Free Veteran’s Day Concert

In honor of Veterans Day, the community is invited to a free concert from 11am-4pm at the Pahala Plantation House in Ka‘u.

The culmination of the weeklong Kahumoku ‘Ohana Music and Lifestyle Workshop, the event is hosted by five-time Grammy winner Keoki Kahumoku. The free concert features some of Hawaii’s favorite entertainers, including John Keawe, Diana Aki, Peter DeAquino, and Sonny Lim bending the strings on ‘ukulele and slack key guitar. Plate lunches will be available for purchase and support the non-profit Center for Hawaiian Music Studies, Inc. For more information go to

2012 Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival

The 2012 Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival is coming up in July:

The 23rd Annual Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival (BIHMF) is scheduled for Saturday & Sunday, July 14 & 15, 2012, with twelve hours of entertainment from Noon to 6:00pm both days at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium.  The primary goal of this event is to honor and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.  The BIHMF features all forms of Hawaiian music including Slack Key Guitar, Steel Guitar, Ukulele and Falsetto with Hula, while providing a unique & authentic experience that honors & perpetuates Hawaii’s culture.

On Hawai`i Island, we are blessed with the best Hawaiian musicians in the world, including Slack Key Guitar, Steel Guitar, Ukulele and Falsetto.  This year’s theme will be “Hawai`i Island Hawaiian Musicians”.

Building on last year’s success, we are planning our biggest and best music festival ever.  The addition of Hula to our music festival the last two years really completed our showcase of the Hawaiian.  Hula Halaus like Kahikilaulani really added excitement to our festival.  But unlike the Merrie Monarch Festival, we feature the musicians who are rarely seen on TV at the Merrie Monarch.

In our effort to attract international visitors last year we established the “Japan Connection”.  Last year, The BIHMF was featured in a centerfold article of the September 2010 “Hawaii Fan” Magazine, the largest Hawaiian music magazine in Japan, with a distribution of 100,000.  The article, written in Japanese, pointed out that our festival has “real” and “authentic” Hawaiian music as opposed to the “Japanese Hawaiian” music in Japan.  The names of all of our performers were also included in the article, promoting them and our festival in Japan.  Also last year, we tried to arrange a group from Japan to come to our festival and we had six people signed up, until the earthquake.  They were all from the Sendai area and had to cancel.

This past year, the BIHMF was featured three times in centerfold articles of the Hawaiian Fan magazine, in their September 2011, October 2011 and November 2011 issues.  Again, the articles pointed out that our BIHMF is a “real” and “authentic” Hawaiian music festival.  We feel that this is important because of the strong support that already exists for Hula in Japan and these articles may help inspire many Japanese to come to our festival next year.

This year we received a full page ad on the HFM Back page on both the January and February 2012 issues of HFM.  In February they also advertised a to arrange for a group from Japan to come to our festival for a Music Tour and we are exploring the possibility of inviting Japanese musicians who play Hawaiian music at our festival.

Again, this year we will continue to focus on Environmental Sustainability by increasing recycling efforts, minimizing waste, using recycled products, providing transportation alternatives and conserving water and supporting alternate forms of transportation to the event.

Tickets are available at East Hawaii Culture Center and Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival.

2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Festival – Friday Workshops

Today was the first day I was able to attend the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Festival and it was basically a workshop day today with some jam sessions at the end of the day.  Here are some of the things that happened today:

It started with a panel that featured Līhau & Kellen Paik, Shawn Pimental, and Brett Ortone discussing how to just basically “Get Started” in the industry.

At the same time in another room there was a Haku Mele Panel Featuring: Puakea Nogelmeier , Dennis Kamakahi, Moon Kaukahi, Julian Ako, and Keali`i Reichel

There were up to five separate workshops going on at anytime through out the day in different rooms of the convention center.

At 10:00 there was a workshop on Promoting and Marketing your CD via both traditional methods and via new media that was put on by John Aeto, Ryan Ozawa, and Mona Wood-Sword.

Puakea Nogelmeier, Jon Osorio, Kalehua Krug, Kainani Kahaunaele, abd  Moon Kaukahi led a Haku Mele Panel that focused on Visualization, the senses and inspiration.

