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Sociology grad takes Hawaiian music to Carnegie Hall

Patrick Landeza

Patrick Landeza

  • January 6, 2012 12:00pm

Hawaiian musician Patrick Landeza, ’97 sociology, will make his Carnegie Hall debut Sunday, Jan. 8 as one of eight artists in the “Listen for Life” non-profit concert – aimed at restoring music as a unifying force for peace throughout the world.

The performance in the 600-seat Zankel Hall will include Yair Dalal, oud; Naser Musa, oud; Faisal Zedan, percussion; Van-Anh Vanessa Vo, Vietnamese percussion; Donna Stoering, piano; Erin Nolan, viola; and Taylor Eigsti, piano.

Landeza was still on a high Friday morning following his Carnegie Hall rehearsal, “This means everything. I always said I wanted to play the Grand Old Opry. Carnegie will do!,” he laughed.

Born and raised in Berkeley, the Hayward resident said that walking into the Carnegie rehearsal was just like walking into the CSUEB student union. There were people from Afghanistan, people from Iran. The diversity he became accustomed to at CSUEB made him feel right at home at Carnegie Hall.

Like many second-generation mainland residents, Landeza got much of his Hawaiian directly from his family. Instead of rebelling against it when he became a teenager, he absorbed as much of his native culture as he could.

At age 15 he was introduced to slack-key guitar by two uncles, Clarence and Francis Ahyee, who played him the recordings of the legendary Raymond Kaleoalohapoinaoleohelemanu Kane. “Uncle Raymond” is often affectionately remembered in the Hawaiian music world as the slack key ambassador for his welcoming approach to teaching and his frequent travel. 

By 19 the Landeza was playing solo openings for Hawaiian artists throughout the Bay Area. Soon he was writing Hawaiian songs, and releasing the first of four CDs.

At 34, he was the youngest recipient of the prestigious Kapalakiko Aloha Spirit award, received the 2010 Hawaii Music Award and the Na Hoku Hanohano nomination, Hawaii’s equivalent to the Grammy Awards.

Landeza left St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland last spring after five years teaching social sciences and working in administration to focus on this performance and on The Institute of Hawaiian Music and Culture that he founded to promote Hawaiian music performers on the mainland.

Sadly, the Carnegie performance will not be recorded. But those not able to travel to New York for the show can catch Landeza with Kenneth Makuakane, LT Smooth and Bill Griffin Feb. 23 at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley.


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