Interested in learning the craft of Hawaiian Music from industry professionals? For the first time since the program’s launch, the Institute of Hawaiian Music is accepting new students starting in Fall 2013. An information session is scheduled Friday, March 8th at the UH-Maui Campus, room 105BCD in the Ka‘a‘ike Building. Attendees will learn more about the history of the program, entry and graduation requirements, and availability of financial aid. The first auditions are scheduled for Saturday, April 27, 2013 from 8AM to 4PM. Priority for the auditions will be given to those who attend the information session. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dr. Keola Donaghy at (808) 984-3570. You can also download the informational flyer. Mahalo!
I caught a fascinating, fan’s-eye view documentary on Paul Williams on Palladia yesterday called “Still Alive”. Paul is a Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer, performer and actor who was seemingly everywhere in the 1970s. Even if you weren’t around back then, I bet you’ve heard his music. He’s also the current president of the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP). Aspiring songwriters would do well to become familiar with his work, and anyone struggling with alcohol or drug addiction would hopefully gain some inspiration from his story.
Twenty six year old Aaron Swartz took his own life on January 11, 2013. He did so after facing the possibility of spending 35 years in jail for what could be characterized as the digital equivalent of borrowing too many library books at one time(1). I never met Aaron, read of his exploits, and first learned of his prodigious talents and voracious curiosity via Dave Winer during a period where I followed Dave’s work closely and used several of his programming and web content tools.
I believe it is time that we in academia rethink our role in a system so perveted that it turned into a vendetta that led an intelligent and thoughtful young man to believe he had no choice but to end his own life. In our pursuit of tenure, promotion, and a path to climb the ladder we are privileging ourselves and our ambitions over the knowledge we create, and contributing to this outdated system.
Since I’ve entered the field of ethnomusicology, I’ve often thought that getting an article published in Ethnomusicology or Yearbook of Traditional Music would be a huge accomplishment and contribute to my career goals. I’m rethinking this, as long as they are part of this system. The demonization of Aaron Swartz all started with JSTOR, and while it seems they tried to extract themselves from the witchhunt, it is still complicit.
We also bear the cost of our own choices. My current institution, University of Hawai’i Maui College, does not have access to JSTOR because they say “we can’t afford it.” I’m sure other institutions are in similar circumstances. This prevents me from teaching the material I would like to present to my students. Why would I want to create knowledge and put it in a repository that my own students lack access to? I realize that publishers need to make money to print dead tree-based publications, but there are other options available today. If these formats are not recognized by our instutions as credible vehicles for validating our value and worth, it is because we allow them to do so.
I’m hoping that the leaders of our organizations will also rethink their participation in the status quo and create a system that rewards open creativity and eliminates punitive and vindictive actions like these. I call on the members and leaders of the Society of Ethnomusicology and the International Council of Traditional Music to explore options that will extract us from this archaic system and create one that both rewards our work and creativity but prevents our work from being the justification for this kind of abuse.
1) you have to imagine a library where you could borrow every book, but the library still had an infinite number copies of every book still available to others.
When my wife and I moved from Hilo back to Maui, we looked into buying a house, but settled on a nice townhouse condo at Ho‘ole‘a Terrace, just outside Wailuku on the road to Waikapū. One of the few drawbacks of this choice (see one view to the right) is that we don’t have the option to add photovoltaic or solar water heating panels. I have written previously about our attempts to get our electric bills under control in our old home in Kurtistown, and these limitations proved to be motivation to find other ways to lower our electric bill.
The water heater for our unit is in a ground floor storage room that we are forbidden from entering without advanced approval from the management company. Fortunately, the circuit breaker for the heater is in our unit. We’ve been manually turning it on and off to save electricity, but you know how that goes–some days we forget to turn it off when we leave in the morning, or when we go to sleep at night, or forget to get up early to turn it on to have hot water for morning showers.
I considered adding a simple, mechanical timer to the circuit, but also wanted to get a grip on other appliances that unnecessarily drained electricity. After looking at various X25 and Insteon units, I decide to get a Z-Wave system from Mi Casa Verde called VeraLite. It looked like it had a pretty nice web interface with flexible programming, and could be accessed via my mobile phone. There also seemed to be a nice selection of receptacles, switches, web cameras, door locks, sensors, and other devices that could be controlled from this unit. So I ordered one and several receptacles.
