Saturday, July 22, 2006
Kapono Rocks Maui
Hawaiian music as performed by Henry Kapono with his group, dancers and Hawaii's Slam Poet, Kealoha, has been dramatically re-interpreted with a raw, rocking edge! It was a hot, powerful, hip-hop, Hawaiian show we witnessed at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center this Saturday night. This wasn't the same Kapono I knew from former times when he was a gentle, more traditional Hawaiian singer. Kapona has re-invented himself, and he doesn't look like he has aged at all. With what he calls his "kids", his ensemble of hip-hop dancers, musicians and the awesome Slam Poet Kapono is showcasing another facet of himself: the hip, wild Hawaiian. The show and CD are titled "The Wild Hawaiian", a very apt name for wild, rocking music... certainly not your standard Hawaiian music by a long stretch! The CD has written on it "The Next Generation"...and vitality, youth and up-beat Hawaiian aloha are what Kapono's music celebrates. Once Kapono goes on tour to the Mainland with this act and ensemble, his star should shine brighter than ever, and he will introduce another generation to aloha.
Kapono's new style of music has a danceable rock 'n roll vibe, and the way he chants in untraditional Hawaiian style and plays his electric guitar is spectacular. I was blown-away by this fresh interpretation of Hawaiian music, Kapono's mana and the unrelenting powerful performance by the youthful ensemble. There were two large screens set up on either side of the stage displaying dynamic visuals with a higher platform for the dancers towards the rear, all of which kept the energy moving and allowed an eye-feast. The anthem titled "The Queen's Prayer" was the finale, and on both screens they pictured the former Queen of Hawaii....a very touching and chicken-skin moment for me! I could strongly sense the Ancestors, for they had been powerfully invoked by the passionate energy and magic of Kapono and his group. As the show closed, the dancers walked down the aisles dressed in white and solemnly faced the audience... a sacred staging and a perfect ending to one rocking show!