(Left to right) Bengali Arkangel, Keith Batlin of Guidance Band, Tuff Lion, Jahson Arkangel and Inna Vision’s Koa Lopes were among the musicians who delivered sonic healing and inspiration to Honokōwai’s community-run hub. Cassie Hastu Photography

Chefs and musicians uplift Maui with their gifts

The embrace of true aloha is not simply defined. It is grace in motion, pure love and serene warmth. Food and music are deep expressions of these, and both have provided profound comfort recently.

Chefs and musicians are generous by nature, and give back in the best way: feeding bellies and souls.

Before the reality of the fires set in for most, the Chef Hui HI warriors were connecting resources, collecting donations, preparing locally sourced meals and formulating game plans with the angels at Common Ground Collective and the college’s culinary headquarters. Kitchen all-stars formed like mighty Voltron, uniting forces to ensure the comfort of nourishing food was felt. (Check out Chef Hui’s new Ohana Meals and restaurant gift card programs.)

They welcomed volunteers and teams worked tirelessly to feed everyone possible. Prepping at night, not sleeping — or opting to nap on-site — and serving hubs by day, all while grieving and managing businesses.

Renowned chefs like Kyle Kawakami, Madame Donut, Brian Etheredge, Taylor Ponte and Sheldon Simeon acted swiftly and passionately, as always. It’s inspiring to see revered and resilient chefs like Isaac Bancaco (Pacific‘o) and Lee Anne Wong (Papa‘aina) supporting efforts and caring for their staff. Aprons galore turning into capes.  

Music also heals powerfully, and mele always helps. (Keali‘i Reichel on loop over here.) Maui musicians shared good vibes at shelters, others released empowering songs or created benefit albums. New happy hour gigs for Lāhainā acts were created like at What Ales You. Gigs have become fundraisers, streaming events with celebrities maintain awareness and big shows with big names continue to pop up — all to support Maui families and friends. 

Instead of his golden anniversary for “The Songs of C&K,” Henry Kapono presented a wonderful We Are Friends benefit concert at the MACC with icons, including Robert Cazimero, Kalapana, Brother Noland and Amy Hānaiali‘i, and the next generation of legends like Jake Shimabukuro, Makana, Tavana and Kimié Miner shined their lights. A highlight was rocker Avi Ronen of Lahaina Custom Guitars channeling his best friend, Willie K, and bringing the audience to their feet to show gratitude for Maui’s community. 

A Maui Strong livestream with Ziggy Marley and Lukas Nelson had a chicken-skin moment at a fire station featuring Jerry Pito Javier of MFD and his son, Aiden, sharing a song they wrote for Maui. Sheryl Renee singing to keiki at Honokōwai will release the waterworks, as well.  

The Honokōwai Beach Park hub has become the heart of West Maui. Leaders have created something very special, without any red tape, and have welcomed Hawai‘i favorites like Common Kings, John Cruz and Paula Fuga to provide sonic healing. 

Members of Lahaina Grown howled out their anthem there under the stars, with what looked like the entire town singing, dancing and crying together. So many hopeful moments like this amid uncertainty. 

It’s impossible to thank all of the superheroes honing their powers, but please know you are appreciated. @trishdadishmaui

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  1. In my humble opinion, I think Lila Jones, Mermaid Lila needs a shout-out for her constant collection of funds that provided residence with the items needed the first few weeks, before help arrived!