Hawaii's Big Island Press Releases

Monday, July 31, 2006

Wolf Trap’s World Premiere of Face of America

June 29, 2006

Contact: Chris Guerre - chrisg@wolftrap.org; (703) 255-4096

September 9, 2006 – Wolf Trap’s World Premiere of Face of America:
Presents an Authentic Glimpse into Native and Contemporary Hawaiian
Hālau O Kekuhi, Keali`i Reichel, and Ledward Kaapana engage in
groundbreaking dialogue
between live performance and spectacular, larger-than-life HD footage
of the beauty of Hawai`i

A high-resolution downloadable photo of featured performers, Hālau O
Kekuhi, can be found here:
Photo credit: Scott Suchman

Vienna, VA—Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a leader in
commissioning new work and the
preservation of cultural heritage through the performing arts, is
proud to announce the world premiere and fifth
installment of its innovative Face of America series. The multi-media
and multi-disciplinary artistic adventure
series uses the rich language of the performing arts to spotlight the
diverse cultures and communities of people
who live in and around our country’s National Parks.

The world
premiere performance of Face of America:
Hawai`i takes place Saturday, September 9, 2006 at 8 p.m. at Wolf
Trap National Park for the
Performing Arts, just outside of Washington, D.C.

This year the multi-media world premiere event at the 7,000-seat
outdoor amphitheater at Wolf Trap National
Park for the Performing Arts celebrates both the natural beauty and
cultural traditions of Hawai`i through live
performance and spectacular high definition, giant-screen footage
shot on location at Hawai`i Volcanoes
National Park and throughout the islands. This unforgettable artistic
adventure features a powerful portrayal of
the epic myth of Pele by Hālau O Kekuhi, renowned keepers of sacred
hula tradition; along with the music of
Keali`i Reichel, Hawai`i’s most popular recording artist; and Grammy
award-winning slack key guitarist
Ledward Kaapana.

Face of America: Hawai`i reflects Wolf Trap’s
commitment to “celebrating our parks, our
people, and our heritage” and the preservation of our natural and
cultural resources that is a tenet of the National
Terrence D. Jones, Wolf Trap President and CEO and creator of the
Face of America series, notes,
“Hawai`i is certainly known for its beautiful and breathtaking
landscapes and wealth of recreational activities,
but Face of America: Hawai`i takes its audience on a very different
journey to a unique destination, using the
performing arts to celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of the
people, histories, and landscapes that exist
throughout the islands of Hawai`i.”

Honorary co-hosts for the event include Senator Daniel Inouye,
Senator Daniel Akaka, Congressman Neil
Abercrombie, and Congressman Ed Case. According to Congressman
Abercrombie, Face of America: Hawai`i
is “an invitation from Hawai`i to the people of the Mainland…an ideal
opportunity to give them a much broader
and deeper understanding of what Hawai`i has to offer.”
Face of America: Hawai`i is made possible through the generous
support of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs,
American Express, Hawai`i Visitors and Convention Bureau, Hawaiian
Airlines, Kapalua Resort, and Waikoloa
Beach Resort.

The Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanoes arising from the sea
floor, and the significance of the islands’
origins are present everywhere in Hawai`i’s native culture. In a
world premiere commissioned by Wolf Trap,
Hālau O Kekuhi portrays the epic tale of Pele, the Goddess of Fire
and the creator of the islands, through the
`Aiha`a style of hula and chant. `Aiha`a is characterized by vigorous
and bombastic movements which are
purported to have sprung from the eruptive volcanic persona of Pele
herself, who is noted for her violent temper
and her common visits among mortals. Considered a protector of the
Hawaiian people, Pele is said to have
created the islands during her southeastward journeys in search of a

The guardians of traditional repertoire related to Pele, the
Kanaka'ole family of Hilo, Hawai`i, keep the ancient
language of hula alive through Hālau O Kekuhi. Eight generations of
family practitioners have performed hula
dance and chant as part of Hālau O Kekuhi. The leadership of the
group is passed down through a matrilineal
succession with Nālani Kanaka`ole and Pualani Kanaka`ole Kanahele as
the current kumu hula (master
teachers). The group is celebrated for its mastery and its
“scrupulous authenticity and sheer magic” (Dance

A Grammy award-nominated kumu hula, Keali`i Reichel is one of
Hawai`i’s most popular recording artists.
Considered an expert in both traditional and contemporary hula dance
and song, Keali`i Reichel is regarded as
one of the top interpreters of vocal music and chant in the world.
Reichel artfully combines the intricacies and
emotions of traditional mele with contemporary sounds. Reichel often
includes guitar, bass, and ukulele in his
musical compositions but has also made use of orchestral instruments.
His vocals encompass traditional
chanting and singing in both Hawaiian and English.

Ledward Kaapana can trace the artistic lineage of his music to the
Spanish and Mexican vaqueros who
brought the guitar to Hawai`i in 1832 and the Hawaiian cowboy, or
paniolo, who first came in contact with the
instrument through the vaqueros. Although the paniolo already had a
strong musical tradition of their own, they
wove what they knew of the vaqueros’ guitar music into their
traditional chants and songs.

Wolf Trap has been a proud presenter of the diverse artistry of
Native Hawaiians for 15 years. In fact, The Barns
at Wolf Trap was the first performing arts venue to present Hawaiian
slack key guitar in the Washington, D.C.
region. In addition to honoring Hawaiian culture with this year’s
Face of America celebration, Wolf Trap will
present performances by artists from Hawai`i and from the
Mid-Atlantic Hawaiian community at The Barns at
Wolf Trap and at the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap
National Park. A much-loved venue,
Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods presents family-friendly dance,
music, storytelling, puppetry, and theater for
children between kindergarten and sixth grade.

Tickets for Face of America: Hawai`i range from $10 to $36 and can be
purchased at the Wolf Trap Box
Office located at 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Virginia; by calling (877)
WOLFTRAP; or online at
www.wolftrap.org. For more information, please call Wolf Trap at
(703) 255-1868.


Chris Guerre
Director, Media Relations
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
1645 Trap Rd.
Vienna, VA 22182
703-255-4096 office
703-255-4077 fax


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