Updated: September 23, 2023
SMALL TOWN * BIG ART public artist Tanama Colibri led 80 sixth-grade students of ʻĪao Intermediate School this week in a songwriting workshop celebrating the history, culture and sense of place of Wailuku.
Colibri, a Wailuku-based singer, songwriter, author and poet, is of Dominican and Puerto Rican heritage. Her multi-lingual and experimental style encompasses world, pop, spoken word and soul.
Earlier this year, Colibri’s SMALL TOWN * BIG ART proposal to create an original set of new music dedicated to Wailuku stories became the creative placemaking initiative’s next free and public art event, which will be scheduled for May of this year.
In cooperation with Maui Public Art Corps, which supports projects countywide, her performance will additionally include songs about Kahoʻolawe – where she will travel later this week for a four-day volunteer access with the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission.
Working in partnership with Hale Hō‘ike‘ike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society, Maui Public Art Corps and the County of Maui, Colibri will identify ‘Ōlelo No‘eau to root her body of work in a sense of place; participate in community consultations to inspire her music; and lead workshops to generate music and lyrics.
In response to Colibri’s April 17 workshop at ʻĪao Intermediate School, teacher Donelle Sakuma said, “Tanama was able to share how music has impacted her life and inspired her to learn new languages. Students were drawn immediately to her warm personality and positive message. This was a perfect mesh of student and artist collaboration. Magic happened when the kids sang to her and she sang back with her guitar. We are so thankful and excited.”
Colibri will share the resulting 30-minute set of original music inspired by Wailuku and Kahoʻolawe during a one-time-only, outdoor pop-up performance in Wailuku Town in May 2023. Visit https://www.mauipublicart.org/tanama.html for more information as it becomes available.