Lahui o ke uli pao `aha...
People of the Blue Bridge Bash
The Bridge really is blue...and the Bash is simply: "da best Hawaiian style party intown".....lastly, the increasing popularity of the Blue Bridge Bash is amazing! Since the three day (October 3rd-5th) 2008 Blue Bridge Bash, tons of emails have been flying the internet extolling the virtues (fun, food, fellowship and fabulous music) of the BBB! These include emails from some pretty prestigious musicians wanting to know more about the BBB, with insinuations that they might try to drop in at a future BBB. John Koko (Makaha Sons) and Nathan Aweau (HAPA) both sent their congratulations for a "Bash" well done and asked for more information about an event that they were hearing about all the way over in Hawaii!
While the BBB founders would be immensely honored if Hoku award winners like John Koko or Nathan Aweau were to participate in a future BBB, what makes the BBB so unique is the fact that for the past five years, the entire event has never wavered from its original intent, that of providing those attending a genuine, feel like home, Hawaiian backyard kind of party!
Unlike in the cities where populations are more concentrated, lahui a Hawaii (people of Hawaii) in the kua`aina are dispersed hither and yon. The first BBB was created five years ago as a venue where Hawaiian islanders in the Kennewick, Yakima and Idaho areas could gather for a pa`ina. Kennewick was chosen because it was "centrally" located and Aunty Onie Rendall had access to the VFW Hall there. The BBB has since expanded to include guests coming in from California, Hawaii, Oregon and Western Washington. If the BBB grows any larger, they'll have to find another venue as the VFW Hall is bursting at the seams now!
Da Man who is the alaka`i (leader) in organizing and promoting the BBB is Ricky Chang (Yakima, WA) ably assisted by his wife Marilyn! Ricky is an old style Hawaiian who strongly disagrees with being called the leader, insisting that the BBB would not be possible without a whole lot of other people chipping in. Among those he credits as being a critical component is Ed Horie (from Kuliouou Valley on Oahu/a Kalani H.S. grad). Ed and wife Kalena are behind the scenes people, stepping in to make sure that whatever needs doing gets done! A third critical component in getting the first BBB started was Kumu Hula Aunty Onie Rendall (Kennewick, WA)!
The BBB has become a pa`ina primarily for Hawaiian musicians and dancers (and their families). There is Carey Camacho who flies in from the San Francisco, CA area every year. Carey is a master sound technician who is also an extremely gifted guitar/ukulele/bass/steel guitar player! Another key musician is Hank Nawahine who now lives in Fruitland, Idaho. Hank had just flown in from Hawaii to Idaho the night before the 2008 BBB and drove all the way to Kennewick, WA after just a few hours of sleep because he loves the BBB music/musicians. Hank used to entertain at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii and was a band member for Don Ho. Other musicians included Pete Tabali, the Espera Ohana (Ken, Owen and Chad), Kai Uahinui, Grethia Rigsby, Jesse Tinsley (great falsetto) and me. Past guest musicians have included Frances Doo (Portland, OR), Piko Johnson (Boise, ID) and Rich Mansfield (Nampa, ID). The 2008 BBB musicians performed a variety of Hawaiian songs and styles ranging from traditional to contemporary to unbelievable slide guitar/Louisiana Blues style renditions of Hawaiian music by BBB newcomer Pat Brougham who had the audience a-rocking and a-rolling around midnight on Saturday! The BBB is definitely for HARD CORE musicians as the musicians rotate on and off stage for at least ten non-stop hours each day on Fridays and Saturdays before toning down to three or four hours on Sunday!
I have mentioned Aunty Onie Rendall's Hula Halau Kamakahiwaokalani wahine dancers before and they are really good but this time let me single out the kaikamahine (Aunty Onie's keiki wahine dancers) who also are very good and more importantly, are the ones who are the foundation of future BBB's! There are sisters Alli and Dani Littrell, Abby and Annie Beardsley, Trinity Bilow, Kiana Fa`amasili, and four Moon family members (Dakota, Sawyer, Brooke and Emily). I have seen hundreds of young hula dancers and charismatic Emily U`ilani Moon is definitely the best young (she is eleven) dancer I have seen!
Then there are the food guys like Ricky and Sid and Sue Suenishi (Selah, WA) and Wally and Shirley Au (Lana`i folks who now live in the Yakima area) who spend hours preparing foods for the BBB. It's a pot luck affair so everyone brings something and it is always so ono!!! Pinki Culbertson, a retired Flight Attendant from United Airlines drives over from Spokane, WA to help out every year and Hawaiian at heart restaurant owner Doug Fairchild (Selah, WA) contributes his Chef expertise to the BBB.
Mahalo to Ricky Chang, Ed Horie, Aunty Onie Rendall and the Lahui o ke uli pao`aha! Your Blue Bridge Bash has done so much in perpetuating our Hawaiian Culture (our mele and our hula and our Aloha) over the past few years...you guys da Man!!!
Until next time, be kind to each other.........me ke Aloha pumehana.........Danny
Follow these links for photos and stories from past BBBs:
2005, 2006, and 2007
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