We define our family, our ‘ohana, very broadly. It may have be begun with our parents and brothers and sisters, but it now includes hundreds of people who give us the support necessary for our creative endeavors.
– Hula Master Robert Cazimero
Seven and a half years ago, I could not believe that I was on stage with Kumu Robert Cazimero at The Power of Hula at Ellen Stewart Theatre. Now, we’ve done it again! Only this time, it was even better. To perform among a special collaboration between artists from Hawai’i and New York, under the guidance of Nā Kumu Hula Robert Cazmiero, Vicky Holt Takamine, Jeffrey Takamine, and Michael Pili Pang. Liliʻu: Tribute to a Queen was unlike any performance New York City has ever seen! It was an honor to be on stage and an experience that I will cherish and carry with me always.
We were invited to perform Hawaiian music with hula dancers on the The Untitled Action Bronson Show. What a crazy experience! American fashion designer, entrepreneur, and artist Marc Ecko was a guest. And I was delighted to meet Top Chef contestant Sheldon Simeon. Turns out that Chef Sheldon plays a mean ʻukulele too! Before taping, he and I jammed on some Kaʻau Crater Boys songs! A very cool memory. Look for us on VICELAND.
Skye and I were honored to perform at American Girl Place at 75 Rockefeller Plaza to celebrate the launch of Native Hawaiian doll, Nanea Mitchell. Her character grows up during World War II. We enjoyed performing Hawaiian songs and teaching young girls how to dance hula. We appreciate Nanea’s story of resilience, responsibility to others, and contributing for the common good — or kōkua, as it’s known in Hawaiʻi.
Mahalo American Girl!
Thank you to the Church of the Intercession and Nā Lehua Melemele for organizing this wonderful community event. There was hula dancing, lei making, kid activities, art, and more.
It was exciting to screen the film Sons of Hālāwa followed by performances by Jason Poole and Nā Lehua Melemele. I had the pleasure of playing a few songs for PUA ALIʻI ʻILIMA (The Royal ‘Ilima Blossom) and Halau Na Pua Mai Ka Lani Nuioka before the film screening.
Hālāwai was a sponsor.
It all started when I asked Kawika Kahiapo if I could surprise my wife by joining him on Kuʻu Pili Oha, a beautiful love song that my wife and I adopted as our wedding song. He said, “Shoots!” and I was on cloud nine!
Then this happened.
I am so glad to have been a part of this special evening full of healing friendships and performances. Here is my intro at 11:26.
Robert Cazimero once said, “We all can be made better for daring to dance.” I was a student in Keo’s New York kāne hula class – albeit a remedial student who never graduated beyond basic hula movements. On the other hand, watching Keo dance brought joy… there was bravery, courage, self-belief, and beauty in his movements.
Tonight it is my honor to perform a favorite song of Keo’s… one of Hawaii’s most blessed and beloved songs… Kanaka Waiwai.
Thank you Evy Mayer and the Folk Music Society of New York, Inc. for producing and co-sponsoring another evening of traditional Hawaiian music and dance at the People’s Voice Cafe. It was a wonderful night of ukulele, slack key guitar, steel guitar and hula.