Thirty-two singers and hula dancers will bring a big Kaua‘i aloha to Argentina and Uruguay later this month as they embark on a performance tour of the two countries beginning March 13.
Randy Leonard, a choral director for 41 years, is excited to bring Hawai‘ian mele to the land of tango.
“I believe this may be the first time people in Argentina and Uruguay will get to experience the beauty, love and culture of Hawai‘i, and certainly the first time a group of singers and dancers from Kaua‘i will be perform in these two South American countries,” Leonard says.
“Music and dance build bridges that connect humanity,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to help bring the world together.”
The traveling troupe consists of 15 singers, 17 dancers and 15 guests. The vocal ensemble, named Voices of Kaua‘i, is comprised of singers from Kaua‘i Voices, the popular auditioned choir also directed by Leonard. Hula, including both kahiko and auana, will be danced by members of Halau Ka Waikahe Lani Malie, under the direction of Kumu Hula La’amea Almeida.
Each group will perform some songs independently, and will also join together for a number of selections.
The troupe will begin its adventures in Buenos Aires, then traveling to Colonia, Montevideo, as well as other small towns, before finishing at Iguazu Falls, performing along the way, including in schools.
Two years ago Leonard brought a group of about 30 singers and musicians, as well as another 15 guests, on a performance tour of Cuba.
“The tour was both heart- and eye-opening for us, and for the Cuban people of all ages we were fortunate to meet with, including the three Cuban choirs with whom we shared workshops and performances,” Leonard says. “Music opened the door, and our aloha spirit brought hope and love everywhere we went,”
He continued: “Our group was forever changed by the experience. I am looking forward to us recreating that positive experience in Argentina and Uruguay.”