The next task was to find a 220v relay for the water heater. It turns out there is no receptacle or any other Z-wave compatible device that can control a 220v appliance. I did find this Elk 9200 220v relay that could be controlled by a 110v Z-wave receptacle, so I ordered on of those as well. At this point I needed to call in a pro, but opted to call in my father instead. Hehe. The Elk relay was a bit bulky and housed in an unecessarily large white metal lock box. The excessive size turned out to be a blessing, and it was large enough to hold a receptacle box.
We pulled another line from the breaker panel to power the relay, connected the water heater’s line to the other side, and brought in another 110v circuit to power the Z-wave receptacle outlet that controls the 220v relay. Confused yet? Dont worry, we were for a while, too. What we figured would take about two hours turned into a five hour job, but hopefully it’s worth it.
Mi Casa Verde’s MiOS web interface turned out to be not as intuitive as it seemed at first glance, and took about a half hour to figure out. Their docs are not that great, and lack any really helpful examples or explanation of their scenes, triggers and schedule, or at least how they are interconnected. But I set up the heater to come on in the morning, turn off after two hours, turn on again in late afternoon, and turn off again in the evening.
The next step was to find an Android app that works with the VeraLite, and House Buddy turned out to be the winner. I simply logged into my account on Mi Casa Verde’s site, it automatically showed all of my “scenes” and devices. Turning the water heater relay on or off from my HTC One V was almost instantateous.
The next step was to seek out vampires… vampire loads, that is. Vampire loads are devices that use electricity even when they are not in use. The power supplies that come with just about everything we own use electricity all the time, though in recent years they have gotten much more efficient. I pulled out my trusty Kill-A-Watt, as I had done at our old home, and began sleuthing. The technician from Time-Warner Oceanic cable that installed our equipment warned me against using anything to power down their devices for any length of time as the system updates it frequently, and if it were powered down during an update it could disable the unit and require service. A quick check with the Kill-A-Watt showed that all of their devices combined, as well as our Apple Time Machine, cost about $20 a month to operate. Figuring someone is in the house and probably using the Internet about 60% of the time, the cost saved by powering these units off didn’t outweight the inconvenience of having to get a disabled device working again.
My CPAP uses about $5 a month just being plugged in as it has one of those block DC power supplies like many printers do. That will be the next to receive a Z-wave controlled outlet so the power supply will be disconnected during the day. Another nice feature of these receptacles is that they have a button on them that allows you to turn them on if they are off, or off if they are on. Pretty handy. Until I get a computer desk and some of my other equipment online, it doesn’t seem that there is much else worthy of the cost of these recepticles. The electric bill for the first full month in our unit was $127, so I’ll report back when I figure out if this was worth the time and effort we put into doing this.
And thanks, Dad!
For whatever reason, I never did warm up to MS Word 2007 for Mac, and continued to use Word 2004 until recently. When I received my new MacBookPro 13′, I decided to abandon Office 2004 and make the leap to Office 2011. I’m glad I did, and just noticed something pretty cool. The ability to run Visual Basic macros-removed from Office 2007–is back. This means that the VB macros I originally wrote to convert documents written in our old HI font system to Unicode work again. So if you happen to have older documents that have Hawaiian text in the HI format, you can easiliy convert them to Unicode. While probably less useful, there is also a macro that converts Unicode-formatted Hawaiian back to HI font format.
And of course if you don’t know what any of this means, it probably doesn’t affect you. Please ignore.
While still a devout Macintosh user, I’m extremely grateful for friends at Microsoft who shepherded this project through to completion, and saw that the work we did stayed embedded as Windows 8 was being developed. I’ll be documenting how to activate the keyboard and type the ‘okina and kahakō later, but if you have Win 8, please feel free to explore and experiment.
And I would like to ask my fellow Macintosh aficionados to refrain from the normal litany of Windows bashing. This is significant development for the language that will help other important projects move forward.
I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be my swan song when it comes to technology and the Hawaiian language. This PR piece went out today from the UH media office.
Kahului, HI — November 8, 2012 — In a major step forward in promoting and perpetuating the Native Hawaiian language, Microsoft’s recent launch of Windows 8 includes support for the Hawaiian language, thanks to a collaborative effort with University of Hawaiʻi faculty.
