Tue, 22 January 2013
While Ho’olohe Hou has so far been concerned with the forgotten figures of Hawaiian music, scrolling around Facebook today inspired a new topic – “Facebook Friends,” dedicated to my friends (real and virtual) who continue to make beautiful music for Hawai’i and the world. And a birthday is the perfect excuse to celebrate!
For more than 30 years Haunani Apoliona has been a foremost ambassador of Hawaiian music around the world, a composer of beautiful Hawaiian-language compositions, and one of the rare female practitioners of the art of the slack key guitar. But only Hawaiians can say whether they cherish Haunani more for her contributions to their music or for her advocacy of native Hawaiian causes and issues in Washington, D.C. as a representative of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).
My fondest memories of Haunani are spending evenings at the Rainbow Lounge of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel with her musical partner of the last three decades, Jerry Santos, and the seminal Hawaiian folk music group Olomana which keeps alive the sounds and songs of a bygone era of Hawai’i. In the last 20 years Olomana has only produced one CD - “E Mau Ana Ka Ha‘aheo“ (1991) - but there was also one solo CD from Jerry Santos – “Expecting Friends” (1989) - which featured Haunani and one solo LP from Haunani which featured Jerry - “Na Lei Hulu Makua, Na Wahine Hawai‘i“ (1986). The latter is of particular interest because it remains out of print – never seeing the light of day on CD or MP3. Haunani continues to wrestle with the numerous issues of rereleasing her own work.
To celebrate her birthday, I give you one of my favorite selections from that LP – a medley of songs by venerable composer of Hawaiian songs Helen Desha Beamer – with the hope that the entire beautiful album will be available for a new generation of Hawaiian music lovers to enjoy soon.
Hau’oli la hanau e Haunani Apoliona!