Maui No Ka Oi, Maui The Best

North Shore Maui Hawaii beach

Aloha from a day in my life ...... Maui No Ka Oi

Yesterday was one of those days that you just have to write home about. The morning was crystal clear with the top of the West Maui's, Puu Kukui, free from clouds. When the morning dawns like this, it's hard to decide which way to go. I had a ceremony to attend at the beach so I headed for the ocean.

Many flowers and lei that had been dropped into the ocean, continued to wash up along the North Shore throughout the day. Mid day was spent swimming and relaxing in the shade. I had plans for a night out and needed to rest up.

Hapa - Hawaiian guitaristsThe evening was spent at our upcountry night spot, Casanova, listening to some really wonderful music. If you have not heard of Maui's own, "Hapa," do yourself a favor and check out their website. This was a special treat as Hapa had not played in Makawao for ten years. Hard to believe that much time has passed!

These two musicians are multi talented and their hula dancer was one of the most beautiful performers I have ever seen. Barry Flanagan has a fluid relationship with his guitar ,bringing forth sweet and unexpected sounds. Poetry in motion comes to mind.

Hawaiian Guitarists and Hula DancerNathan Aweau hails from a musical ohana (family) in Honolulu. He is very accomplished and versatile, playing the 7 string base and 12 string guitar, delighting the audience with a falsetto performance.

They played slack key, "Ki Hoalu" the Hawaiian word translates to "loosening the key" making reference to Gabby Pahinui. Gabby Pahinui was the first to record this style of guitar playing in the late 1940's. Slack key prior to this recording was reserved for parties and gatherings. The Mexican cowboys, paniolos, brought guitars when they came to Hawaii to work on the range. They taught the Hawaiians to play guitar, leaving them to develop their own style of tuning.

The West Maui Mountains on a very clear dayHapa's music evokes a feeling of a simpler, happy time, praising the natural splendor of Maui. I hope they return to upcountry soon. This was a stellar day, topped off with listening to magical music with a good friend, like I said................. Maui no ka oi.

Aloha on a mellow Sunday afternoon, may good things come your way.


Great Hawaiian music and ono grinds

The Hula Honeys play Hawaiian music on Maui

"Deep into Haiku" is a great little cafe with some of the yummiest food, chillingest atmosphere and the bestest(!) music on the map.

I am talking about a really great way to celebrate making it through Monday. The Hana Hou Cafe, with the fab Hula Honeys playing old style Hawaiian music and talking story with the patrons, is my favorite place to be on a Monday night.

The Hula Honeys playing Hawaiian music on MauiThe "Hana Hou Cafe" serves fresh local food, featuring the Maui Cattle Company beef, and fresh fish caught by our Maui fishermen. This is not designer food with two inches of food on the plate, we're talking left overs for lunch the next day. I happen to really love Creme Brulee, and Hana Hou Cafe makes a delicious desert. They also feature live music 5 nights a week. We have many talented musicians on Maui, and it's great to enjoy them in an intimate setting.

Besides ono grinds, patrons are treated to some of the best music in the islands. I really love listening to the Hula takes me back to a simpler, sweeter time. Ginger and Robyn both grew up in Honolulu and were exposed to the music of yesteryear. They sing Hapa/Haole music, swing music and Hawaiian music.

The Hula Honeys Hawaiian Music Band
They are funny, engaging and sweet as all heck. Robyn performs hula when the mood strikes, and it is always a treat. On my special birthday a few years back, they played on the back porch. This is what I mean by "chicken skin", a full moon with all my friends and family relaxing and enjoying "back yard" style hula and music. I will always remember that wonderful night.!

Their Bassist Jonathan Drechsler is from New York and has played with many noted musicians. These talented folks are great, I love supporting them, and playing their great cd at breakfast. Their new release will be out soon. A number of guests are excited enough to make it down to the Hana Hou, have dinner, chill out and take their magical music home to the mainland. You can check out the music at The Hula Honeys Hawaiian music web site. Hope you enjoy! Ginger and Robyn also host a great show on Manao Radio.

Aloha for now...looks like a beach afternoon...


Music Willie K style


Imagine hearing "chicken skin" Hawaiian music, in Hawaiian and Japanese, funky country western, old style Portuguese music, R&B and opera all performed in one concert by one outrageous entertainer. That was the treat I had today at the local senior community center.

I felt a little bit like an impostor sitting amongst the teeny tiny white hair crowd, until I remembered that I just earned my stripes, and great affordable music in an intimate setting is one of the perks. Local plate lunch on the beautiful grounds followed the concert...what a deal!

Willie Kahaiaili'i, fondly known as Uncle Willie K, was raised on Maui. Inspired by jazz, blues, country and R&B at an early age, Willie K is a musical veteran who performed in his father's band at the early age of 10. He really connects with his audience, talking story and hamming it up on stage. He is a pleasure to watch, and an even greater treat to listen to.Willie Kahaiailia'i is Uncle Willie K

This morning he shared with us his growing interest in opera. A Hawaiian man singing opera is not something one experiences often, unless you are lucky enough to live on Maui. I noticed a few moist eyes in the crowd more than once during this morning's concert.

Willie K is leaving for tour in Germany this Friday. The tour is called Simply Red, and the performance dates were listed on his site as May 5,6,7,9 and 11. If you are lucky enough to make it to his concert, you won't be disappointed. I'm sending this out to my readers in Germany, hope you get a chance to listen to this charismatic island performer.

All for now on this peaceful Hawaiian evening, Aloha, a hui hou.......... and happy almost May Day.

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. Bank tellers wear leis, school kids perform hulas for their families. It is very sweet.


Princess Ka'iulani Festival

Aloha from upcountry Maui!

St. John's Episcopal church in beautiful Keokea recently hosted one of the sweetest festivals I have every attended.

The festival was in honor of Princess Victoria Kawekiu Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapapalapa Kaiulani, lovingly known to the Hawaiians as the "princess of the peacocks".

The princess was a strikingly beautiful woman of mixed blood. Her father was a Scotsman, Archibald Cleghorn, and her mother, Miriam Likelike, a Hawaiian girl from a chiefly family. Princess Ka'iulani was next in line to take the throne when Queen Liliuokalani was deposed and imprisoned after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

This quaint festival honored her mixed heritage, with my favorite, the Isle of Maui Pipe Band. The band plays music from many Celtic nations, in celebration of bagpipe playing in Hawaii since the 1800's. Sitting on the emerald grass listening to the great looking folks in kilts playing soulful bag pipe music made for a perfect afternoon.

The icing on the cake was the Princess Ka'iulani Fashion show. A historical review of magnificent gowns worn by the first ladies of the Hawaiian monarchy, graced the stage with a breathtaking backdrop on the slopes of Haleakala. The gowns were replicated after a year and a half of studying the archives of the Bishop Museum.

After a day of hula performances, Hawaiian music, harps and fiddles, lots of smiles, old friends, and great food, I was a happy camper. This little gem of a festival was nostalgic of "the good ol' days," and I look forward to it again next year.

Until next time, a hui ho...