Mana Maoli jam raises money for schools
BY GARY CHUN / email@example.com
All-stars in the Hawaii music scene Amy Hanaiali’i, John Cruz and Paula Fuga join a host of others — pros and young musicians — tonight at a musical benefit for Mana Maoli, a nonprofit collective supporting Native Hawaiian charter schools.
MANA MAOLI ALL-STAR KANIPILA
With Amy Hanaiali’i, John Cruz, Liko Martin, Irie Love, Paula Fuga, Mike Love, Kaipo Kapua, Seph1, Mama T, Taimane, Sean Ka’awa, Pomaika’i Lyman, SisteRex and others
Where: Fresh Cafe/Loft in Space, 831 Queen St.
When: 5:30 p.m.-midnight today
Cost: $10 minimum donation adults ($20 includes Mana Maoli double CD) and $5 students K-12 with school ID
Info: 295-6262 or manamaoli.org
For Nohealani Miller, a student at Halau Ku Mana charter school, helping put on the benefit concert is quite an undertaking.
Last year at this time, Mana Maoli put on a large-scale musicfest at the Kakaako Waterfront Park Amphitheater. This year the organization decided to have a more intimate event.
Enter Miller, who, with staff and volunteers, coordinated the event for her senior project.
The kanipila will not be your typical casual backyard or beach get-together.
In the afternoon, musicians will present short sets, including some impromptu (and inspired) groupings. It’s in the spirit of the local tradition of the Hawaiian jam session, filled with good vibes and good times.
“I believe this is an awesome event to support because it’s unique and fun, and all for a good cause,” said Miller. “You’re helping out charter school youth while supporting traditional Hawaiian and local island music.”
Net proceeds will be used to buy instruments for Mana Maoli musical artists’ mentorships at Native Hawaiian charter schools on Oahu.
THE EFFORT Miller put into this concert is her way of giving back to what Halau Ku Mana has done for her.
“It’s not your typical school,” Miller said. “It’s more like a second home, a second family, and somewhere you know you can always turn to.
“One of the main reasons why I stayed at Halau Ku Mana for the past seven years is because of the kumu. They’re not just here to get paid. They’re actually passionate about everything they teach us, which makes us passionate as students to take in all that they give us.
“We actually try to use what we learned in our daily lives, as well as pass it on to our friends and families outside of school.
“Halau Ku Mana has had a great effect on my academics and attendance,” Miller said. “I actually started to look forward to coming to school rather than looking at it as a drag.”
HANAIALI’I SAID she’s happy to lend her support.
“I have had the pleasure and honor of watching these Hawaiian-focused charter schools grow over the last 10 years,” she said via email. “Not only has it created another alternative for traditional public schools, but it has assisted in the revitalization of our Hawaiian culture.”
As for the concert itself, “I’m excited to be joining the stage with my cousin John Cruz,” she said. “He recorded a song with me on my duets album, ‘Friends & Family of Hawai’i.’”
That Hoku award-winning album is just another accolade for the respected Maui-born singer, who was also classically trained at the United States International University School of Performing and Visual Arts in San Diego.
Keeping it in the “classic” Hawaiian vocal style, Hanaiali’i added that “I can’t wait to see Pomaika’i Lyman. When I hear her sing, I hear her grandmother Auntie Genoa Keawe. Both she and my tutu Jennie Woodd continue to be huge influences in the Hawaiian music I write and sing.
“It’s inspiring to be
sharing the stage with other musicians who bring their own sound and vibe to this industry,” Hanaiali’i said. “I’m definitely looking forward to hearing Paula Fuga and Irie Love.
“I have a feeling this will be a ‘wee-haa’ concert, so everybody should grab a ticket!”
JUST BEFORE tonight’s concert, Hanaiali’i's fellow performers Cruz, Fuga and Liko Martin, all highly respected Hawaii performers in their own right, will lead free music youth workshops.
“I’ll be focusing on vocal exercises and techniques,” Fuga said. “John will be doing overall songwriting, and Liko will be concentrating on mele ku’e, or songwriting from a Hawaiian perspective. Afterwards, we’ll all jam it out at the kanipila.
“I was once employed by one of the charter schools, Hakipu’u Learning Center in Kaneohe, and there was a beautful connection between the kumu and the students. It’s all hands-on learning and working closely with the aina.
“These schools are seriously underfunded, getting less than half than mainstream DOE schools. … As an artist, I want to be an advocate for these youth, and help protect their environment through music,” Fuga said.
Miller, for one, is appreciative of what an “auntie” like Fuga is doing for the charter schools.
“Over the years, I’ve come to realize how important it is to know your history and culture because it is a reflection of yourself,” the senior student said.
“I thank and greatly appreciate my school, my peers and my kumu because they have all helped me find myself as a person and also as a Hawaiian.”