Bobby Moderow Jr.
Photo: Vivien Killilea/WireImage/Getty Images
Students Meet Their Hawaiian Ohana At The GRAMMY Museum
Today the GRAMMY Museum in downtown L.A. hosted another successful GRAMMY Week event for students from across Los Angeles County, filled with music and joy. For the Hawaii Education Program, Hawaiian artists Bobby Moderow Jr. and Kimie Miner taught L.A.'s youth what ohana, or family, really means.
They shared their music with the excited audience of students, with Moderow—who is in a trio called Maunalua—demonstrating the traditional Hawaiian method of slack-key guitar and Miner bringing out her ukulele. He introduced himself as "Uncle Bobby" and his fellow presenter as "Auntie Kimie," explaining that everyone is family in Hawaii. Both of the singer/songwriters are Na Hoku Hanohano Award winners, which Miner described as the "Hawaiian GRAMMYs" (and the website explains that it was modeled after the Recording Academy).
"When you hear a song, you're actually hearing about someone's life," Moderow shared. He encouraged the students to share their stories with poetry and music.
Miner discussed how she started making music when she was 14, after her parents got the singer/songwriter her first ukulele. For the Hawaiian native, it's important to her to share the things she loves about her home and culture through her music, which captures the sunny vibe of the island. While her upbeat songs are "rooted in Hawaiian traditions," she loves incorporating a blend of influences, like pop and reggae, to spread her message of love and positivity far and wide.
She performed her song "Bamboo," which won Song Of The Year at the 2018 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, which had the kids clapping along to its Jack Johnson-esque melody. Explaining the backstory behind the inspiring lyrics, she shared that she co-wrote the song with Jesse Epstein, an L.A.-based singer/songwriter.
"One of the coolest thing about music is that you can collaborate with people from all over the world," Miner said.
Before the two artists closed the event with a traditional farewell song, Moderow shared the story of Māui, who, in Hawaiian mythology, is believed to have pulled up the islands with his large fish hook. He explains that the hook has important symbolic meaning; what you put out into the world comes back to you. He encouraged the youngsters to remember "the three Fs: faith, family and future," when they think about what they want to share with the world.
If you want another taste of their music, the two artists will be performing for the public tonight, along with more Hawaiian musicans, at the GRAMMY Museum's Music Of Waikiki event at 7:30 p.m.