Hawaiian Pidgin English stories

If you're a local living on one of the Hawaiian Islands, you know how to speak "Pidgin English." And if you're living in Southern Oregon, you can get a humorous earful of the colorful language when comedian, writer and storyteller Kamaka Brown presents an evening of his vignettes about the islands. Brown will read his short stories accompanied by Ashland guitarist Joseph Thompson, who has written original music for the show in the slack-key style that is an island signature.

The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, at the Paschal Winery Tasting Room, 1122 Suncrest Road, Talent.

The show is called "If Can, Can. If No Can. No Can!" and it features colorful glimpses of life in pre-statehood Hawaii and on the "Big Island" of California. Brown was born and raised in Hawaii and now lives in Southern California. His shows are a two-hour "back porch," hang-loose journey filled with stories, humor, memories and music.

Academically known as Hawaiian Creole English, Pidgin English is a mix of the languages of the many ethnic groups that came to the islands to work in the fields. At first frowned upon by the King's English purists, Pidgin English is now a recognized form of communication in Hawaii. What some call Hawaiian Ebonics.

Brown also is a motivational speaker and entertainer. He has appeared in clubs and on stages in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Hollywood and the Pacific Northwest. He has opened for Chuck Berry, B.B. King and the Temptations during their Hawaii performances. Brown also opened for legendary Hawaiian entertainer: Makaha Sons, Cyril Pahinui, Dennis Pavao, Hookena, Henry Kapono, Cecilio Rodrigues, Willy K and Hapa. He opened for Hawaii's godfather of Polynesian hip-hop, Fiji, in Las Vegas; jazz fusion group Hiroshima, Hawaii's Sudden Rush, reggae group Big Mountain and more.

Brown has performed at Pasadena's Ice House, North Hollywood's Ha Ha Café, Hollywood's Comedy Store and corporate and private events in Southern California, Washington and Oregon. He recently performed at the Tropicana, Fremont and California hotels in Las Vegas.

He has appeared on TV in Hawaii with "Hot Hawaiian Nights Showcase," "NightTime" with Andy Bumatai, at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, Hawaiian Waikiki Beach Hotel, Boomer's Night Club, Bo Irvine's Comedy Club, Sharky's Comedy Club, Mark's Garage Comedy and Brew Moon. He is a repeat guest on Hawaii's "Perry and Price Show."

Brown produces and hosts "Random Acts of Comedy," an open mic, stand-up comedy show in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He also produces his own "Comedy Luau" shows several times a year featuring a rich ethnic cast of comics. He has released a comedy CD "Touching Brains — Comedy for the Lolo Impaired."

For the next few months, Brown will be touring the Pacific Northwest with shows in Monterey, Calif., Beaverton, and Federal Way, Wash., as well as Southern California. The Pacific Northwest shows will feature Oregon native and classical guitarist Thompson.

Inspired by a recording of Andres Segovia, Thompson turned to the study of classical guitar. His first lessons in classical guitar and music composition were from the music director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Bernard Wendt, in 1968, in Ashland. Based in Ashland since 1975, Thompson has pursued his music career as a performer, teacher, arranger and composer. He has performed many solo recitals and toured in the Pacific Northwest.

"I am so pleased that my friend Joe has accepted the invitation to play for these Pacific Northwest shows," Brown said in a press release. "Joe loves the islands and when he heard slack-key guitar music he was fascinated by it. He has composed his own take on slack-key-influenced music especially for the show."

Tickets are $20. Call 535-7957.

Share This Story