Hauoli La Hanau e Keli`i… and Many More!

Many smiling faces from all over the island surrounded Keli`i Mawae as he celebrated his annual 71st birthday. When asked how old their unofficial Mayor is, well wishers from all over the island gave a collective shrug and took careful note that the party was set for the same time next year.

Through his music, the party celebrated an inspirational leader of diverse talents: farmer, fisherman, hunter and teacher. The event was sponsored by Lonomusic and Monkeypod and a beautiful birthday cake was made by Kanemitsu Bakery, complete with palm trees, hula dancers and a slack key guitar design.

Uncle Keli`i partied in a jam session of traditional Hawaiian music, accompanied by close friends Norman De Costa and Lono. Soon after settling into some of Molokai’s favorite tunes, Keli`i spotted bass players Doug and Roger in the crowd and urged them to join the group. A sedate but blissful mood gripped the crowd, who were entertained by hula dancing from inspired guests Kim and Richard Markham , Hoku De Costa and Tiana Conley.

Lono, Keli`i’s friend of over 35 years, said that he had organized the party to honor someone whom he had always looked up to. Studying together as Farmers of Molokai High School, their friendship was cemented when Keli`i did not object to repeatedly losing his home-made lunches to Lono, who hated cafeteria food with a passion. Today, their friendship is bound by a simple love for Music and for Molokai.

Anyone who missed the celebration has not missed out on hearing more of Keli`i’s kiho'alu mastery. His CD “Out Mo`omomi Way,” was released in November and can be purchased through Molokai’s own record company: www.monkeypod.com.

Lono would like to thank the staff at Hotel Molokai, particularly Ramona Smith and General Manager Michael Drew, for all of their help.


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