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Award-winning Kupaoa takes EKK stage tonight

HANAMA‘ULU — By popular demand, the married, music-power-couple Lihau and Kellen Paik, better known together as Kupaoa, is back.

They’ll rock and soothe their way through the Jasmine Ballroom of the Kaua‘i Beach Resort near Hanama‘ulu at E Kanikapila Kakou tonight, together with the Ke Ala Aumoe Hula dancers.

Kupaoa returns to the EKK stage for an evening of music, hula and playful storytelling. Often, they add a surprise to their program — a well-known musical pal — and EKK audiences get a bonus.

EKK, now in week five of its 37th season, features the theme of “Hula, Mele and Mo‘olelo,” and continues its 10 consecutive Monday nights of heritage Hawaiian music. Today from 6 to 9 p.m., the audience can expect an evening of Hawaiian mele and hula.

An evening at E Kanikapila Kakou — it translates to “let’s play a stringed instrument together” — begins with a breakout group of instrument and/or hula lessons in which the guest artists teach a song that the participating audience members will then play, or a hula they will perform, sometime later that evening.

EKK welcomes audience members to bring their own instruments or just sit in to learn how to play and sing a song.

From 7 to 9 p.m., the featured artists take to the stage, and it’s show time with lots of talk story.

EKK audience members come from around the globe, and many have attended for over three decades.

In 2005, Kellen Paik agreed to do a one-time Hawaiian music set for a friend’s wedding. He asked a college acquaintance, Lihau Hannahs, to join him, and history for this duo began.

Fifteen years later, the pair is married and creates harmonious Hawaiian music for huge audiences. They call themselves “Kupaoa,” a word that means “a lingering fragrance.” And that’s what their music does, stay with the listeners.

As life-long students of the Hawaiian language, they enjoy composing and performing their own original songs and, in addition, delight in playing time-honored favorites.

Many CDs and Na Hoku Hanohano awards later, Kupaoa continues to impress and delight. Kellen Paik is a Kaua‘i native, and the pair call Kaua‘i home.

All EKK gigs are open to the public.

A suggested donation of $10 to $15 in the calabash treats attendees to an evening of aloha from the heart. A no-host bar and food concession in the ballroom operates throughout the event.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance may email Carol Yotsuda in advance at

E Kanikapila Kakou 2020 is funded in part by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority through the Community Enrichment program, and is supported by the County of Kaua‘i Office of Economic Development, Kaua‘i Beach Resort, the Garden Island Arts Council and EKK supporters.

Next Monday, Feb. 24 EKK presents NUE — Na ‘Ukulele ‘Ekolu, or The ‘Ukulele Trio,” a group comprised of long-time friends Bryan Tolentino on tenor ‘ukulele, Halehaku Seabury from the group NaHoa on baritone ‘ukulele, and Kama Hopkins from the group Holunape.
Source: The Garden Island

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