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December 3, 2013 > Say Òaloha!Ó to the holidays

Say Òaloha!Ó to the holidays

By Sara Giusti

While the most recent of the fifty states, the mainland still has a lot to learn from Hawaii. Perhaps this can begin with Òaloha,Ó a word meaning not only hello and goodbye, but also conveys love, affection, and mercy. This December, get a chance to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and become part of the islandÕs ÒohanaÓ with award-winning Hawaiian slack key guitarist Patrick Landeza as he brings the island to the mainland with two Hawaiian Holiday Concerts, including a sneak peek at his new childrenÕs book, ÒDannyÕs Hawaiian Journey.Ó

Both concerts are special this year, as Landeza recently won the N? H?k? Hanohano Award for best slack key album. The N? H?k? Award is the most prestigious Hawaiian music award, like the Grammys on the mainland. N? H?k? Awards are usually Ð if not always Ð won by Hawaiian residents, but Landeza made history this past May, as he is the first ever mainland resident to receive the award. ItÕs an understatement to say he is still Òreeling from the experience.Ó To top it off, Landeza is also the youngest recipient of the Kapalakiko Aloha Spirit Award, an award created by longtime Hawaiian cultural leader Saichi Kawahara that recognizes excellence in serving the Hawaiian community.

For almost fifteen years, Landeza has been playing his signature soothing rhythms at San Leandro Main Library, sharing the unique, calming tranquility of Hawaiian slack key guitar songs. ÒAs a teacher, any chance to do something at a library is awesome,Ó Landeza said. Ukelele and mandolin musician Bill Griffin will join Landeza at the library on December 7 for the ÒHawaiian Holiday Concert,Ó as well as hula groups Tiare O Te Ao and Ka Maile. Browsing the Hawaiian-themed craft booths and enjoying a traditional Hawaiian dinner are not to be missed either; dinner options are combo plates of either Kahlua Pork or Teriyaki Chicken with macaroni salad, green salad, and white rice. To assure a seat, purchase tickets in advance as the concert sells out; 250-300 people are expected to attend.

Before the concert, the library is also hosting a sneak peek for LandezaÕs new childrenÕs book, ÒDannyÕs Hawaiian Journey,Ó illustrated by Edna Cabcabin Moran. The book is already garnering stellar reviews for its exploration of culture, ethnicity, and identity as it follows young, mainland-born Danny on an adventure of self-discovery as he visits his ancestors in Hawaii.

ÒThis is a very personal book,Ó Landeza said. Like Danny, ÒI struggled with identity growing up, asking, ÔWhat am I?ÕÓ While Landeza knew he was Hawaiian Ð growing up listening to Hawaiian stories, music, eating traditional food Ð he is also Filipino, Chinese, and Irish, and famously quips that he was Òborn and raised on the island of Berkeley.Ó However, with the support of his elders, Landeza became grounded in his Hawaiian identity, and ÒDannyÕs Hawaiian JourneyÓ pays that favor forward to other young folks with the same internal struggle of Òwhat am I?Ó in a world that is growing increasingly multicultural. Special advance copies of ÒDannyÕs Hawaiian JourneyÓ will be available to purchase at both concerts.

Besides being a renowned musician, Landeza also teaches sixth grade social studies at St. Joseph Middle School in Fremont, and is a coordinator for the middle schoolÕs Service Projects. One way to fund the Service Projects, which range from feeding those in need, creating care packages for homeless shelters, to providing toys for low-income children, is through the ÒHawaiian Holiday ConcertÓ held at Mission San Jose. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the concert go to these Service Projects, ensuring that future generations of middle schoolers learn the importance of community service.

ÒI got tired of doing cupcake and lemonade sales at school. I figured I could just do a concert and cover all costs,Ó Landeza said. And cover the costs it does; in its second year this December, the Mission San Jose ÒHawaiian Holiday ConcertÓ expects to sell out again, as it did last year. A group of LandezaÕs musician friends will be joining him at the Mission, including popular Hawaiian musicians LT Smooth on slack key guitar, seven time Grammy-nominated producer Chris Lau on bass, as well as a second appearance from Bill Griffin on ukelele and mandolin.

ÒThese concerts are great ways to kick-off the holiday season. Why not do it Hawaiian style?Ó Landeza asked. With such a talented package of performers in such a multicultural mecca as the Bay Area, Santa just may have to learn some hula moves with the rest of us.

Tickets for the library ÒHawaiian Holiday ConcertÓ are $15 in advance and $18 at the door, and can be purchased at the Information Desk at San Leandro Main Library. Tickets for the Mission San Jose concert are $20 and can be purchased at St. Joseph School or through

Hawaiian Holiday Concert
Friday, Dec 6
Doors open 7 p.m., music at 8 p.m.
Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(510) 657-1797
Tickets: $20

Sneak Peek at ÒDannyÕs Hawaiian JourneyÓ
Saturday, Dec 7
2 p.m. Ð 3 p.m.
San Leandro Main Library
300 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro
(510) 577-3986

Hawaiian Holiday Celebration
Saturday, Dec. 7
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
San Leandro Main Library
300 Estudillo Ave., San Leandro
(510) 577-3986
Tickets: $15 advance, $18 at the door, children under 5 free

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