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‘Music of Kalaupapa’ Awarded

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa News Release

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa was presented with a Preservation Media Award by Historic Hawaii Foundation for its virtual concert, “The Music of Kalaupapa.”

The concert was recognized during a virtual ceremony recently along with seven other preservation projects and five individuals who were acknowledged for their longtime commitments to preservation of the islands’ special places and cultures. The Preservation Honor Awards by Historic Hawaii Foundation (HHF) are considered to be the highest recognition of projects in Hawaii that perpetuate, rehabilitate, restore or interpret the state’s architectural, archaeological and/or cultural heritage.

“The Music of Kalaupapa concert celebrates and memorializes the music and songwriters of Kalaupapa,” wrote Kiersten Faulkner, Executive Director of HHF in the congratulatory letter to Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa. “Its informative and engaging format included a narrative that provided the historical context of the place, music and composers interspersed with performances by contemporary artists.

“The songs share the beauty, love and dignity of Kalaupapa told through the words of its people. The concert is a powerful demonstration of humanity; it tells us that by embracing the joy and creativity of music, Kalaupapa residents were able to overcome tremendous adversity. Music became a refuge and allowed them to thrive together as an ‘ohana. The Music of Kalaupapa helps to ensure that the people’s voices and spirit will be remembered.”

The concert, which debuted last October, was organized and sponsored by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa with key contributions from Chris Lau, producer; Billy V, narrator and Stephen Inglis, music coordinator. Songs were performed by Brother Noland, Melveen Leed, Kevin Brown, Makana, Lopaka Ho`opi`i and Inglis. These artists covered compositions by the late Kalaupapa residents George McLane, Sammy Kuahine, Ernest Kala, Helen Keao, Bernard K. Punikai`a, The ‘Aikala Brothers and The Boys of Kalawao.

“This is a great honor not only for Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, but especially for the many musicians of Kalaupapa who have often been left out of history,” said Valerie Monson, former executive director who organized the concert.

The concert served as a fundraiser for The Kalaupapa Memorial which will list the names of everyone who was forcibly isolated at Kalaupapa because they were diagnosed with leprosy, now also called Hansen’s disease. The Memorial will ensure that each of the nearly 8,000 people sent to Kalaupapa will always be remembered.

The concert can be viewed at no charge on the website of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa: kalaupapaohana.org The website also features a short video, “The Pride of a Nation,” that introduces viewers to the history and people of Kalaupapa — along with a number of educational materials.

This was the sixth Preservation Award presented to Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa by HHF.

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