Chaminade students highlight island cultures
You don’t have to go all the way out to the North Shore — or open your wallet — to enjoy an evening of Pacific island cultural entertainment this week. Chaminade University’s Pacific Island Review brings a festival of Pacific Islander performance to town for a free event.
The evening features performances by student groups representing Hawaii, the Marianas, Tonga, Samoa and Micronesia. It’s an annual event, and Joseph Granado, director of Chaminade’s Office of Student Activities & Leadership, says it’s one of the university’s most popular, typically drawing about 400 people.
“Some clubs are doing a fashion show, where they’ll be showing the cultural garbs of their respective culture and explaining a little bit about that. Some will be doing chants and some will be doing traditional cultural dances,” he said, adding that there will be special guest artists adding to the festivities.
The event includes a buffet dinner with traditional Hawaiian luau food.
Sultry Kiana Ledé brings soulful sound to Republik
Kiana Ledé seems to be on the fast track to stardom. At age 22, she’s emerged as a legitimate triple threat — a singer, songwriter and actress — with a top 10 hit and a song on the soundtrack of the movie “Fifty Shades Freed,” and regular roles on on two TV shows, the original MTV show “Scream” and the now-canceled Netflix comedy “All About the Washingtons.”
A native of Phoenix, Ariz., she began singing at just 16 months old (yes, that’s months), she told the website onestowatch.com. “It became a second language,” she said. “There were times I wouldn’t be able to focus in school because all I could hear was a song playing over and over in my head. I’d have to put a melody behind to get it out or else I would go crazy.”
Her rise to stardom began when she won the Kidz Star USA contest at age 14, beating some 40,000 other youngsters in the largest contest for singers age 15 and under. She moved to L.A. the next year and experienced the roller coaster ride of the artist’s life, getting signed to a record label, then getting dropped just a year later. But she has since thrived with two other labels, releasing her latest EP “Myself” in June.
Her soulful, wistful songs, sung at a languid pace that allows her sweet vocals and thoughtful lyrics to resonate, reflect the trials and tribulations of love, like “Fairplay,” where she sings about turning the tables on someone who cheated her, and “Ex,” which reached No. 9 on the Billboard R&B charts, where she sings about maintaining a friendship with ex.
Woodshow to get grand setting at Moanalua Gardens
The annual Hawaii’s Woodshow won’t be showcasing just the beauty and elegance of Hawaii’s homegrown woods and the skills of its craftsmen this weekend. It will also introduce a well-known yet somewhat hidden treasure to the public.
The show will be held at Moanalua Garden’s elegant Chinese Hall. Built in 1903 under the direction of Moanalua Gardens founder Samuel Mills Damon, the structure has never before been used for a public event, until now only hosting weddings and other private events.
“The incredibly intricate and detailed woodwork visible within the hall is a feat of woodworking itself,” said Noelani Ley, design director at Moanalua Gardens, in an email. “Therefore, we are delighted to host the talented woodworkers that will showcase their pieces here, as these artists are kindred spirits.”
About 60 items, mostly from artists based in Hawaii, have been selected for the show. Entries include furniture, sculpture, musical instruments, turned items like bowls and vases, and other accessories, said Andy Cole, an assistant coordinator. All are made of Hawaiian-grown woods, like koa, kiawe, macadamia and Milo.
“We’re trying to showcase the spectacular forest product that grows in Hawaii,” said Cole, an expert in turning wood on a lathe. “Most people think of it as a trunk with leaves, but inside it’s spectacular wood. Coupled together with (the talents of) a skilled artisan, it can be a beautiful product.”
Artists are encouraged to use woods like mango or monkeypod, which are often bypassed in favor of popular woods like koa, Cole said, helping to protect endangered forest trees.
Tom Klobe, founding director of the University of Hawaii-Manoa Art Gallery, Joshlyn Sand, director of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, and instrument maker Steve Grimes juried the show.
Beethoven commemorations begin with chamber music
Next year is the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, so Chamber Music Hawaii’s Galliard String Quartet is giving audiences an introduction with “Ode to Beethoven,” a concert featuring Beethoven’s first string quartet. It’s titled “String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18,” but it was in fact composed before the other two. For the concert, it’s paired with Schubert’s “String Quartet No. 15 in G major, D. 887.”
“They’re both very lyrical,” said Colin Belisle, violist for the quartet. “It’s nice that we start with Beethoven’s very first quartet, and then the Schubert is kind of a commentary on where Beethoven took us with quartets. The Schubert is huge, like 55 minutes long, and definitely more like what Beethoven’s late quartets are like, but still very lyrical.”
Belisle first played the Schubert as a student at New England Conservatory, where his coach once told him to envision it as “Greek gods flying through the air, and Zeus throwing lightning bolts. It’s very cosmic and grand.” He has wanted to play it again ever since. “Even though the Schubert is so epic, it’s still suave and subtle at times, but he’s not as bombastic as Beethoven.”
The Beethoven work, meanwhile, is lighter and “beautifully lyrical,” Belisle said. “There’s a lot of wonderful narrative to it, and compelling melodies to it.”
Belisle will be joined by violinists Wu Hung and Helen Liu and cellist Sung Chan Chang. Chamber Music Hawaii audiences can look forward to another Beethoven-centric concert in the spring, and more next season.