Write on, Stephen Jones and Barry Flanagan!
In today’s Show Biz column in Island Life, I capsulized comments from musicians Stephen Jones (about his China trek with Raiatea Helm, Jeff Peterson, etc). and Hapa’s Barry Flanagan (about the duo’s Japan escapades).
But due to space considerations, couldn't provide specifics of their impressions of their travels.
Herewith, a few more details...
Notes from Jones:
“I just wanted to touch base with you and share some funny anecdotes from our trip to China. We played at the Shangri-La hotels in Beijing, Fuzhou and Shanghai. All of the concerts were an overwhelming success.
“All of the hotels sold more seats than anticipated (full houses) and are looking forward to having us back again soon. In Beijing we did all of the tourist things like seeing Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, The Great Wall etc. and it was really a lot of fun.
“Upon our arrival at the Fuzhou hotel we were informed that we had an interview with some local TV media. We showered and quickly went to the appointed location to find 300 screaming teenagers in the audience watching three talk show hosts explain who we are. It turns out they were filming a 1 1/2 hour TV show for broadcast sometime soon.
“On stage are huge pictures of all of us on the backdrop. When they introduced us on stage, five kids would stand up waving 4'x4' pictures of us. They brought out a ceremonial tea ceremony, made tea and served us followed by a course of Chinese food. They also had a five-member version of the Chinese 12 Girl group playing a couple of songs, all while stepping a l a Robert Palmer’s girl dancers on ‘Addicted To Love.’ Afterwards we were mobbed liked stars for our autographs and pictures (which we all graciously provided). Needless to say we were quite overwhelmed.
“The next day we went into the showroom and they had 30' posters of us hanging from the ceiling along the walls. You have to see it to believe it. We are looking forward to continuing our Shangri-La hotel presentations in China again soon and are currently looking at several Southeast Asia Shangri-La locations for 2010.”
With this kind of response from the Chinese, there’s a fertile new market for local musicians to explore in the years ahead, particularly with Hainan Airlines’ launch of direct flights to Hawai’i.
Notes from Flanagan:
“Hapa just returned from a triumphant nine-city big-theater tour of Japan, the Rosetta Stone being two sellout concerts at Tokyo’s most prestigious Performing Art Centre, the 2,300 seat Bunkamura Orchard Hall.
“Highlight: Flanagan’s rendition of the Dave Clark Five classic ‘Because’ (slated for Hapa’s next CD release), which had the Japan crowd singing along, while Aweau’s funky new instrumental ‘Nana Gen Bassu’ (‘Seve String Bass’) got the audience going, to open the second set.
“Special guest: Hula performance by Japan Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalanaiakea, led by Suwako Yamasaki sensei, wife of radio personality Billy V), along with Hawaii’s own Aureana Tseu (Miss Hawaii USA 2009), Chantelle Sua and the legendary Jackie Booth.
“These Tokyo shows were the apex of 16 years of concert performances in Japan (by Hapa) and the result of a year’s worth of Skype meetings between our Japan promotional company and my wife Leslie. We feel such gratitude for the incredible resulting experience.
“Aweau quote: ‘Japan is a country that goes all out in their support and love for all creative art forms, and has embraced our new Polynesian songs these last few years. For myself, it’s such a thrill to perform there, especially in such magnificent theaters.’
“Hapa’s encore last for 30 minutes. Flanagan’s new original farewell song in Japanese entitled ‘River of Heaven’ was the crowd-pleaser,with a few hankies pulled out during the refrain, ‘Kimi wo wasurenai, sorezore ga susunda michi ga’ (‘I will remember you, until we meet again...).
“The after-concert party was held backstage for 150 invited guests, who sipped on Umeshu and noshed on Kyoto mochi. Hosted by concert promoter Asahi Shinbun, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, and Hawaii tour sponsors Cheeseburger in Paradise.
“Next up: Hapa and Miss Aloha Hula Malia Petersen return to their Hawaii home, The Kahala Resort, for a special Christmas show Dec. 23, featuring a scenic holiday lighting experience by Robert Harmon.”