How Hawaiian Music Saved Civilization
Literary / Okay, maybe we’re out on a limb on this, but then again, not every encyclopedia publication is the event of the season. Certainly lovers of local music will want to attend signings (with musical accompaniment) for Hawaiian Music & Musicians: An Encyclopedic History (Mutual Publishing, $35). With the blessing of first editor George Kanahele’s family, dedicated musical archivist John Berger has brought the 1979 edition into the new century. It’s a dazzling read and act of intellectual courage–and tact–to create this magisterial account of kupunas, kani ka pila Sunday players and academic experts alike. Not that he pulls his punches (see “Jawaiian”) or ducks a controversy (see “Ho, Daniel”), but fairness and facts are the rule here.
Marking the occasion with a long list of events, including concerts by Raiatea Helm and Jake Shimabakuro and signings all over the island, this book release is itself one for the books. Signings are free, except for events at the Hawaii Theatre and the taping of Perry & Price.