Plethora of performances

There are plenty of live musical performances taking place on the island this week, so let’s get moving and grooving.

The free Kauai Okinawan Festival at Kauai Veteran’s Center happens Friday and Saturday. Expect to experience authentic Okinawan culture and music with traditional sanshin, a three-stringed instrument likened to banjo with a snakeskin-covered body and long neck. There will also be Eisa bon dancing with accompanying singing, chanting and drumming sure to thrill the senses.

Live performances will feature traditional music by Afuso-Ryu Ongaku, impresive Taiko drumming by Hawaii Eisa Shinyuu Kai, plantation worker folk songs by Allison Arakawa and the classical music of Tamagusuku Ryu Senju Kai with Shihan Frances Nakachi.

Be sure not to miss the closing Kachashi, a competition between free-form dancers and musicians to see who can last the longest. Usually the musicians can sing and play longer during this fun tradition, but dancers really test their musical ability. Kachashi is typically the ending song of any Okinawan festival. Gates open for the family friendly event at 5:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

The Kauai High School Music Department is performing its free spring concert at 7 p.m. Friday in the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club ballroom. Attendees can expect to hear fine student music by the school’s jazz ensemble, chorus, ukulele band and concert band. Musician Dr. Glenn Medeiros, from the school’s Class of 1988, will be the special guest performer.

Another musical escapade is also set to shake up Kauai’s music scene Friday in Princeville. The 4th annual Raqs Tiki focuses on Middle Eastern dance and music. The event will feature dancing, plus music by internationally acclaimed drummer Issam Houshan.

Resident and host Talia Soleil will be presenting her “Hard Raqs” music CD, which she recently co-produced with Houshan, who is recognized as a master of drumming for belly dance. He received formal music training in the Damascus Academy of Music and drummed for a host of Arab music stars and dancers. He is the only remaining disciple of legendary Arab drum master Mahmood Salahadeen, and has performed nearly 900 shows in 20 countries, including with musical artist Sting.

The showcase event takes place at 7 p.m. Friday at Church of the Pacific. Cost is $15 for adults; $10 for senior citizens and kids ages 12 to 17; $5 for kids ages 5 to 11; while children under 5 and active military are free.

On Saturday, you’ll also want to catch the popular Kauai Ukulele and Arts Festival. Ukulele, which roughly translates as “jumping flea” due the rapid movement of players’ fingers, is an integral part of Hawaiian music.

The “uke” originated in 19th century as a Hawaiian adaptation of the machete, a small guitar-like instrument introduced by Portuguese immigrants. The ukulele fest happens from 4 to 8 p.m. at Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on the main lawn. Tickets are $45 per person and $20 for keiki under 12.

I hope to see you all at one of the many special musical events that are being celebrated on Kauai this week.


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