The Windows 8 operating software includes a Hawaiian keyboard layout in the operating system, many fonts containing the diacritical marks used in the Hawaiian language, and other localized resources such as the ability toshow days of the week and months in Hawaiian. This development was made possible by the joint efforts of staff of Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Microsoft.
Keola Donaghy, formerly of Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani and now a faculty member in the music department of University of Hawai‘i Maui College, collaborated with programmers in Microsoft’s Local Languages Program for several years to develop these resources and see that they were included inWindows 8. “We’re getting very close to the day that Hawaiian speakers will be able to take for granted the fact that they can simply type in Hawaiian when they buy a new computer, tablet, or smart phone without installing special software,” Donaghy said.
“Providing technology support in a native language is critical to helping people access the tools they need to create better economic opportunities,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education for Microsoft. “Language preservation and support also helps preserve cultural identities for the next generation of learners.”
Keiki Kawae‘ae‘a, a faculty member of Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani added, “We are thrilled that Microsoft has recognized the significance of the Hawaiian language to its people, and how important it is for us to be able to use it on our computers. Given the high percentage of personal computers that ship with and run the Windows operating system, this is one of the most significant developments that we’ve made.”
Language support for computer operating systems and programs has historically depended on the number of speakers of the language and perceived market. Major European and Asian languages have been widely supported by software vendors for many years, while speakers of native American, Polynesian, and other indigenous languages have had to depend on customized fonts and keyboards simply to be able to view, type and print the characters used in their languages on personal computers.
However, in recent years major operating system and software vendors such as Microsoft, Google, and Apple Computer, Inc. have recognized the importance of supporting a wider array of languages.
It’s official: I will be joining the faculty of the music department at University of Hawai‘i Maui College this summer. Marie and I are going home after 18 wonderful years in East Hawai‘i, and for me, 18 years at UH-Hilo. We leave with lots of great memories, some not so great, but all in all I don’t believe I could have been better prepared for the challenges of my new position, helping to move the Institute of Hawaiian Music forward, and working with the staff and faculty at UH-MC. The adventure begins August 1. E ho‘i ana mākou i ka ‘āina aloha.
On the evening of March 16, 2012, my wife and I traveled to Honolulu to attend the 92nd annual Kamehameha Schools Song Contest which was held that evening at the Neil Blaisdell Center. It was a night that Kenneth Makuakāne and I and our families had looked forward to for over four months. Back in the fall of last year, we had been asked to contribute a composition for this year’s song contest. This year marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of Kamehameha Schools. The theme of this year’s contest was “Ho‘ōla Lāhui, Ho‘oulu Pae ‘Āina — Vibrant People, Thriving Lands”. Ten composers and composer teams were asked to create new mele that honor significant parcels of land that comprise the Bishop Estate. Some of them help fund the Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop’ vision, and other are rich cultural resources.
Kenneth and I were asked to compose a new mele for Keauhou, Ka‘ū, on Hawai‘i island. This is a different area than Keauhou, Kona. It is situated just on the border between Ka‘ū and Puna, on the Ka‘u side of the entrance to Volcanoes National Park. I was aware of the place, but had no idea of the work that Kamehameha Schools is engaged in there. Previously, large sections of the ahupua‘a were covered with koa trees. Many years ago, many of the koa trees were felled, and subsequently much of the land was leased for grazing. The school later bought back the leases and began reforestation efforts. We were invited to spend a day in Keauhou, and because of work commitments we were unable to visit Keauhou together. We did visit on separate dates, and subsequently shared our experiences. We were both amazed at the efforts being made to reestablish the koa forests, keep out invasive plants and animals, and how dedicated the staff were to their task.
Over the course of the next two months we worked on the mele, sharing concepts, words, melodies, and verses, using the telephone, Skype, emails, instant messages, and occasionally (!) working face to face. The mele essentially documented the day of our first impressions, our experiences, and our hopes for Keauhou. As the group I traveled with moved through the ahupua‘a, we were followed by ‘io (hawks) that watched our every move. When cautiously entered the Kīlauea Forest Preseve (an area that escaped deforestation and remains a pristine habitat), we were observed by the ‘elepaio birds of the forest. I watch as one flew by me and missed my head by only about a foot. All of these experiences became part of the mele “Aloha Keauhou”.
