catherine Cluett

On the lawn of the Molokai Guzeiji Soto Mission Buddhist temple, dancers stepped with slow grace in a circle beneath glowing paper lanterns and a fading sky. Families joined in the dance or enjoyed food and the company of family and friends. But there was more to the rhythmic steps than just a dance — for those in the Buddhist tradition, it was a once-a-year chance to reunite with the spirits of those who have passed.

“Bon dance is the time that we remember our departed loved ones… a time to celebrate and honor life,” said Rev.…

Weekend of Hope

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Twenty-two and a half tons of free groceries. Two thousand one hundred pairs of free children’s shoes. Thirteen hair stylists offering free haircuts. These are the statistics for an event called the Convoy of Hope on Molokai this weekend, part of a three-day Weekend of Hope. But the humanitarian effort is about more than just numbers and free services — organizers say it’s really about bringing churches and people together to share an important message: helping one another and sharing hope.

Four years ago, churches on Molokai teamed up for the first Concert of Hope, featuring award-winning and well-known Christian musicians from around the state.…

Rooted in Wellness

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Rooted in Wellness

Molokai returned to its roots July 5 as moms and their supporters empowered the community to live healthy lifestyles. Keiki made recycled art while moms prepared local organic food. Performers sung along to the spirit of the evening as families and organizers shared how they love the land. Besides being a night of fun and aloha, the Grassroots Benefit Concert aimed to provide a path for youth to one day be restorers of health.

“The spirit behind [the event] is to promote an awareness of health and wellness on the island and be able to offer the upcoming generation support,” said Ehulani Kane, a member of the Mom Hui, the group that organized the event.…

Teaching the Universal Language

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Teaching the Universal Language

Bob Underwood brings music education to Molokai


At the end of the day, when students have left and the halls of Kaunakakai Elementary School are quiet, first grade teacher Bob Underwood picks up his violin and continues educating. He does not get paid for it, and he welcomes anyone with a desire to learn. But why would someone who spends all day in the classroom, constantly teaching, want to volunteer his free time doing that same thing?

Bob Underwood teaches violin to Kualapu`u students during a 21st Century Music class last year

“There’s one reason, and it’s very simple,” Underwood said.…

Tough Day Eased by Music

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Tough Day Eased by Music

Ho`olehua Veterans Cemetery was filled with the power of music on Memorial Day last Monday as singers and veterans united to honor the fallen.

“If you ask any veteran who has been in war,” said Molokai veteran Jesse Church, “they’ll tell you Memorial Day is the toughest day of the year emotionally because of the people you knew personally who didn’t come back with you.”

Church said despite the time off work, Memorial Day is not a day to enjoy; it is a day for remembrance. As Oahu-based vocal ensemble Melemai Kapu`uwaimai performed beside the graves, the mood was somber yet hopeful.…

Aka`ula Sings for Grad’s Future

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Aka`ula Sings for Grad’s Future

Aka`ula School’s first high school graduate claimed her diploma May 30, marking an important milestone for both the young scholar and for the school.

It was an afternoon of joy and tears for Aaliya Chyna Ku`uipo Ka`ai, who as Aka`ula’s lone upperclassman served as a mentor for younger students and a helper for the teachers. She took deep breaths on stage before addressing the crowd and reflecting on her years at the school.

“While the diploma I receive today will be an important thing I carry with me wherever I go,” said Ka`ai in her graduation speech, “I want you to know that the diploma is just one piece of the puzzle.”

Teachers spoke of their confidence that Ka`ai will be very successful.…

Thanks for the Memory 2

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Thanks for the Memory 2

Community Contributed

By Dara Lukonen, Aka`ula School

For six decades, Bob Hope brought the USO’s famous “touch of home” and a string of smiles to millions of GIs. Bob Hope is remembered from generation to generation for the wonderful memories he and his Hollywood “band of gypsies” gave to U.S. troops through the years.

Aka`ula School continued this tradition last week with its econd USO-tribute show, “Thanks for the Memory 2,” performed entirely by Aka`ula students. One singer felt “the performances lacked energy during Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, but performers were pumped up and ready to go for Wednesday’s dinner theater.”

Joining Bob Hope on stage were comedians Abbott and Costello with a new take on “Who’s on First?” and two other routines, and the cast of “I Love Lucy” and their famous Chocolate Factory sketch.…

May Days 2013

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

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 are some photos from May Day at  Molokai Middle, Kualapu`u, Molokai High, Kaunakakai, Kilohana and Maunaloa schools.

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