HANAMAULIU — Tonight, multiple Na Hoku Hanohano award-winner Mark Yamanaka, along with friends Bert Naihe and Sean Naleimaile, will be the featured artists at E Kanikapila Kakou, a heritage Hawaiian music program.
EKK means, literally, let’s play a stringed instrument together. It brings people together on 10 consecutive Monday evenings each year to celebrate the Hawaiian culture through music, song and hula, and is now in the seventh week of its 36th season.
The program runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort near Hanamaulu.
During that time, expect the roof to rise with their elevated falsetto singing.
A breakout group forms at 6 p.m. and goes until 7 p.m. Attendees with or without ukulele who desire to learn a Hawaiian song join in. Later in the evening, those who learned it will show their stuff, playing and singing the song to the audience.
From 7 to 9 p.m., the visiting artists take to the stage and, in keeping with this year’s theme, “Music is our Mo‘olelo,” or “Music is Our Story,” they will sing and talk story.
Yamanaka is no stranger to the EKK stage, having first appeared in 1999 to accompany Johnnie Lum Ho, and he’s come a long way since. Proof lies in his multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards, among them, four in 2011 and five more in 2014.
Naihe on guitar and with his own powerful voice and falsetto, regularly backs up Yamanaka in their numerous visits to Japan as well as locally. In addition, Naihe is a composer and recording artist.
Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning Naleimaile is an archaeologist at the State Historic Preservation Division in the state Department of Land and Natural Resources by day and slack-key guitarist/singer as well.
A donation in the calabash of $10 to $15 or more is suggested.
A no-host bar and food concession in the ballroom operates throughout the event.
The E Kanikapila Kakou 2019 heritage Hawaiian music program is funded in part by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, supported by the County of Kauai Office of Economic Development, the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, the Garden Island Arts Council and EKK supporters.