If you told me 5 years ago that I’d meet and play music on stage with Robert Cazimero, I’d have said that you’re crazy! I’ve seen him perform at Carnegie Hall and Hawaii Theater!

La MaMa Moves! dance festival (June 4-20, 2010) in New York City celebrated its fifth year and was dedicated to the 90th birthday year of Ellen Stewart, the founder and artistic director of La MaMa.  One of this year’s highlights was the “Power of Hula”, featuring hula masters Vicky Holt Takamine and her son Jeffrey Kānekaiwilani Takamine with with members of the hālau Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima O Nuioka; hula master Robert Cazimero (who is also an award winning singer and songwriter, as well as a leading figure in the resurgence of Hawaiian music, dance, language and Hawaiian culture in general since the 70’s) and Keo Woolford; and New York-based hula group Nā Lehua Melemele under the direction of Lisette Kaualena Flanary. The Hawaiʻi, New York collaboration came about not only because of a shared dedication to and love for hula but was also connected by an esteemed hula lineage to the late hula master Maiki Aiu Lake.

Thank you to Kumu Vicky for inviting me as a musician to play music for hālau Pua Aliʻi ʻIlima O Nuioka and to Lisette (and music kāpena Jason) for asking me to play for Nā Lehua Melemele. It was a special day for hula in New York City and such fun to share the stage with such talented dancers and musicians. I had the pleasure of watching the beautiful dance program that included kahiko (ancient) and ʻauana (modern) forms. I must admit, meeting Kumu Robert Cazimero was one thing but strumming guitar to accompany his piano and voice on He Aloha Nō ʻO Honolulu was a total head trip! It was quite a Father’s Day so a big thanks to my family for indulging me on a long but fun musical day.

Here is a review: The Power of Hula @ La Mama Moves

Here are some photos from the performance.

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