Stories regarding Molokai’s music scene

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.…

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.…