Harris Center gets the Aloha spirit
FOLSOM — Following in the success of the 2012 PBS TV special “Keola Beamer: Mālama Ko Aloha (“Keep Your Love”)” and Grammy-nominated CD, the key elements of that performance are being brought to the live stage at the Harris Center/Three Stages.
Hawaiian slack key master Keola Beamer, Native American flutist/nine time Grammy-nominee R. Carlos Nakai, jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer and kumu hula (hula master) Moanalani Beamer join together to share their unique talents on Oct. 9.
The mantra of generations of the legendary Beamer family — “malama ko aloha” — “keep (nurture & cherish) your love” — is the cornerstone of this concert, which celebrates many facets of aloha with beautiful songs from a mix of traditions as they share cultures, genres, and sensibilities — and humor. Their work together both highlights each unique talent and culture while also embodying the true spirit of collaboration and aloha. The show includes stories from Hawaiian history and legend.oin together to share their unique talents.
Beamer enjoys recognition as a “Master of Slack Key Guitar.” He has been described as “[t]he best slack key guitar player on the planet!” by the legendary Willie Nelson. One of Hawai’i’s premier singer/songwriters, arrangers, and composers, he was one of Hawai’i’s first recording artists to integrate Hawaiian chants and instruments into contemporary music; he has produced over a dozen recordings. Beamer was nominated for a Grammy in Hawaiian Music in 2011, and was honored with a Nā Hōkū Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, among many other Na Hoku Awards (Hawai‘i’s “Grammy”). His film credits include featured songs on the soundtrack for “The Descendants,” nominated for five Oscars. His well of talent springs from five generations of one of Hawai‘i’s most illustrious and beloved musical families. The Beamers trace their roots to the 14th century. Keolamaikalani Breckenridge Beamer was born in Kamuela on Hawai‘i Island.
Nakai is of Navajo-Ute heritage and is one of the world’s premier performers of the Native American flute. Originally trained in classical trumpet and music theory, since 1983 he has released more than 35 albums on the Canyon label. In addition to appearances throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, Nakai has worked with guitarist William Eaton, flutist Paul Horn, composers James DeMars and Phillip Glass and various symphony orchestras. Nakai’s collaborations have explored musical influences including new age, world-beat jazz and classical genres. R. Carlos has received two gold records for Canyon Trilogy and Earth Spirit and he has received nine Grammy nominations.
Keezer started playing piano at age three. Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he has been one of the most in-demand pianists in jazz since the late 1980s. Like Keola, he comes from a rich musical heritage. He studied throughout his school years and in 1988, matriculated at Boston’s Berklee School of Music. Since then, Geoffrey has kept extremely busy both as soloist, with 11 highly rated releases and in collaboration with a stellar array of artists: Diana Krall, Chris Botti, David Sanborn, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Ray Brown, Kenny Barron, Benny Green, Chick Corea, Jim Hall, and vocalist Barbara Hendricks. As a composer, Keezer has received commissions from the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Saint Joseph Ballet, the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra.
Beamer began her hula training at the early age of four with Kumu Hula (Hula Master) Johnny Hokoana, and continued training extensively with several different hula masters; she herself became a “Kumu Hula” in 2011, following a rigorous process of study and graduation (“‘uniki”). In performance with Keola, Beamer dances, chants, sings background vocals, and plays several ancient Hawaiian percussive instruments, including `ili`ili (river stone “castanets”), ka`eke`eke (cut bamboo) and Ipu (gourd drum). She also teaches, sharing her hula knowledge with students on Maui, across the U.S. and in Japan and Europe.
Mālama Ko Aloha (“Keep Your Love”) will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at the Harris Center for the Arts (formerly Three Stages at Folsom Lake College). Tickets are $19 to $29 with premium tickets available for $39 and students with ID get in for $12. Purchase them at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.