Friday, April 24, 2009

Pau Hana

Da Perfec` Time of Day!

“The primal duties shine aloft, like stars;
The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless
Are scattered at the feet of Man, like flowers.”
William Wordsworth

Cyril Pahinui & Aunty Mo`okini

“It is up to us to live up to the legacy that was left for us, and to leave a legacy that is worthy of our children and of future generations.”
Christine Gregoire

Ben Ka`ili

"We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies."
Shirley Abbott

Seniors dancing Hula

"It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons."
Johann Schiller

Pau Hana means "after work" time.

Today it mostly means "happy hour" but we still say: "I'll meet you pau hana" and another local person knows what we mean.

Yesterday sure was a day of work, even if most of the heavy lifting was emotional. My Dad was released from Queen's hospital to hospice-at-home care here in Waikiki. My job was to keep my mom from losing it, and to drive multiple errands at inconvenient times. Let's just say that it was hectic and leave it at that, OK?

Secretly, I hoped to make it to Cyril Pahinui's pau hana birthday gig at Kanikapila Grill at the Outrigger Reef Hotel. Gabby, or "Pops" as everyone called him, was Cyril's father and a giant of Hawaiian music. His ki ho`alu (slack key) guitar stylings, and his unique -but deeply Hawaiian- vocal style preserved and inspired to such a degree that it would be impossible to imagine our musical legacy without him. Cyril, a great artist in his own right, has a new Grammy nominated CD He`eia. I know there would be old timers, great music, and tons of authenticity if I could just make it there. I wasn't disappointed!

As the sky mellowed to dusk I happily found myself in a miraculous little remnant of sweeter times. It felt like a back yard jam, and all the Kupuna (seniors) were there; how I love their rare Hawaiian faces!

The Nahe Nahe (sweet, melodious, soft, gentle) sounds of guitar, ukulele, and beguiling lyrics in the Hawiian tongue worked the old healing magic on me as they always do. I was positively oozing well-being by the second song. Surely, this is what the angels listen to at home.

You no need be young or thin to dance Hula. And when da Kupuna get up to dance, everything crystallizes in an exquisite Manawa Kolu, an everlasting "Now" of perfection. Everything shines then with beautifully felt meaning, and gratitude surges like the eternal surf only steps away.

I knew that I was going to hear wonderful music, but discovered an unexpected vein of pure gold when Ben Ka`ili and Bruddah (Brother) Ocean got up to play and sing for the first time in Waikiki. They have a regular weekend gig at the Emerald Orchid on the Big Island and sure brought the "good stuff" here to da city with them! Their guitars rang out filling young and old with delight.

Ho! Good times!

There are links below to take you to a few selected videos of beloved Hawaiian songs and performers. Take a few minutes to just savor

the A L O H A! Cloudia

Dennis Pavao sings Holei about Kalapana on the Big Island of Hawaii. My niece was born there:

Gabby sings da classic Hi`ilawe:

Dennis Pavao sings Ka Manu ("the bird")

Cyril's Website: