Through song, a spiritual connection to Hawaii

Posted on April 3, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

A master of traditional Hawaiian music and its distinctive slack-key guitar style comes to Sonoma for a April 12 concert.

Ku`uipo Kumukahi will perform at 7 p.m. at the Sonoma Women’s Club. The show is presented by Beth Post and Hula Mai, Sonoma’s own hula school.

“It is a special treat to host Ku`uipo Kumukahi here in Sonoma. says Betty Ann Bruno of Hula Mai. “She is truly a treasure.”

Ku`uipo has released several albums and won coveted Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards, Hawaii’s Grammys. The awards recognize and honor Ku`uipo’s achievements in perpetuating Hawaiian music, including Traditional Hawaiian Album of the Year and multiple Female Vocalist of the Year.

Ku`uipo is noted for her soothing slack key guitar and melodic vocal style. She grew up near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, where her family has lived for five generations.

She remembers how family gatherings inspired her to pick up an ukulele for the first time at age eight. Her father once told her: “You go make them happy.” But her motivation goes beyond just entertaining. Ku`uipo believes in preserving history through her mele (the Hawaiian word for song). Her mele document places long gone that live on through her singing.”

In Hawai`i, kings and queens composed songs for the people. Nowadays, mele are given back to the people each time they are sung. “In this connection to the elders, there is a spirit that is essential to a song,” says Ku`uipo. “It is about breath. It is about breathing something within, something you cannot measure. When you can hear it, see it, feel it, smell it, when all of your senses are conjured up by a song… I don’t ever want our young people to lose that.”

Friday, April 12 at the Sonoma Woman’s Club, 574 First Street East. Tickets are $20.

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