Monday January 19, 2008
Traveling from Hana, Maui, one of the most remote towns of the United States, Leokane Pryor joined Washington DC's Aloha Boys Sunday night at a private event hosted by AOL founder Steve Case and his wife Jean in the exclusive Dupont Circle area of Washington DC where the President Elect's sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, her husband Conrad and schoolmates of Barack Obama were serenaded with traditional Hawaiian music by Leokane Pryor and The Aloha Boys of Washington, DC (Isaac Ho'opi'i, Irv Queja & Glen Hirabayashi).
The evening embodied the Aloha spirit of the Islands, providing a touchstone to where the President Elect spent his youth. The event, was attended by 200 guests and included many longtime friends and former classmates of the President Elect. It was a celebration of his tremendous victory, Hawaiian style. Leokane, also a graduate of Punahou, was three years behind The President Elect in school, but remembers "Barry" (as he was known then) as being "a nice guy that everyone liked, with a great smile".
Headlining the entertainment, Leokane and the Aloha boys provided traditional Hawaiian Music along with Hula dancing by Kikilia Fordham Schaefer and Rebecca Ramos (former schoolmates of the President-Elect) and fresh flower Lei shipped in from the islands. Leokane is one of the Mountain Apple Company's newest and brightest musicians. His recently released CD, Home Malanai, has been on Billboard Magazines World Chart and named one of the top five CDs of the year by the Honolulu Advertiser and Hawaii Magazine. Leokane was honored to be invited to perform at the event; "A couple days ago I was sitting on the beach in Hana and wondering if I would really be playing in Washington D.C., and now, here I am in the freezing cold and it really happened! it was a great honor to travel the 52 hairpin turns on the road from Hana, fly 6,000 miles to be a part of this historic event."
Leokane is hopeful that by sharing Hawaiian music during this momentous time in our nation's history, a new interest in Hawaii, its music and its beauty will spread through the country (and world). Michelle Obama is quoted as saying "to understand Barack, you need to understand Hawaii". Like Barack Obama, Leokane's childhood was influenced by the many ethnicities of Hawaii. This unique upbringing allows Leokane to be an ambassador not only for the State of Hawaii and its unique music, but also it's rich cultural values. He is a strong proponent of the environment, working toward preservation of Native Hawaiian plants and animals. Perhaps some of these are the values that Michelle Obama refers to.
Leokane will also be performing with the Aloha Boys at the Hawaii State Society Inaugural Ball this Tuesday, January 20th.