Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, April 26, 2002

The Makaha Sons is among the groups and individual artists aiming to revive the spirit of Kanikapila through the inaugural Kalakoa Jam concert.

Isle music jam earns hana hou

By John Berger

Whatever your favorite type of music may be, there are musical moments you always remember. For Jay Junker, one of those moments came during a Kanikapila concert at the University of Hawaii-Manoa when Genoa Keawe introduced the Ho'opi'i Brothers.

"I don't remember what year it was, but she said, 'I'd like to bring out two boys from Maui, and they're from a tiny little village, and when you hear them, I think you're gonna love them,' and these two little guys came out -- I was seated way in the back -- and I was sent! And I still am. That was that pure-voiced music from the heart. That's the kind of the shows those always were."

Kanikapila, a celebration of traditional and modern Hawaiian music and hula created by Peter Moon and Ron Rocha in 1970, was an annual event on the UH campus for years, but fell by the wayside after its 25th year. Junker and Tim Slaughter, director of the UH Outreach College's Statewide Cultural Extension Program (SCEP), are hoping to revive that tradition and start a new one with the Kalakoa Jam tomorrow evening at Andrews Outdoor Theatre (formerly Andrews Amphitheater).

Randy "Unbelievable!" Hudnall of Hawaiian 105 KINE will preside as master of ceremonies. Ledward Kaapana, the Makaha Sons (Moon, John and Jerome), George Kahumoku, Ho'okena and Jake Shimabukuro will be joined by Kahala Moon, Raiatea Helm, Manu Boyd's Halau o ke 'A'ali'i Ka Makani and Vicky Holt Takamine's Halau Pua Ali'i 'Ilima. Proceeds will help fund SCEP school workshops and senior citizen programs.

"A lot of the people who will be performing have participated in the (SCEP) program," Junker said. "Right now, Jake Shimabukuro has been going around the islands with our 'Art of Solo 'Ukulele.' We were just over on Maui. ... You do workshops, you do performances and they have all kinds of artists. They also bring in artists from around the world and share with Hawaii. Now it's our time to share."

"The other side of it -- and this is where Peter Moon deserves a lot of credit, in my view -- is that in a way it's an attempt to revive the spirit of Kanikapila, and in the same way that Peter always had a program that was balanced by the generations, we want to have a generational side. We also, like Peter's old programs, want to combine people that are really well known with people who are perhaps up and coming."

Kalakoa Jam

Featuring Ho'okena with Nani Dudoit and Raiatea Helm, Ledward Kaapana, Kahala Moon, George Kahumoku, the Makaha Sons, Jake Shimabukuro, Manu Boyd's Halau o ke 'A'ali'i Ka Makani and Vicky Holt Takamine's Halau Pua Ali'i 'Ilima

Where: Andrews Outdoor Theatre, University of Hawaii
When: 5:30 p.m. tomorrow
Admission: $20 general; $15 for students and UH faculty and staff; $10 for ages 12 and younger, available at the UH Campus Center ticket office, Tower Records Kahala, Tower Video Keeaumoku or by phone at 956-6878
Call: 956-8246 or go online at
Note: Coolers and backrests are encouraged.

And so Oahu audiences will get a chance to check out the ha'i technique of Raiatea Helm, an 18-year-old female falsetto vocalist from Molokai, see what happens when the dynamic Shimabukuro sits in with the Makaha Sons, and catch the interplay between slack-key masters Kaapana and Kahumoku.

"These are the kinds of programs that you used to always have, and you still have it in private parties, but you don't have it too much out in the public anymore, so it's a wonderful opportunity to do that."

MOON AND ROCHA created Kanikapila as a showcase for traditional Hawaiian music and hula, and the neo-traditionalist music of the Hawaiian Renaissance that was just beginning to come forward. The performers in 1970 were the Sunday Manoa, Genoa Keawe, Nina Kealiiwahamana, Kawai Cockett, hula dancer Iolani Luahine, chanter Hoakalei Kamau'u and the Kalakaua Dancers. The format remained in place for more than 10 years.

As new styles of music came to the fore in the '80s, Moon moved away from the original Hawaiian-traditionalist concept and included other types of music, including popular bar bands and early Jawaiian hit makers.

The final Kanikapila concert featured Israel 'IZ' Kamakawiwo'ole, the Ka'au Crater Boys, Robi Kahakalau, the Makaha Sons (Moon, John and Jerome), the Hawaii Matsuri Taiko drummers and the Peter Moon Band.

By that time, Moon found he was attempting to reach a college audience that wasn't interested in Hawaiian music. Many UH students didn't know who Gabby Pahinui was, let alone why "Pops" was an important Hawaiian music figure.

Junker feels that times have changed.

"There really was a time when I think particularly our media stopped supporting traditional Hawaiian music, and when that happens a lot of the casual audience falls off. And times change, styles change and all that, but my feeling is that traditional music is still rooted in the family and still rooted in the community, and we love to try as best we can to bring it to the public."

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