Commissioned through grants made to Maui Public Art Corps, Pfluke participated in a volunteer access of the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission and consulted with former Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) cultural resources specialist Kapono'ai Molitau to create mele dedicated to its history, culture and sense of place. Prominent in that discussion, which is available at mauipublicart.org/pfluke, Molitau spoke about a collection of known rains of Kaho'olawe, which he created a chant for entitled Mele No Na Makani O Kahoʻolawe. Pfluke wrote Kū Kīaʻi Kanaloa in response to these key experiences.
The June 16 event began with pule offered by Uncle Bill Garcia, who is a member of of Hālau Nā Hanona Kūlike O Piʻilani under Kumu Kapono'ai, as well a member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha and of the Bailey Family at Hale Hō’ikeʻike, also serving as its resident kahuna pule/ kahu for the museum
Through the organizations’ SMALL TOWN * BIG ART program, in partnership with Hale Hō‘ike‘ike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society and the County of Maui, Pfluke met with Sissy Lake-Farm and was connected with traditional slack key guitarist and Hawaiian vocalist Kevin Brown, leader of the popular Maui group Ola Hou, as well as Kumu Kealiʻi Reichel, who was the director of Hale Hō‘ike‘ike at the Bailey House in the early 1990’s. Additionally, he was part of a SMALL TOWN * BIG ART artist huaka'i of the Waihe'e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge with Hawaiʻi Land Trust led by Chief Conservation Officer Scott Fisher, Ph.D. Through these community consultations and experiences, he created original mele celebrating Wailuku.
“I was so humbled and overjoyed to share all new original music ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi for Kahoʻolawe & Wailuku respectively in Kīpuka Square. Mahalo nui to Small Town Big Art, kumu hula Kealiʻi Reichel, kumu hula Kaponoʻai Molitau, kumu Sissy Lake-Farm, Pueo Pata, Uncle Scott Fisher, and Uncle Kevin Brown, for teaching & guiding me with amazing knowledge of Maui and Kahoʻolawe. Mahalo nui kākou a pau.”
Earlier this year, Pfluke’s proposal to create music dedicated to Wailuku and to Kaho'olawe entered project development. The mele performed yesterday included E Ala ma Luna, Kū Kīaʻi Kanaloa, Kuʻu Lei Lokelani, Hoʻōla Kākou, E Ola ʻIao, Free the Wai, Waves, and Kaulana ʻO Haleakalā – each written by the artist, with encore Hawaiian Cowboy, by Sol Bright. The set was written almost exclusively in ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i, and Pfluke was joined by musician Ethan Villanueva for the pop-up performance.
Born and raised on Maui, Anthony has been rooted in Hawaiian music from an early age, forging an original path perpetuating the music of his home. Performing Hawaiian, contemporary, and reggae-influenced music on the piano, ‘ukulele, 12 & 6 string kīho‘alu (slack key guitar), he is continuing his education in Hawaiian Studies at UH Hilo while following music wherever it takes him – which includes many sites throughout the State of Hawai‘i, the west coast, and Japan, playing with some of Hawai‘i’s most iconic musicians, and garnering the following praise from the Henry Kapono Foundation: “this Nā Hōkū Hanohano finalist is a rising star in the islands and definitely one to watch!”