Mana Maoli holds its biggest concert ever in support of Native Hawaiian charter schools
Ho’okumu. Ho’okele. Ho’omana. The three Hawaiian words mean, respectively, “to build a foundation,” “to forge a direction and connections” and “to provide sustenance and empowerment,” according to Mana Maoli.
Those principles are the basis of the mission statement for the group, a nonprofit collective of teachers, artists, cultural practitioners, community organizers and families supporting Native Hawaiian charter schools.
HAWAII UNITE MUSIC FESTIVAL
and Mana Maoli CD Release Celebration
Where: Kakaako Waterfront Park Amphitheater
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $45, $80 VIP
Info: 855-235-2867 or groovetickets.com
Musical outreach is part of the program. Mana Maoli sends musicians into the schools, and over the past several years, Mana Maoli has benefited from live concert fundraisers and the sales of CDs filled with the music of its supporters.
This year has been no exception, with the Valentine’s Day release of a limited-edition double CD — Mana Maoli, Volumes 4 (“This is Maoli Music”) and 5 (“Hui Na Moku”) — with traditional Hawaiian music, island-style pop, roots reggae and a music video featuring Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga and John Cruz.
Mana Maoli is marking its CD release Saturday with the biggest concert in its history, a festival featuring Jamaican artists Third World and Tarrus Riley, three local “all-star” bands and performances by charter school youth from Oahu.
Well-known Hawaii musicians participating include Paula Fuga, Sistah Roz, Jason “Bison” Friedmann of Go Jimmy Go, Lubei and Slo from the Tempo Valley Music Group, Kali Navales of Ooklah the Moc, Irie Love, Mike Love and Anuhea Jenkins.
The concert will benefit Mana Maoli’s music programs, the Halau Ku Mana charter school, schools with students whose music was recorded and its Kanehunamoku sailing canoe venture.
SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD Anuhea Ka’auwai-Herrod’s Hawaiian-language song for her late grandmother is one of the tracks on the new Mana Maoli release.
The teen, a senior at the tiny Kawaikini Public Charter School on “the Puhi side” (southeast) of Kauai that has just more than 100 students, was invited to record the song by Fuga, another guest artist.
“It’s great that she’s so young and writing her own music,” Fuga said. “I wanted to encourage her to keep it up.”
Ka’auwai-Herrod wrote “Ku’upua Aloha” last year. In September 2011, it won a haku mele song composition contest at Kauai’s Mokihana Festival.
“It talks about being in search of her, her beauty, and the memories I have of her,” Ka’auwai-Herrod said last week in a call from Kauai. “She holds a special place in my heart. I lived with her for 12 years and she basically raised me from a baby.”
Ka’auwai-Herrod recorded the song for the Mana Maoli collection with her uncle doing engineering duties and helping out on instruments and vocal harmonies.
Even though Ka’auwai-Herrod says she sees herself becoming a baker after graduation — “My grandma was a pastry chef,” she said, and she likes making Bavarian tarts, cookies and brownies — music could still be in her future.
“I’ve performed a little bit here and there with my dad,” she said. “His family is from the Haleiwa side of Oahu, and he’s a hula teacher. My mom is a supervisor for Child Protective Services.”
FUGA HERSELF lent her voice to a couple of tracks by students, both from Kauai, “and one of them having family from Niihau,” Fuga said.
“It was special being in the studio with the girls,” she said. “One of the songs was very spiritual, giving thanks and praise to the Creator.”
Other artists who collaborated with charter school youth include Ernie Cruz Jr., Natural Vibrations, Damon Williams and Sashamon.
Fuga said she’s been involved with Mana Maoli since early 2000, particularly with the Hakipu’u Learning Center in Kaneohe, and co-founder Calvin Hoe and his family.
“Mana Maoli has been at the forefront of publicizing the charter schools to the larger community and help raise awareness of the struggles to keep these schools afloat,” she said.
ANUHEA JENKINS is another of the concert’s guest vocalists on Saturday, performing with an all-star band.
Once educated about the movement, Jenkins said, she threw her support behind Mana Maoli, even joining the collective of artists that visited Aotearoa (New Zealand) in March 2011, to bring Hawaiian music and culture to the Pasifika Festival.
Jenkins herself went to a Hawaiian immersion school, Kula Kaiapuni, on her home island of Maui.
“Once I moved to Oahu, I became aware that it was beneficial to me to connect to my culture,” she said. “So my association with Mana Maoli is a win-win for both of us. We have an amazing group of artists and we love interacting with the students on a one-on-one basis.”
Jenkins will be performing some songs from her new album, “For Love.”
–Gary Chun / firstname.lastname@example.org
Isles hold special place in heart of famed Jamaican singer Riley
The headliner for Saturdays’ show is Tarrus Riley, a Jamaican singer and bandleader who is very popular with Hawaii audiences.
Hawaii record label Mountain Apple is distributing Riley’s new “Reggae Masterpiece” collection, a reflection of the local appetite for his music.
He was last here in August for a concert at The Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace.
Riley will be joined on the bill by another popular reggae act with local fans, Third World.
“Hawaii people are beautiful,” the versatile and well-traveled singer said by phone from Jamaica last month.
“The people there show a lot of love. It was hard for me to leave.”
He’s quick to note that even though his CD collection is filled with “nice songs, they’re not greatest hits.” He’ll be reaching into the repertoire found on the record at Saturday’s show.
While not on the compilation, Riley said the Hawaii audience can also expect to hear songs that have garnered island airplay and become local favorites, such as “Good Girl Gone Bad” and “Love’s Contagious.”
“There’s a good energy from the Hawaii crowd,” he said. “The vibe is crazy-cool and I love how they yell ‘chee-hoo!'”
The son of the great Jimmy Riley, Tarrus said, “I’ve got some time before I get to what my father accomplished.
“I’m mindful of what I record and perform. I don’t want to pigeonhole what I do. I can do dancehall or songs with a message,” he said.
–Gary Chun / email@example.com