It’s one thing to listen to local, Hawaiian music in your car while sightseeing around the island. It’s quite another to enjoy live, local musicians while sipping a cocktail at sunset on a hotel veranda.
The folks at The Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort and Spa, think so, too. That’s why the hotel is hosting “Mele at the Moana,” a monthly concert in the hotel’s Banyan Courtyard, starting Friday, July 31st.
“Mele at the Moana” will take place the last Friday of every month on the Banyan Courtyard stage. Local music begins at 5:00 p.m., with the featured performers taking the stage at 7:00 p.m. The performers will play two, 45-minute sets through 9:00 p.m.
Here’s a look at the confirmed, featured performers:
Raiatea Helm (Friday, July 31): Helm burst onto the music scene in Hawaii as a teenager, and her virtuoso recordings and performances launched her onto the international music scene. In 2006, she became the first female recording artist from Hawaii to be nominated for a Grammy Award for her second CD, “Sweet and Lovely.”
John Cruz (Friday, August 28): The island-born Cruz honed his talents in New York City in the mid-1980s, then returned to Hawaii in the mid-1990s to play bass with his cousin Ernie Cruz, a member of the Ka‘au Crater Boys. When Cruz’ first album, Acoustic Soul was released in 1996, it made an artistic and commercial impact like few other recordings in Hawaiian musical history.
Natalie Ai Kamauu (Friday, September 25): Known for her sweet vocal sounds, Kamauu began as a hula dancer, even winning the coveted Miss Aloha Hula title at the Merrie Monarch Festival. She became a musician when her family halau (hula troop) needed one. She has been honored with the Na Hoku Hanohano “Female Vocalist of the Year” award three times, and partnered with the Moana Surfrider to write a song that captures the charm of the hotel, “The First Lady of Waikiki.”
Maunalua (Friday, October 30): The trio comprised of Bobby Moderow, Jr., Kahi Kaonohi and Richard Gideon has been one of the most successful groups since releasing their first album in 2000, which garnered the Na Hoku Hanohano award for “Hawaiian Album of the Year.” Their third and latest album, “Ho‘okanaka” was released in 2007, and Maunalua took home “Group of the Year” honors at the Na Hoku Hanohano awards.
“Mele at the Moana” takes guests back to the days in the 1930s, when the sounds of Hawaiian music filled the airwaves across the globe during “Hawaii Calls,” a long-running live radio broadcast from the Banyan Courtyard that introduced the world to Hawaii through music.
“We often hear guests recall fondly about ‘Hawaii Calls,’ and how their parents listened to the broadcast,” said Larry Hanson, general manager, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa. “We hope that Mele at the Moana helps bring back a little of that magic at sunset on Aloha Friday.”
Preferred seating is available for “Mele at the Moana” and can be reserved by calling Mason Waugh at 808-923-2811 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. or by email at Mason.Waugh@westin.com. Diners at the Beachhouse or at the hotel’s new wine bar, Vintage 1901, may also enjoy the local music from their nearby tables.
Hawaii families (proof of residence will be required upon check in) are invited to make it a staycation during “Mele at the Moana” weekends with a kama‘aina rate starting at $245 per night for city view, and a late checkout of 2 p.m. (based on availability). Discounts also offered on food at select restaurants, and at the Moana Lani Spa. To book a kama‘aina stay at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, call (808) 922-3111.