A colleague put it best when she said that hearing the Lau Hawaiian Collective’s music is like walking into the plant-filled Como Conservatory in St. Paul on a cold winter day and letting the warm, humid air and the lush growth caress the skin and sooth the mind.
There they are, above, the five band members, in an excellent photo by MPR’s Jeff Thompson.
The rehearsal session photo captures band co-founder David Burk on the left, Dave Kapell on the ukelele, co-founder Kim Sueoka, baritone Andrew Kane and bassist Rahn Yanes. Kane stands in for band member Shahzore Shah now and then.
You can judge the effect of music when you hear my new Minnesota Sounds and Voices report which airs Tuesday afternoon, February 12th, during a regional of segment of All Things Considered on Minnesota Public Radio News.
A few years ago the St. Paul-based Rose Ensemble received grant money to study and add some Hawaiian music to the ensemble’s amazing repertoire. They perform music that spans 1000 years in more than 25 languages!
Burk and Sueoka are Rose Ensemble members, and they yearned to find a way to bring even more Hawaiian music to Minnesota audiences. The nearly 2-year-old collective’s members perform mostly folk songs from around the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
Hawaii’s musical tradition is centuries old including chants, hymns influenced by missionairies, and scads of folk songs inspired by universal themes; love, loss, animals, nature. The Rose Ensemble put together a CD chock full of exampes called Na Mele Hawaii, A Rediscovery of Hawaiian Vocal Music.
The Lau Hawaiian Collective’s CD is called Wai: Fresh Water Songs.