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Hawaii Slam!

Henry Kapono has a new music project going — it’s called the Wild Hawaiian. You can read up on the whole thing here — there’s music and video and photos. I caught the show  in Seattle. I thought the way he started it was a little weird — he showed video footage that talked about the concept and how people felt about what they were experiencing — I’m not down with setting expectations for me to feel a certain way about art, be it musical or otherwise. It turned out not to matter, I forgot the video almost immediately when the live music started.

I loved the show; I loved thinking about Hawaiian music in a whole new way. The Wild Hawaiian tracks are rock music in a way you probably recognize, but the lyrics are all Hawaiian. I thought the percussion was crazy wonderful, the guy cranking out the exotic beats was Lopaka Colon, a  musician I’d never heard of but his dad played with Martin Denny — you might know Martin Denny as the man who popularized pop exotica in a track called Quiet Village.

More than anyone on stage, I could not tear my eyes away from Kealoha, the barefoot slam poet who danced and sang his way through the show, sometimes taking the mic to add a whole new spin to Hawaiian storytelling. I loved hearing his voice call out over the crowd, adding Hawaiian legends and slices of modern life to the music that Henry Kapono and his band created.

Kealoha founded and hosts Hawaii Slam every first Thursday in Honolulu at the Fresh Cafe Warehouse. If you want to do something completely different when you’re next on Oahu, this is it. I haven’t been, I can’t tell you first hand what it’s like, but next time I’m there, I’m psyched to go. It’s three bucks if you get there early, five if you don’t, and that’s a pretty good deal for seeing Hawaii through a whole new lens. Check it out.

Be sure to check Hawaii Slam before you go — all the details are subject to change.

One Comment

  1. Nathan Kam says:

    Aloha Pam…I’m so glad you enjoyed the concert. It was a pleasure bringing this show…along with Willie K. and Amy Hanaialii…to Seattle last month. I agree Henry’s stuff was not your typical hotel poolside entertainment, but I think that’s what made it really fun…and interesting. Living in Hawaii and with Metallica being my favorite band of all time, Henry’s music sits right in the middle of both worlds…strange and awesome at the same time. Hope to see you in Seattle again soon. Until then…a hui hou!