Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher. -Oprah
I’ve been extremely blessed to perform with HAPA on multiple occasions over the past five years. Each time is special, and I am filled with gratitude every time Barry Flanagan generously shares his stage with me. I decided to amplify the aloha by inviting musicians Claudia Goddard and Chris Davis and the dancers of Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima o Nuioka!
The group lifted me higher. In our 25-minute set, the dancers presented oli, hula kahiko, and hula ʻauana – complete with three costume changes. Our set included Holo Mai Pele, Waimanalo, A Kona Hema, Ka ʻApapane Hulu ʻUla, Ka Lehua I Milia, and Hawaiʻi With You. Two of the songs are originals, Ka ʻApapane Hulu ʻUla composed by Claudia Goddard and Chris Davis’ Hawaiʻi With You as heard in the film The Little Tin Man. A special thank you to Kumu Vicky Holt Takamine whose blessing and support made our opening act performance possible.
The evening marked the New York debut of HAPA’s newest addition, Kapono Naʻiliʻili, a singer, Hawaiian chanter, multi-instrumentalist, hula dancer, and winner of Maui’s prestigious Richard Hoʻopiʻi Falsetto Contest in 2007. Naʻiliʻili who is known for his beautiful vocals and mastery of a multiple instruments is a natural complement to Barry Flanagan (vocals/guitar) and Tarvin Makia (vocals/bass guitar.) Miss Hawaiʻi USA 2006 Radasha Hoʻohuli danced elegantly throughout the evening. HAPA’s energetic set included HAPA classics. They closed the show with James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes” with Barry playing guitar and a three part vocal arrangement. This is a personal favorite song of mine, one that we play on CD every night for our kids at bed time.
A big mahalo to my bandmates, dancers — friends, family, and all who came to the show!
Photos: Thomas Dang Vu