Kaleo Trinidad leads a hula workshop presented by Kinetsu that was translated in to Japanese for the Japanese speaking folks in attendance:

Also ongoing at 10:00 was a presentation by Steve Grimes who has designed some of guitars for the industries biggest names. Those that understand how important the slack key guitar is to Hawaiian music can appreciate these fine guitars.

Yamaha was also on hand and they demonstrated some of their latest instruments as well.

I took a break for about an hour and a half and had lunch at the All you can eat Buffet Hello Kitty Restaurant Makittii where I loaded up on crab legs, roast beef, sushi, oysters… etc…

I can’t believe how inexpensive it was and I just have no idea how they can stay in business with these type of prices!

After lunch I went back to the convention center and scoped out a few more workshops.

Getting your CD Online: MP3, iTunes, etc and how to get your songs online and other markets was presented by the President of CDBaby Brian Felsen and local online guru Ryan Ozawa.

Taylor Guitars brought in there representatives in the afternoon session

Taylor Guitars has become a regular for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and once again brought their latest line of guitars that were for sale.

Hula performance workshop with Kumu Hula Karen Aiu was done in the afternoon which was also translated into Japanese for the Japan visitors.

Around 3:30 Top Roland Sound engineers, designers and performers, Scott Tibbs, John Hernandez and Robert Marcello  presented some of Roland’s latest equipment and jammed away.

I’ll be checking more things out tomorrow and on Sunday so stay tuned and see who wins this year Na Hoku Hanohano Awards on Sunday evening.

Jim “Kimo” West and Dennis and Christy Soares in Concert Friday at the Volcano Art Center

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm at the Volcano Art Center Hale Hoomana Performance Hall

Media Release:

“We are so excited to have a guitarist and musician that is of the highest quality perform in Volcano Village. This concert venue  is an intimate setting and is one that allow the audience to get close and personal with Jim and we expect to sell out fast. Joining Jim will be Big Island favorites Dennis and Christie Soares who have been nominated for both Na Hoku and Hawaii Music awards. This is going to be a special night in Volcano, I can promise you that!”  stated Volcano Art Center Concerts and Performance Coordinator David Wallerstein.

Kimo West

Kimo West

West’s first two CD’s, “Slack Key West” (2005) and “Coconut Hat” (1999) are excellent examples of the tradition of slack key guitar taken to a new and unique place, while still retaining the essence of ki ho’alu. “Kimo” as he is called in Hawaii, has performed at many of the islands’ legendary slack key guitar festivals as well as on the mainland, including the historic So Cal Slack Key Festival. His playing has been featured in a number of Honda TV spots, Disney Channel movies and National Public radio. “Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar: Kimo-Style”was released in December of 2007 and proved to be another evolutionary step in the ever-evolving journey of ki ho ‘alu.

Dennis and Chistie Soares

Dennis and Chistie Soares

Released in fall of 2008, “Kimo’s Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas,” features slack key arrangements of classic and contemporary holiday songs and won the Hawaii Music Award for Best Seasonal Recording. West is also a two-time recipient of the LA Treasures Award from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Between composing music for TV and film and slack key guitar playing, West also finds time to hone his production chops and has produced CDs for a number of independent artists including a project for Los Angeles-based Hawaiian performer Kapo Ku, a talented composer of new Hawaiian language mele. “Eia Mai Ka La” was recently released by Hawaii’s foremost record label, The Mountain Apple Company. He also has produced two CD’s for CMH Records in Los Angeles, “Hotel Honolulu”, and ‘Livin’s EZ-The Hawaiian Tribute to Sublime.”

Tickets for West’s performance on Friday April 29 are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for Children. Please call David Wallerstein

at 808-967-8222 for tickets or visit the Volcano Art Center Niaulani Campus or the VAC Art Gallery. Visit  for information and to purchase tickets online. Tickets are also available the evening of the performance 1 hour before scheduled concert time at the venue.

Volcano Art Center is a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization created in 1974. VAC promotes, develops, and perpetuates the artistic, cultural and environmental heritage of Hawai’i through the arts and education.

