A big mahalo goes out to Kumu Kekoa Yap and Halau Hula O Wailehua for putting on a wonderful concert this past Saturday! From what we understand, this was the first Hawaiian concert in Palm Springs since Don Ho came here in the 60's! If the show was any indication of the interest in Hawaiian music over here, we will probably return in 2009.
The concert was standing room only (literally...the volunteers kept trying to steal the Sons' chairs because so many people kept pouring in) and started with the group Mehana and the sweet vocals of Aunty Geri Kuhia. Then the conch shell was blown and Kumu Kekoa entered the room, chanting, as kumu hula Nani Aiu-Quezada, Ululani Cortez and Mahiehie Arana waited for him onstage. The dancers of Halau Hula O Wailehua, Hula Halau Ka Lehua Uluwehi I Ka Lani, and Halau Hula Moani'a'ala Anuhea danced the traditional hula kahiko, dressed in colorful Hawaiian print costumes. Faaabulous mistress of ceremonies Alaka'i Paleka gave the Sons a rousing intro and the room went silent as the crowd was mesmerized by the Sons' beautiful harmonies and the enchanting Kealo Koko on "Hawaiian Lullabye." Hula fans were treated to many beautiful dance numbers, including the showstopping "Waikoloa," which originally was Keoni Nunez' solo number. Kumu Kekoa joined him onstage, and then Uncle Moon surprised everyone by taking off his guitar and joining his hula brothers on the ha'ina. Everyone started shouting "hana hou!" so the three chose "Lumaha'i" as their second number. As another surprise, Aunty Sunbeam Beamer sang the haunting "Ho'onanea" as Aunty Loke Halemanu shared her hula. Everyone enjoyed every second until the finale..."Hawaii Aloha."
We were happy to see a bunch of our friends from LA...Linda Wilkes, Ruth & Jim Edens, Robin & Geoff Goss...and our San Diego promoter Tula Striffler and Genie Montoya. It was like a big reunion!
Palm Springs is an awesome place to visit. There are lots of trendy shops downtown, casinos, a big outlet mall, beautiful resorts, etc. We'll post photos soon! RJ got some great photos of downtown Palm Springs and the tram ride.
Mahalo again to everyone involved in the concert, for your hospitality and aloha, but mostly for keeping the spirit of Hawaii and the culture alive in Palm Springs!