Greetings for 2013! The music you hear playing in the background is my version of the Hawaiian Wedding Song. I learned the song, so I could play it to my new wife, Junko, at our wedding, which took place on March 18, just a couple of weeks ago. If things seem even more hectic with arrangements for the Fest, please forgive me and imagine how preoccupied my mind has been. Fortunately, we have a great staff of people, who have led me through necessary steps and some extremely knowledgeable and competent performers, who are already promoting their appearance. Let me get right to this topic. Raiatea Helm is coming to our Fest! I first met Raiatea through another friend of ours, at Bill Tapia’s 100th birthday party in Honolulu. So many years ago when I heard her soaring voice accompanied by her uke, I made a wish that we could have her perform in New York. Well now it has happened. Raiatea Helm will headline on Saturday, June 1!
Our headliner for Friday, May 31, will be our old friends, Small World Project. Sebastien Dufour and SWP will come down from Montreal for their return to the Fest stage. I can’t tell you how many of our regular Fest-goers have told me that SWP is their all-time favorite act from those we have presented! All I can promise you is that you will not be disappointed. In addition to their headlining concert on Friday, they will also be staging a film event on Thursday, May 30, to open the Fest. The silent film, The Adventures of Ahmed, is the animated vehicle that SWP wrote the musical soundtrack for. We will offer the US premier of this with the live performance by SWP, which will accompany the film.
Some other highlights from the lineup…Jim and Liz Beloff, Victoria Vox along with Nico’o from the South of France, all pillars of strength in the ukulele world, will appear at the 2013 event. Sakai, who will grace Carnegie Hall’s stage in the same season, will regale us with his deft work. And Hironobu Saito will appear for the first time. The hula halau will be onstage with at least twenty colorful dancers, there will be open mic opportunities, more ukulele workshops in one place than anywhere else (32 by our current count!) an all-day Sunday luau that will begin in Central Park and continue with a feast back in Ethical Culture. The location that New York City has given us for the park segment is a huge upgrade from the spot they assigned us to last year. We managed to have a great time last year anyway, but a spot that is closer, self-contained and atmospheric should add to the occasion. Let’s hope for good weather. Vendors, Vendors Vendors! will be present!
We invite you to purchase the Early Bird ticket, which is the bargain of the decade, since it includes everything we do for the four days, including the movie premier, choice of any workshop, Friday and Saturday concerts, as well as food and drink at the luau. We are still preparing some evolutions and surprises. And the lineup will expand. It promises to be a memorable event!
Ken Bari Murray