Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Grammy Museum's Hawaiian Music MELE MEI Exhibit through April 2, 2017

Photos by Karen Ostlund

Now on display on the Museum’s fourth floor through April 2, 2017, We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ’70s Hawaiian Music will explore the period of renewed Hawaiian cultural awareness and the enormous impact of Hawaiian music and recording industry in the ’70s. 
Grammy Museum new exhibit: suitcase of Cecilia Kapono tour manager Johnny Isara, 1970
Mele Mei performers:Bobby Moderow Jr, Frank Hewett, Kalapana, Henry Kapono, Johnny Valentine, Blayne Asing and Alx Kawakami

LOS ANGELES – Last Feb. 8, 2017, for the second consecutive year, the GRAMMY Museum® celebrated the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii’s music and kick off Mele Mei 2017 with a special evening titled We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ’70s Hawaiian Music. The event was held in conjunction with the opening of the Museum’s new fourth-floor exhibit of the same name and will feature performances by renowned Hawaiian artists and musicians.
Grammy winner KALANI PE'A performed  

  “From the ukulele to the steel string guitar, folk music to modern rock and even hip-hop, the music of Hawaii continues to hold a singular place in popular culture,” said Scott Goldman, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, who also played a large role in developing the exhibit through writing and research. “The artifacts that will be on display in the exhibit really place a much-deserved spotlight on the music of the “Hawaiian Renaissance” of the 1970s. I’m confident that even the most seasoned Hawaii music fans will learn something new.”

“It’s a true honor seeing the history and culture of Hawaiian music come to life in our space here at the GRAMMY Museum,” said Chris Morrison, GRAMMY Museum Traveling Exhibits Manager who also played a role in curating the exhibit. “Our partnership with Outrigger Resorts has given us the opportunity to introduce our Los Angeles audience to Hawaiian music history, while also helping support Hawaii’s Mele Mei event for two years in a row now. Shining this year’s spotlight on the legendary Henry Kapono will make every day feel like a Sunday at Duke’s, right here in downtown L.A.”
The second GRAMMY Museum exhibit to celebrate Hawaii’s musical history, We Are Friends serves as the official kickoff of the Mele Mei 2017 celebration in Hawaii.

Opening day concert in the GRAMMY Museum’s Clive Davis Theater was hosted by Billy V. and featuring performances by GRAMMY®-nominated artist Henry Kapono, as well as Johnny Valentine, Alx Kawakami, Blayne Asing, Malani Bilyeu, Gaylord Holomalia and GRAMMY nominee Kalani Pe'a who 4 days later won the #GRAMMY for "Best Regional Roots Music Album" at Staples Center.

“Mele Mei and the GRAMMY Museum are celebrating a golden era of Hawaiian music and the influential artists who helped inspire the renaissance of Hawaiian culture during that period,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “Anyone who enjoys Hawaiian music will appreciate seeing this exhibit in Los Angeles and learning about the proud legacy of artists who have touched the hearts of people for generations.”

The leading artists in this renaissance of Hawaiian music included Cecilio and Kapono, Kalapana, Country Comfort, Olomana, Sunday Manoa, Hui Ohana, Gabby, Sons of Hawaii, and Keola and Kapono Beamer.

Mele Mei (Music May) is a month-long celebration of Hawaii’s music, hula and culture. Music and hula events are at various hotels, venues, on the beach and statewide. Enjoy ukulele to steel guitar, traditional Hawaiian music to slack key, island reggae to rock — and everything in between. To learn more visit
“Hawaiian music and culture are the heartbeat of Outrigger Resorts. As the presenting sponsor of Mele Mei in L.A., Outrigger is proud to partner with the GRAMMY Museum, AEG, HARA and HTA among many others, to bring this event to life,” said Sean Dee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Outrigger Enterprises Group. “This event is one note in our ongoing track to help perpetuate Hawaiian music and a fun way to display our appreciation for the talents of all of the world-class musicians participating this year.”
“The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) is thrilled to return to such a special place in the music world — the GRAMMY Museum — to celebrate the launch of Mele Mei with Mele Mei in LA,” said Pali Ka’aihue, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts president. “We look forward to sharing the beautiful tradition of Hawaiian music with music lovers from Los Angeles and around the world.”
We Are Friends: A Lifetime Party of ’70s Hawaiian Music and the coinciding Mele Mei In L.A. event are made possible by the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, Delta Vacations, Northstar Travel Group, Waikiki Beach Walk®, Yasuda International, Duke’s Malibu, Duke’s Huntington Beach, Blue Note Hawaii, Oahu Visitors Bureau, Innovative Networking Group, and AEG Facilities.

Featuring dozens of performances throughout the Hawaiian Islands, Mele Mei provides both residents and visitors from around the world a chance to immerse themselves in the islands’ local music and culture. The annual event features an impressive schedule of artists and industry icons at various hotels and venues statewide with entertainment from ukulele and steel guitar to traditional Hawaiian music and hula. For more information on Mele Mei please visit
You can also follow Mele Mei on Facebook at, on Twitter at, and on Instagram at

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