E KANI MAU 

YEAR

2022

 

INSTRUMENTATION

Concert Band:

2(2.picc)14(4.bs)1/Sax:0211/

34311/timp+perc[3]/hp

 

DURATION

7.5 minutes

 

COMMISSIONED BY

The Royal Hawaiian Band

Clarke Bright, bandmaster

 

FIRST PERFORMANCE

October 14, 2022

Royal Hawaiian Band

Clarke Bright, bandmaster

Hawai'i Theatre

Honolulu, HI, USA

 

PROGRAM NOTE

E Kani Mau (To Resound Forever) tells the saga of the Royal Hawaiian Band's journey to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. This challenging time mirrors Queen Lili'uokalani's endeavor to maintain the monarchy and her Hawaiian kingdom in the smallpox pandemic of 1881. The work was commissioned by the Royal Hawaiian Band, Clarke Bright; bandmaster.

 

When bandmaster Clarke Bright approached me to compose a work about the band's challenges, he asked that the work begins with triumph and victory first, then tell the story of the band finding its voice. Clarke described the pandemic as silencing the "musical voice" of the band. This silence is heard following a celebratory introduction. The ominous drum portents end the festive tone, and solo instruments emerge, playing in isolation. Soon after, a chant appears, an eternal resounding message of guidance from the ancestors, a reminder of the mission; service. This voice becomes the basis of musical meditation, its melody always present and more insistent. It begins to echo in all parts of the band, a jolt that jump-starts the lungs.

 

During the two years of the pandemic, the band transitioned to assisting city initiatives, such as food distribution, surge testing, call center, and vaccination support. They also transitioned to small ensembles and served as musical, healing ambassadors to the Queen's Hospital/Blaisdell Center. Hearing about the band's journey to regain its melodious voice and deployment into small forces felt like a battle, a war on the frontline, and the music reflects this struggle. I was inspired to present this Royal quest to serve the community as an evolution of melody. From a small kernel, a motive, the music gradually transforms into a longer robust and defined theme, a resounding and eternal voice of service, the collective and unified voice of the Royal Hawaiian Band regained.

- Michael-Thomas Foumai