For the first time in Hawaii, Saturday’s Celebration of the Arts at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua will feature a female falsetto competition hosted by acclaimed entertainer Carmen Hulu Lindsey.
“I am honored to join the prestigious tradition of naming the first Wahine falsetto competition.” said Lindsey, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who will also be speaking at the event. “I’m going to do some songs. I haven’t performed since I became a trustee.”
As part of the Celebration of Island Tastes event from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the resort, the evening also includes a sampling of the best of Hawaiian traditional foods and entertainment with the Maui Campus Music Ensemble of the Kamehameha Schools, followed by performances by the participants.
“My daughter Napua (Greig) came up with the idea,” explained Lindsey. “She said, ‘We always do competitions for the men, but what happened to the women?’ We were supposed to do it two years ago, and then the pandemic came.”
The winner of “Carmen Hulu Lindsey Leo Ha’iha’i Falset Competition” receives a recording opportunity with Greig’s Pihana Productions and a $600 cash award. Second place will receive $400 in cash and third place will receive $300. Contestants are judged on song and music, Hawaiian language and overall presentation, with judges including Amy Hanaiali’i.
Entertainment also includes Hawaiian music and hula by Lindsey and her daughters; Napua Greig and her Halau Hula, Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka; Kahulu Maluo-Pearson and her Halau, Halau Kamaluokaleihulu; and Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona.
“Not many women sing shark anymore” remarked Lindsey. “It’s a style we should keep because it’s really Hawaii. All the ladies who went before us, who were our mentors, have gone. Aunt Genoa’s ohana continues, and luckily my daughter Napua sings Hai too. Raiatea (Helm) is a beautiful shark singer, as is Amy.”
A professional entertainer and recording artist, Lindsey won the 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for Female Vocalist of the Year for her album. “A He Leo Wale No E.” Her previous albums include the multiple Hoku nominee “Ho’oanapu.” She was recently featured on the Hoku nominated album. “Lei Nahonoapi’ilani – Songs of West Maui.”
As a child in Waimea, Hawaii, Lindsey recalled being mesmerized listening to Aunt Genoa Keawe.
“I was about 8 and I remember Aunt Genoa singing. I thought I hoped to be able to sing like her one day.”
She hopes the competition will help preserve and perpetuate a unique aspect of Hawaiian music and inspire more women to play shark.
“I’d like to see Uncle Richard Ho’opi’i continue and give the girls a chance to come forward.” She said.
On Friday and Saturday, the 30th Annual Celebration of the Arts celebrates the spirit of Aloha with more than 60 of the state’s top artisans, educators, cultural workers, speakers and entertainers.
“We are excited to welcome Hawaiian cultural experts and artisans back to Kapalua to create enriching, emotional experiences that will last a lifetime.” said Clifford Nae’ole, the resort’s Hawaiian cultural advisor.
This year’s theme is “Mauka to Makai . . . Everything is connected.” It focuses on global climate change and connects all aspects of life through educational experiences and spiritual renewal.
“This event grows and grows every year”, said Nae’ole. “It’s Easter, so it’s a kaona, it’s an ambiguity of resurrection and rejuvenation.”
Among the weekend events, well-known Hawaiian practitioner Kahu Lyons Naone will join forces with an ambassador from Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment for a focus on medicinal plants “Science and Spirituality” Presentation Friday at 11am and Saturday at 12pm at the resort’s Hawaii Garden.
Waihe’e Limu Restoration Group founder Aunty Napua Barrows works with the group’s Kehau Custino “Limu: love her and/or leave her” in the hotel theater on Friday at 11:30 a.m.
Lopaka Nakaahiki-Bukoski will present “Ho’oponopono: connecting all things wrong to make things right”, at 1:45 p.m. Friday in the hotel theater. He explains the process and protocol of the ancient Hawaiian Ho’oponopono practice. Nakaahiki-Bukoski will also be sharing his great-aunt Mahilani Poepoe’s classes at the hotel’s theater at 2pm on Saturday “Haki Iwi: Hawaiian Chiropractic.” Participants will learn how gravity, body placement and spirituality can create the ultimate realignment.
Documentary by Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier “Hawaiian Spiritual Guardians: ‘Aumakua” will be shown on Friday at 4 p.m. in the hotel theater. Maui residents appearing in the film include Lyons Naone, Nae’ole, Danny Akaka and Calvin Hoe.
A fashion show featuring Maui’s top designers, “Na Lole of Maui Nui”, at 8:00 p.m. on Fridays in the Salon Ballroom, featuring Hawaiian music and hula.
Saturday’s celebrations include the screening of “Hawaiian Soul”, a tribute to Hawaiian musician/activist George Jarrett Helm Jr. at 3:00 p.m. at the US Navy Hotel Theater Olawe.
A unique cultural event unlike any other in Hawaii, Nae’ole explained: “We believe that we invite Hawaiians into their own home and make them feel comfortable in their own home to voice their views, show their art and talk about their achievements, their mistakes and their challenges and having a listening audience of guests and locals and practitioners, then maybe they can become part of the solution. It’s about awareness and communication through cooperation.”
Admission to the 30th Annual Celebration of the Arts is free, with the exception of the Celebration of Island Tastes. Ticket prices for the Celebration of Island Tastes are $110 (general admission), $90 (Kamaaina with valid Hawaii ID), and $45 (kids ages 6-12). Children up to 5 years are free. For tickets, call the concierge at (808) 665-7089. Food and drinks can be purchased throughout the event. The full schedule is available at kapaluacelebrationofthearts.com/celebration-of-the-arts-schedule/.