Artspeak Radio with David Tonga, Flare Tha Rebel, and Kelsey Aicher

Artspeak Radio, Wednesday, November 10, 2021, noon – 1pm CST, 90.1fm KKFI Kansas City Community Radio, streaming live audio
Producer/host Maria Vasquez Boyd talks with Flare Tha Rebel, David Tonga with Leah and Katalina, and Kelsey Aicher.

Flare Tha Rebel (JEFF SHAFER) & BOB PULLIAM share tracks from their EP, THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE HASHTAGGED, released July 9, 2021. Inspired by Gil Scott-Heron’s 1971 single, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, Lyricist Flare Tha Rebel and beat producer Bob Pulliam take on a slew of social issues on their 4-track EP release: police brutality on “P.O.P. Off”, quotes from revolutionaries and civil right activities on “Different Ships,” and the United States tragic apathy towards gun violence for the track “Child’s Play” featuring Bob’s dad, KC Jazz musician and teacher Joe Miquelon. As part of Flare Tha Rebel’s, Art to Empower initiative, merchandise was designed by muralist Sike Style to raise funds and awareness for BLOC (Brothers Liberating our Communities). Info at:
The Revolution Will Not Be Hashtagged EP is available for streaming on Spotify, Tidal, and SoundCloud.

DAVID TONGA (Leah & Catalina)-My name is David Tonga. To my students, I am Kumu Kawika.
Kumu is a title given to those that have earned the title from their Kumu. Kumu translates to “source,” in the Hawaiian language. Source refers to the beginnings of knowledge, so indirectly translates to teacher.
My hula schoolʻs name is [Hālau Makana O Hula School of Polynesian Arts], erected in 2008, break since 2012. HMOH was based out of Independence, Missouri, started with renting studio space from The Point Dance Studio in Blue Springs, then over to Kimʻs Dance Company in Independence. The year after, we went from teaching one family to about 75 students.
The mission of the school is to preserve and perpetuate the Polynesian cultures, namely the Hawaiian system & protocols.
- Offered classes:
Basic – advanced hula (ancient & modern)
Basic – advanced hoʻopaʻa (chanting & drum beating)
Basic ukulele – music playing & chord structures & fingering
Basic siva ahi (Samoan fire knife)
— Maori Haka & protocol
— Singing & chanting
Lei & adornment making/crafting
Basic Hawaiian language & pronunciation
I started with being “named” Kumu (in my own right) by my sister whom was my first source to cultural arts. She was not a Kumu hula, however she was my source, so I respect & regard her as one of my Kumu. As my class grew, I researched out and found that my first cousin has earned his Kumu Hula status. So I invited him to come and give us a hula workshop. From there, he covered, taught, & grounded me culturally correct under his lineage of hula protocols. I earned my Kumu hula status in about 5 years of deep studies & constant connection with my Kumu – Kumu Hula Kealohamele Kalawa.
My hula lineage:
- Myself – Kumu Hula Kawika
- Kumu Hula Kealohamele Kalawa
- Kumu Hula Lindarnell “Chicadie” Kalawa
- Kumu Hula Kauʻi Brandt
- Kumu Hula Pansy Stagner
- Kahu Iolani Luahine (High priestess of Hula kāhiko ʻancientʻ)
- Kumu Hula Keahi Luahine – one of the Royal Dancers of King Kawika Laʻamea Kalākaua

And many other branches & extensions of other sources.
We took a break from teaching because we (my family) had to practice what we taught our students – “hoʻokahi kou ʻōhana.” Your family is first. Teaching & upholding the Hawaiian traditions to so many took a toll on our family, especially after adopting a sibling group of 3 with mental/emotional/neurological issues. Since the demand has been high to learn, my niece Catalina has taken on this responsibility, slowly working toward her Kumu Hula status. She takes on the family entertainment business, started by my parents in the late 60ʻs and over the evolvement of time, developed into what it is today. She is in the mere beginnings of teaching, and plans to have her first recital next month.

KELSEY AICHER, Artistic Director of KC Aerial Arts(Kansas City Aerial Arts’ professional performance company) presents n0rmal, a new creation by writer and director Kelsey Aicher (winner of “Best Show” KC Fringe Fest 2018 and 2019). n0rmal explores the dark reality of common mental disorders and risk factors that lead to suicide, while incorporating pop music and mesmerizing circus arts, in an effort to talk about this silent epidemic. By initiating the conversation through an entertaining presentation, n0rmal aims to make talking about mental illness, well, normal.
Originating from Aicher’s own struggles with depression and self-harm, n0rmal has grown to include the lived experiences of her fellow performers. From substance use disorder to dealing with the loss of a friend to complete suicide, n0rmal weaves individual stories into a tapestry of national mental illness. In the show, aerialists fight their way through anxiety, acrobats succumb to self-hatred, and dancers pretend as though nothing is wrong. An artist’s movement can serve as a distraction or it can be the means to communicate. The performers of n0rmal choose to communicate in hope that it will make finding the courage to say, “I am not okay,” a little easier.
Trigger/Content Warning: While this show contains no props or life-like portrayals of harm, the presented content may be disturbing to certain audience members. Subjects represented include mental illness, substance use disorder, self-harm, suicide, gun violence, and death. Audience members will be permitted to leave during the show should they feel uncomfortable. Mental health comes first.
nOrmal” Nov. 18- 21st at Union Station’s City Stage, 30 W. Pershing Rd., KCMO.
Thursday November 18 at 7pm
Friday November 19 at 7pm
Saturday November 20 at 7pm
Sunday November 21 at 2pm
Tickets are available at or call 913.271.6918


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