There’s a bit of a stir, underwater, at “Honu by the Sea.”
That’s the Johnson Enos-produced environmental, family-fantasy musical, that has been produced and performed locally, nationally, and internationally since its 2012 debut.
The ongoing pandemic, when the new normal since 2019 meant shutdowns and stalls, has enabled creator Enos to tweak and expand his undersea clientele via a Honu Mele Series that introduce new tunes and new characters in his underwater world.
Just out: a two-tune single that continues to promote the urgency of respecting the ocean environment where oodles of sea creatures call home.
So the new mele marks the debut of Nalu, and a fresh wave of creativity for the often misunderstood tiger shark, whose animated cartoon identity is displayed on the CD, complete with Polynesian tattoo-type etchings adopted in the culture here: the dorsal fin, again with the trademark tattoo art, is inspired by the sail of a traditional voyaging canoe.
Nalu’s tune, performed by John Cruz, explores the frustration of the shark, moaning that “critters are afraid of me … I’m just misunderstood.” Nalu admits “I like to glide in the ocean, I like to ride a wave or two, my dorsal fin looks scary, and that’s just what I do.”
And that’s why, he laments, “why can’t a guy like me have a best friend?”
The family show’s cast also includes The Three ‘Opihi, Jan, Ken and Pon, whose mele is entitled “Common Sense,” with vocals by Enos, Aaron Sala and Ikaika Blackburn.
The catchy tune is a smart way for kids to learn means and manners about the growing problem of ocean trash that can stifle life undersea.
So as easy as one, two and three, the three ‘opihi’s tune advocates picking up trash, plastic bags, and bottle caps, and “pick it up and put it away,” where trash belongs. “That’s common sense,” the ‘opihi sing, three times, of course.
The recording sessions tapped a host of notable musicians: Benny Chong (ukulele), Jeff Peterson (uke), Ian O’Sullivan (uke), Dean Taba (bass), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Jeff Au Hoy (steel guitar), Dean Taba (bass), Clayton Cameron (bass), Alden Levi (background vocals) and Kainoa Enos (whistle).
More recognizable names were involved in technical aspects of the recording, including David Kauahikaua, Milan Bertosa, Christian Roberts, Travis Ference and Chae Choe.
More character-driven songs are expected, according to Enos, who admits his influence in this ongoing process include his late mentor, Ron Bright, for his unending you-can-do-it belief; his mother, whose conversations triggered the jan-ken-po characters; and the late Don Ho, for his wealth of unexpected wisdom. “I recall a bit about villains from Don Ho,”said, Johnson, imitating Ho’s drawling speaking style. “He said (villains) talk in song … so watch out for barracudas out there.” …
Augie on a roll
Augie Tulba, who also is a Honolulu Council member, launched an impressive roster of shows Thursday night. He’ll do stand-up on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, with admission at the $20 and $10 levels.
His booking is a twofer, meaning he’ll do a twofer on Sept, 17 at the Hawaii Theatre, with shows at 2 and 8 p.m.
He’s posted an impressive and lively series of ads on Facebook, which gives you an idea of how he’s themed certain shows. Take a peek. …
Details are sparse, but sorry to report the deaths of two entertainers. Carlos Barboza, a member of The Aliis, died earlier this month. Randy Abellar, former member of the Society of Seven, died a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, where services and burial were conducted in Las Vegas. …
And that’s Show Biz. …