BY MICHELLEE PHELPS — For the second consecutive year, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts continues to support Hawaiian music and culture by kicking off GRAMMY® Week with Mele Mei in L.A. held Feb. 8 at The GRAMMY Museum®. Mele Mei in L.A. is a special one-day event supported by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts to promote spring travel to Hawaii during Mele Mei (Music May), a monthlong celebration of Hawaii’s music, hula and culture.
This year’s theme, We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ‘70s Hawaiian Music, explores the renaissance period of renewed Hawaiian cultural awareness and the enormous impact of Hawaiian music and recording industry in the ‘70s.
The day began with a workshop where students learned about Hawaiian music and instruments with Bobby Moderow Jr. of Maunalua and Gaylord Holomalia of Kalapana.
In the afternoon, there was a blessing and dedication conducted by Kumu Hula and Kahuna Frank Hewett for the We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ‘70s Hawaiian Music exhibit curated by The GRAMMY Museum®. Located on the Museum’s fourth floor, the exhibit features collections by leading artists during the renaissance of Hawaiian Music: Cecilio and Kapono, Kalapana, Country Comfort, Olomana, Sunday Mānoa, Hui ‘Ohana, Keola and Kapono Beamer, Gabby Pahinui and The Sons of Hawai‘i. The exhibit will be on display through April 2 then will travel to the Hawaii Convention Center in time for Mele Mei.
Following the exhibit dedication, nearly 200 guests were invited to attend a private concert in the Clive Davis Theater that featured performances by Henry Kapono, Johnny Valentine, Alx Kawakami, Blayne Asing, Malani Bilyeu, Bobby Moderow Jr. and Kalani Pe‘a who just won a GRAMMY award for Best Regional Roots Music Album for his debut album E Walea at the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards® last Sunday.
The celebration continued with a VIP reception at Target Terrace with food catered by Wolfgang Puck and entertainment by LA-based Hālau Hula o Lilinoe and alternate folk pop band Streetlight Cadence whom started on the streets of Waikiki and is now based out of Southern California. The evening then concluded with a SOLD-OUT second concert at 8 p.m.
Mele Mei in L.A. was supported by a host of event sponsors and partners, including Delta Vacations, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, Hawaii Convention Center, The GRAMMY Museum®, Waikiki Beach Walk®, Yasuda International, T S Restaurants’ Duke’s Huntington Beach and Duke’s Malibu, AEG Facilities, Oahu Visitors Bureau, WHERE Hawaii and Outrigger Hotels and Resorts.
We gratefully acknowledge those who contributed to the We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ‘70s Hawaiian Music exhibit: John Berger, Gaylord Holomalia, Henry & Lezlee Ka‘aihue, Dennis Kamakahi ‘Ohana, Mike Kelly, Robert M. Knight, Jay Larrin, Bobby Moderow Jr., Chelle & Cyril Pahinui, Jacqueline Skylark Rossetti, Jerry Santos, David Soon and Alan Yamamoto.
There were many team members who contributed to the success of the 2nd Annual Mele Mei in L.A. event: Barbara Campbell and Sun Wong who contributed with building our list of event sponsors, emcee Billy V. of Hawaii News Now, event producers Alan Yamamoto and Michellee Phelps, VP of Corporate Communications Monica Salter, Marisa Guerrero, Laura Essenburg and Melissa Chang covered social media, Sara Eirich for marketing collateral design and event support by Luana Maitland, Conchita Malaqui, Will Phelps, Kawena Mechler, Tom Wakita, Bob Froio, Geri Harvey and Sean Dee. A big MAHALO to all!