Cidnesy Case, winner of last year’s Annual Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto and Storytelling Contest, performs during the competition. (PHOTO COURTESY OF FOREVER YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHY)
Cidnesy Case, winner of the Annual Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto and Storytelling Contest last year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF FOREVER YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHY)
Cidnesy Case poses with his wife and his trophy after winning the Annual Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto and Storytelling Contest last year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF FOREVER YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHY)
Every culture uses storytelling and music as a way to chronicle their experiences, teach their values and preserve their traditions. Throughout history, communities would gather around the campfire and share stories of the hunt, or gather in the pub for pau hana to talk story and cultivate relationships.
The tradition continues this Saturday, Sept. 7, at the 22nd Annual Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto and Storytelling Contest at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Naupaka Ballroom.
“The purpose of this event is to provide an entertainment opportunity for amateur falsetto singers and a platform for the preservation and perpetuation of a very unique aspect of Hawaii’s music industry,” said chairperson Pua Garmen. “It is designed to increase awareness of island traditions through interpretation and song.”
The competition honors the late Clyde Halema’uma’u “Kindy” Sproat, an acclaimed Hawaiian musician and falsetto singer. Sproat, also known as “Uncle Kindy,” grew up on Hawaii Island where he listened to Hawaiian music and slack key guitar. As an adult he was well-known for his mastery of guitar, ukulele, and falsetto voice, and was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Every song has a story, and Uncle Kindy always stressed the importance of understanding those stories. In 1992, Gene Erger and Gloriann Akau combined their vision and efforts to create the Clyde “Kindy” Sproat Falsetto and Storytelling Contest in his honor.
One of this year’s contestants is Big Island resident Kahua Cagampang.
“I entered the contest for the first time back in 2010,” Cagampang said. “I did a song that was written for my grandmother. My cousin wrote the words to the song and asked me if I would write the music. I learned a lot from my grandparents growing up, and I felt that I had to share their influence. Being of Hawaiian ancestry, I feel it’s my duty to perpetuate the Hawaiian language and culture.”
“Falsetto” is derived from the Italian diminutive, “falso,” meaning “false.” It is a technique used mostly by male singers to produce a sound that is higher than the singer’s usual range.
Many Hawaiian songs feature falsetto, which is referred to as “leo ki’eki’e.” Historical records indicate that falsetto developed in the islands from a combination of influences, including Hawaiian chanting, cowboy yodeling, and early Christian hymns. Falsetto shares similar vocal techniques used in traditional Hawaiian chants called “ha’iha’im,” which most likely made the adoption of falsetto technique an easy sell for the early Hawaiians.
Through storytelling and song, guests of this annual event will enjoy learning about the wisdom of intergenerational Hawaiian culture and the sacred knowledge of the islands.
Cidnesy Case, the winner of last year’s contest, said participating in the contest changed his life.
“I never entered the contest to win, but to sing a song for my mom,” he said. “A lot started for me with this contest. I ran into two of my cousins while I was there that I hadn’t seen in a long time, because I was going down the wrong path. They saw a different side of me and now I have a deeper connection with my family. My life has taken a good turn — I believe it was meant to be. I might not be a star, but I’m now with my family, which is something that I needed. There is magic on this island. The spirit of aloha is alive.”
The Clyde Kindy Sproat Falsetto Contest attracts contestants worldwide, including entries from Japan, California, New Jersey and the neighbor islands.
“Many contestants have launched their solo careers with the help of the Kindy Sproat Falsetto Contest and Hula records and have become Hoku Hanohano Award Winners,” Garmon said. “Over the years through generous sponsors and volunteers the contest has grown and become so successful that the event is in its 22nd year.”
Doors open at 5 p.m., and the program begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $5 with an Hawaii Island Festival Ribbon. Tickets are available at the door, or by calling 345-8575. More information on Hawaii Island Festival events can be found on their website at www.hawaiiislandfestival.org.