I'm always humbled whenever I engage with the Hawaiian music scene. It's a tight knit family of friends and relatives. People smile, hug, laugh. Everyone is warm and inviting. Everyone respects one another. It's a beautiful thing to be a part of.
No egos, no pride, just love and aloha. I was lucky enough to attend some of the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Festival Workshops. There were a lot of workshops held over a few days, featuring popular Hawaiian artists and mainland musicians. (Ernie Cruz Jr., Ray Parker Jr., Kimo Kahoano, Patrice Rushen to name just a few.) From the essence of rhythm to social media business plans, from Office of Hawaiian Affairs loans to interpreting the lyrics of hula music—the workshops featured a solid lineup with solid material. I would stop into a workshop halfway through and think, "I wish I were here from the beginning!" Each class was usually an hour long. The best part about the Na Hoku workshops? The intimate, inspirational interactions with these gifted people. They kindly shared their knowledge, motivations and ideas with everyone in the room (there were about seven rooms total). I was reassured that the spirit of aloha continues to flow freely through the Hawaiian music scene. It's a humbling experience to learn from these world-class musicians and hear their stories. More info on the Na Hoku Hanohano Festival, the awards ceremony, and Mele Mei.