Oceanic Cable will broadcast “Young Voices: The Stories and Music of Lanai’s and Moloka?i’s Youth.” “Young Voices” is a project coordinated by UH Manoa Outreach College specialist Tim Slaughter and filmed as a documentary by Liquid Planet Studios. Funding for the project was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. The documentary will premiere on Oceanic Cable channel 16, Sunday, November 15 at 8:30 a.m. It will repeat throughout the month of November.

For the last several years, as part of UH Manoa Outreach College’s Statewide Cultural Extension Program, coordinated by specialist Slaughter, three respected artist educators, musician Bailey Matsuda, storyteller Nyla Fujii-Babb, and dancer/choreographer Yukie Shiroma, have been working with students on Lanai and Moloka?i to develop songs and stories from oral histories and the youth’s own contemporary experiences. The narratives span local history to romantic heartbreaks, and make a powerful case for preserving the rural lifestyle of these islands.

The project developed the talent of numerous Lanai and Molokai youth through extensive residency work with Matsuda, Fujii-Babb, and Shiroma. Fujii-Babb and Shiroma worked on Lanai from early 2005 through 2009. Matsuda worked with Molokai youth between 2007 and 2009. As the residencies were developing Slaughter began work on the second stage of the project, a tour of the state with a group of students from each island.

Between Slaughter and the artists, 3 youth were chosen from each island. They were accompanied by their on-island coordinators, John Evans, a Lanai School teacher, and Joshua Adachi, former Moloka?i Youth Center staff. The touring ensemble traveled to the Kailua-Kona Public Library on the Big Island, Kaunoa Senior Center on Maui, and Waiau Elementary School on O?ahu presenting a 45-minute demonstration of the stories and songs that had been developed through the residencies.

The culmination to the entire project was a Honolulu concert at Windward Community College’s Paliku Theatre. For these young singer/songwriters and storytellers the tour and concert was a showcase of their dedicated efforts, new confidence, and budding talent.

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