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First-ever Hana Hou Festival to benefit Maui fire victims

Jake Shimabukuro playing the ukuele.
Parker Miles Blohm
Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro performs a pre-show session for KNKX at the Moore Theatre in Seattle during his 2022 "Christmas in Hawaii" tour.

At KNKX and Jazz24, we often tout the benefits of witnessing live jazz. Add a worthy cause to the occasion, and the event becomes an even more appealing proposition. While most people reading this story won’t be able to travel to Honolulu this weekend for the ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro’s inaugural Hana Hou Festival, you can experience it the next best way – via livestream, while helping people in dire need. Proceeds from the performances on both September 8 and September 9 will be directed to the Hawai'i Community Foundation’s “Maui Strong Fund.”

Shimabukuro was quick to respond after wildfires devastated Maui on August 8, killing over a hundred people and leaving hundreds more unaccounted for. A week after the catastrophe, Shimabukuro did a benefit concert at the Blue Note in Honolulu. Now, his own festival has pivoted, becoming an unforeseen fundraising event.

Shimabukuro has attended a lot of premier music festivals over the years, and he’s performed at just as many. His desire to organize a marquee event for the residents of his home state has come to fruition with the Hana Hou Festival, offering Hawaiians a diverse lineup of talent to enjoy on stage, while also showcasing the considerable talents Pacific Islanders have contributed to a wide array of musical genres.

The lineup for year one reflects that goal: Jazz will be ably represented by pianist Keiko Matsui, blues and rock by Mick Fleetwood – of Fleetwood Mac fame, and pop by the band Girl Named Tom, which made history in 2021 as the first trio to ever win on TV’s The Voice. The Tongan-American group The Jets, who had a big hit in the mid ‘80s with the song “Crush on You,” are on the bill, as are revered Hawaiian artists Kawika Kahiapo, Raiatea Helm, Brother Noland, Mark Yamanaka, and others. Shimabukuro plans to collaborate with many – if not all – of the musicians throughout the two-day event.

To access the livestream, donate or purchase a ticket at

Carl Pogue fell in love with radio ever since getting a degree in the field over three decades ago. He’s spent his entire working career at commercial and public stations, with stops in Portland, San Diego, as well as NPR’s furthest affiliates on the Micronesian islands of Guam and Saipan.