In December, the mele and melody were complete, and turned over to Randie Fong at KS. Our understanding was that one of their regular arrangers would create the vocal arrangments for the students. Shortly thereafter they contacted Kenenth and asked if he would do the arrangment himself. I helped him by formatting the charts in Finale, but otherwise the arrangements were all his. Shortly thereafter, Randie informed Kenneth that the senior girls would be performing our mele.
We arrived at Blaisdell Arena on the evening of March 16 and met the other composers. I had heard that Kellen and Līhau Hannahs, Dennis Kamakahi and Keawe and Tracie Lopes were some of the composers, but didn’t know who else had been asked to contribute mele. Manu Boyd, Carlos Andrade, Ke‘ala Kwan, Nālani Choy, Kama Hopkins were the others. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I was the only composer there that wasn’t a graduate of Kamehameha. Of course Kenneth is a KS gradute, and since we collaborate together so frequently, they graciously allowed him to invite me to collaborate on the mele. Still, it was a humbling relevation.
I won’t go into a long description of the event, and would encourage everyone to watch the program on the KS website. I can only say that I was astounded by the mele and the variety and quality of the compositions. The composers of each mele were asked to stand and recognize the performance of their mele upon its completion. I couldn’t stand-I was simply numbed by the performance of the senior women. I’m certainly happy I did not have to judge the competition this year, because all of the classes were outstanding. Neither Kenneth or I heard the rehearsals, so we, along with the audience, were hearing it for the first time. And of course the feeling returned when the presenters announced that the senior girls had won the girls’ division, and tied for their Hawaiian language pronunciation.
As things were winding down and the emotions settling on the Blaisdell arena floor, Manu Boyd joined us. He started raving “My God, I could see the rain, and the birds, and the forest!” and I thought I was going to really lose it. What a compliment from one of the preeminent haku mele of this time.
When Kenneth and I began working together eight years ago, I had two things that I hoped to accomplish as a composer. I didn’t tell anyone, and only mention it to Kenneth after we finished the mele. But one of them came true on Friday night. The other? It has nothing to do with the Grammy or Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. And I’m keeping it to myself until it happens. If it does, you’ll read about it here.
Aloha kākou. Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, our College of Hawaiian Language at UH-Hilo, is having a new building constructed on the UH-Hilo campus. Some of the foundations and concrete columns are already done, and we are anticipating the building’s completion in December of next year. We are having one issue that I would like to get out there and seek some advice and/or help.
As our college functions in Hawaiian, we are very picky about language use in the new building. Most of the office and other signs in the complex will be either Hawaiian-only or perhaps Hawaiian and English, with the Hawaiian being larger in size and prominence. What we are having issue with is the Braille. We want the signs to have Hawaiian in Braille, and include the ‘okina and kahakō. The sub-contractor handling the signs says he cannot manufacture the Braille signs with the diacritic marks, even though they are in the IPA Braille spec. We’ve made numerous inquiries, and cannot find a Braille sign manufacturer that can do this. We need help in finding someone who can make these signs for us. To be clear, these are the hard plastic signs that are found outside of each office and in other areas of the building.
According to the IPA Braille spec, these are the two characters we need for the ‘okina and kahakō:
If there is anyone out there that knows anything about making signage in Braille, or knows someone who might know something about them, please contact me. We can find no prior use of these diacritics in Hawaiian in Braille, but like much of the work we’ve done with technology, we hope that we can blaze a trail for the use of Hawaiian in Braille. Mahalo.
Aloha kākou. My esteemed colleague and friend Dr. Amy Ku‘uleialoha Stillman writes eloquently and passionately about Hawaiian music on her blog “Hawaiian Music for Listening Pleasure”, and I encourage artists, labels, producers, engineers, other industry professionals and fans to check it regularly. I owe much to Amy in my development as an ethomusicologist and budding academic, and for adding clarity to my thinking regarding many issues that surround the culture of music, but this does not mean we agree on everything. While we differ on many of the issues surrounding the Grammy Awards, their legitimacy when it comes to recognizing excellence in Hawaiian music, and other issues, I value her opinions and friendship.
Amy recently wrote a post on her blog about the recent announcement of the finalists for the recently consolidated Grammy category for Best Regional Roots album. This category includes Hawaiian, American Indian, Cajun, Zydeco, Polka and other region specific genres of music that have originated within the political boundaries of the United States. While I disagree with a number of her points and analysis, I will restrict my comments here to one glaring inaccuracy as it pertains to the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. Here is the passage that I contest: Continue reading