Every year I come back from Pahala, Hawai’i with a big grin on my face and great memories from our week long music camp. Every year I meet new, wonderful people and see old friends. Every year I learn much about music and even more about life. Every year I make a post and say “This camp was the best yet!”, or something along those lines. Mind if I say it again?
This camp was by far the best yet.
There you go.
Keoki Kahumoku, along with his world-class group of music teachers, cooking crew, managers, and help, finally seems to have arrived in workshop nirvana. The classes imparted loads of knowledge to the students, ranging from the expected ‘ukulele and slack-key guitar licks and tricks to the challenges of makahiki games and lauhala weaving. Uncle Craig Law kept the students (and teachers) happy with great food, much of it locally grown and organic. Almost all events were on time – quite a feat considering how much was packed into each day.
Something the newcomers are always amazed at is the feeling of family. A week of close company between all participants leads to a good deal of tears on the last day when everyone must finally depart to their own corners of the world. It’s impossible to capture all of this love in pictures, but here’s my best shot.
Each day started with a “Ho’oponopono” session where we would gather in a circle to discuss plans and issues, along with practicing our camp chant and stretching. Here’s Aunty Darci Baker discussing how the makahiki games were going to work out.
Makahiki games took up the last day of the workshop and were a fun way to test our skills outside of music. Uncle Keoki had more fun than any of the kids. Here he’s challenging my brother in “loulou” – a game that is like a tug of war with your pinky. The first person to move their front foot looses.
Next up was arm wrestling. Bradley and Kekoa went back and forth for a long time!
Aunty Susie Kagami and I were the leaders for one group of the makahiki participants. Here we play konane – Hawaiian style checkers.
In “moa pahe’e” you have to slide the wooden “projectile” through two sticks in the ground. It’s a lot harder than you would think.
Uncle Moses Kahumoku was in charge of the moa pahe’e station. He would tell us when to throw the darts.
Rev. Dennis Kamakahi also acted as a temporary judge for moa pahe’e.
Our host striking a pose while waiting for his turn in “‘ulu maika.”
Anne Davison busted out some limbo moves!
Brad and Bradley – one of the best friends I’ve made throughout our years at camp.
Bruddah “E” gave a poi pounding demonstration during one ho’oponopono session.
Of course, the imu is always a big event. An “imu” is an underground oven that uses hot rocks and a long duration to cook the food.
It takes a while to remove the covering of banana and ti leaves from the top of the food. Standing right in the dirt can get HOT too!
Aunty Hope Keawe and Uncle Dennis prepare trays for the kalua pork and turkey.
Aunty Darci led us in choir to open the Veterans Day concert.
Bradley and the scholarship kids played “I’m Yours” as their contribution to the concert (well, Bradley played another set with his band).
James Hill and Anne Davison rocked the house with “Heart-shaped Tatoo”, “Billie Jean”, and some fiddle tunes. They are two wonderful musicians.
I played “Olinda Road”, “East Wes”, “Carve”, and “Step It Up” with my friends Micah Wang (left) and Joe Mann (right). Micah and I have been jamming for a while, but Joe was an unknown before the camp. Let me tell you, the boy can rip on the cello. It was great to have him fill out our sound and he played a mean solo on “Step It Up”.
James Hill and I had been jamming a bit during the camp and some people wanted to see what we had been working on. I won’t disclose the song, but I have a feeling that with the long Canadian winter fast approaching James will have it all nailed in by the next time I see him.