Barry Flanagan of HAPA, Opens for Five for Fighting at the Royal Kona Resort

Last night was the Five for Fighting concert at the Royal Kona Resort and I just thought I’d write a quick post on Barry Flanagan, the guy that opened the concert for Five for Fighting.

Barry Flanagan of HAPA at the Royal Kona Resort

Barry Flanagan of HAPA at the Royal Kona Resort

Local boy Barry Flanagan of the group HAPA put on acoustic show that was awesome!  The weather was beautiful and the sun was just setting making for a great concert vibe.

Barry Flanagan opens for Five for Fighting at the Royal Kona Resort

A gorgesou Kona sunset

The Royal Kona Resort was the host of this great concert with Barry Flanagan and Five for Fighting and the amphitheater area of the resort was packed with folks.

Barry Flanagan of HAPA at the Royal Kona Resort

The crowd settles in for the concert

He talked to the crowd in between the songs and one thing he mentioned, was that when his group HAPA was touring recently… Sendai, Japan was the last stop of their tour so the Japan Tsunami has really affected him.


I spy a Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort worker in the crowd!

I caught him backstage after he opened and he was very emotional about doing his first solo performance in front of such a large crowd as he normally performs with the entire band.  He had the following to say about the Japan Tsunami disaster and is obviously still emotional about it:


Here is more information from his biography:

Barry Flanagan is an American singer-songwriter and musician and founder of the internationally acclaimed and award winning World Music group HAPA. Flanagan is known for his guitar-playing skills, vocal performances and ocean awareness projects. Born in New York City and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, Flanagan came to the Hawaiian Islands in 1980 to study and explore the Art of Kiho Alu, or Slack-Key Guitar, and Haku Mele, Hawaiian poetic song composing. Flanagan heard the recordings of Ry Cooder and Hawaiian Slack Key icon Gabby Pahinui while living in Colorado, which inspired Flanagan’s first visit and eventual move to Hawaii. Flanagan immersed himself in Hawaiian Culture and Art, seeking out Native speakers, Teachers and Composers of Hawaiian Poetry along with legendary Hawaiian Slack key players, passionately studying all the indigenous art forms with Hawaii as the backdrop. An “eternal wellspring of inspiration for Artists and Writers from around the globe” is how Flanagan describes Hawaii.

A prolific composer and performer, and one of Hawaii’s most respected and celebrated Recording Artists and Producers, Barry Flanagan has composed some of Hawaii’s popular songs of the last three decades. In 1994, the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts honored Flanagan, and Hawaiian Language Professor S.H. Kiope Raymond, with the prestigious “Haku Mele” award, an acknowledgement for Excellence in the Art of Song Composition in the Native Hawaiian Language. In 2004, Flanagan co-composed a song with friend Kenny Loggins for his Grammy nominated “More Songs from Pooh Corner” release. The song, entitled “Hana Aluna Lullaby” includes a chorus in the Hawaiian language, making this the first song utilizing Hawaiian lyrics to receive that distinction.

HAPA’s benchmark self-entitled first release in 1994 still remains the number one selling recording by a group or duo in the history of recorded Hawaiian music, sweeping all six categories it was nominated for at the 1994 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammy’s. “HAPA” was Produced, Composed, and Arranged by Flanagan, with supporting vocal performances by Grammy Award winning singer Kenny Loggins and Guitar performance by Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Stephen Stills.

All follow up HAPA recordings, 1997’s “In The Name of Love”(“The year’s best album”-Honolulu Advertiser); 1999’s  “Namahana”(“A Masterpiece”-The San Francisco Chronicle) and 2005’s “MAUI”debuted in Billboard Magazine’s World Magazine’s Top Ten.

Currently, HAPA’s music can be heard in the Adam Sandler Movie “Just Go With It”, released in theaters Febuary 2011.

Director Dennis Dugan also featured HAPA as “the band” in the movie’s supper club scene shot on Maui in May 2010.–best-guys–provide-the-music-when-Adam-Sandler–Jennifer-Aniston–Just-Go-With-It-.html?nav=5014