Last weekend my wife and I traveled to Kaua‘i to participate in the K?ke‘e Hawaiian Music Songwriters Camp. Kenneth Makuak?ne, Puakea Nogelmeier, Kaliko Beamer-Trapp, Walter Keale and I taught workshops on haku mele and other aspects of songwriting. The camp was held at some cabins deep in K?ke‘e State Park, where I had never gone to before, and it was a very inspiring setting.
I did two workshops – one was an overview of some of the more common and essential elements of mele, and to demonstrate the composition and editing process, explained how my mele Facebook Hula came about. I provided them with both the first draft as it came to me a few weeks ago, and how I edited it to strengthen the text. The second was a workshop on collaborative songwriting, where Kenneth and I talked about how our collaboration works, and how we each need to sometimes compromise and be open to changes, and how both parties must work for the benefit of the mele – not our own egos.
Very few of the participants had sufficient skills to actually compose mele, though a a couple were experienced Hawaiian immersion teachers who wanted to venture into haku mele. We made it quite clear from the beginning that fluency in the language was a starting point, and that haku mele is a higher level of the language. In spite of their limited language ability, during the last session we broke them into groups, with each instructor helping one group conceptualize and create a single verse to a Hawaiian song. It left them all with a feeling of accomplishment, and also an appreciation that they had a long way to go before actually beginning to compose mele.
Kenneth and I will reprise our presentations at the Kaua‘i Music Festival in July, and will be joined by some world-famous composers such as David Pack (Ambrosia), Jason Blume (Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, and Jesse McCartney) as well as some prominent Hawai‘i composers. I hope some of you can make it.