George Kahumoku Jr., The Slack Key Show and Dave Barry of Makai Studios have announced the launch of the "Masters of Hawaiian Music Film Series," which will preserve the stories of Hawai'i's most influential musicians.
The first two films of this series will feature Richard Ho'opi'i and Dennis Kamakahi.
The films will explore and document the lives and musical careers of these prominent musicians and their influence in both Hawaiian music and the Hawaiian community, helping to carry the legacy of Hawaiian music and culture forward to future generations.
Hawaiian musicians (left to right) Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, George Kahumoku Jr. and Richard Ho‘opi‘i are part of the “Masters of Hawaiian Music Film Series.”
Photo: Shane Tegarden
The goal of the series is to produce two films a year, targeting PBS broadcasting, online distribution and traditional DVD releases. The films will also be made available to Hawai'i's educational institutions.
Kahumoku will host each film, introducing each artist. Interviews with the artist and others will tell the story.
The films will be created at no cost to the artists, produced through crowdfunding on Kickstarter.com. This method was used successfully to fund Kahumoku's documentary, "Seeds Of Aloha."
The first film in the series will focus on Ho'opi'i, best known as a member of the famous Maui duo, the Ho'opi'i Brothers. His music, which emanates from the tiny coastal village of Kahakuloa on Maui, has a truly timeless style that has circled the globe. His mastery of the traditional Hawaiian art of leo ki'eki'e (falsetto) is a product of his lifelong dedication to the art, and is reflected in his contributions to Hawaiian music and the Hawaiian community.
"Uncle" Richard was a recipient of the prestigious National Endowment of the Arts Folk Heritage Fellowship in 1997, America's highest honor for traditional artists. Ho'opi'i is also a featured artist on four Grammy Award-winning albums.
The second film will tell the story of Hawai'i's greatest living songwriter and master slack key guitarist, Rev. Dennis Kamakahi. Many of his songs are famous Hawaiian standards. Once a member of Eddie Kamae's Sons of Hawai'i, replacing the great Gabby Pahinui, Kamakahi was uniquely positioned at the beginning of the Hawaiian Cultural Renaissance.
Among his most famous songs are "Pua Hone," "Wahine 'Ilikea," and "Koke'e."
Kamakahi is also a Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame inductee, and his music was prominently featured in "The Descendents."
Anyone interested in helping to preserve the legacy of these treasured Hawaiian artists is invited to participate by donating to the Kickstarter campaign.
The funding period ends Monday, March 31.
For more information and to make a donation, visit www.mastersofhawaiianmusic.com.