Forthcoming Film Details Lesser-Known Local Music

Aloha Got Soul's Roger Bong

Aloha Got Soul’s Roger Bong

In June 2016, DJ and videographer Roger Bong received an email from Pedro Ramos, a man in Brazil who followed his blog/record label Aloha Got Soul.

It was a common enough occurrence — Bong often gets emails from fans — and the two got to talking about music. They began trading records; Bong gave him some Hawaiian LPs in exchange for Brazilian ones.

By the end of the summer, Ramos pitched an idea to Bong: The two of them should create a music documentary.

Bong, Ramos and their crew currently are working on a documentary centered on, as Bong describes it, “relatively unknown music as well as artists from Hawaii who have trailblazed their own paths in music.”

Interviews so far have included Kit Ebersbach, Maryanne Ito, Nohelani Cypriano, Nicholas Kaleikini, Pauline Wilson, Kirk Thompson, Robin Kimura, Pierre Grill, Ward Yamashita, Mike Lundy, Robert ÆOLUS Myers, Momi Riley, Gary Washburn, Howard Shapiro and more.

Alice Wise performing on the set of the forthcoming Aloha Got Soul documentary  LEIMOMI BONG PHOTOS

Alice Wise performing on the set of the forthcoming Aloha Got Soul documentary

It’s still a work in progress, but they’re hosting a preview event Saturday (Jan. 14) from 7 to 11 p.m. at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club. The night will feature a brief sneak peek of the film, along with two sets of live performances by Maryanne Ito. Plus, there will be a “talk story” forum with a few of the musicians featured in the film.

Bong sees the documentary as “a natural progression” of his work for the last six years with Aloha Got Soul, which focuses on Hawaii’s rare musical finds. It started with a blog, and Bong later expanded the venture into hosting events, and then into a record label.

“The chance to create a documentary film is an extension of my efforts to preserve relatively unknown music from Hawaii and reintroduce it to the world,” Bong explains.

Additional interviews and production are set to continue in coming months, and Bong hopes to release the film by late summer or early fall. Stay tuned for a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project.

“I want to provide people with a better understanding of what Aloha Got Soul is doing,” Bong says. “On a larger scale, I hope it provides people with a greater understanding of the incredible diversity of music in Hawaii — and at an even broader scale, that the aloha spirit is truly what makes Hawaii unique. Without it, we wouldn’t be who we are.”

For more information, visit




The Honolulu Museum of Art’s annual Bollywood Film Festival continues through Jan. 22, with a range of films and events still to come.

The festival, which offers a look at Indian films, is now in its 10th year and continues to be one of the most popular events at the museum’s Doris Duke Theatre.

“People enjoy the unapologetic celebration of drama, romance, spectacle, music and dance, which Bollywood films provide,” says Doris Duke Theatre director Taylour Chang. “The Bollywood experience is unlike any other cinematic experience in its scale, format and aesthetics, and it’s important for people to have access to it and be able enjoy and appreciate it.”

Remaining films include romantic drama Baar Baar Dekho, thriller Te3n and sports flick Sultan. The festival concludes with Bollywood on Stage! at 6 p.m. Jan. 22, featuring live Indian dance performances.

“Bollywood is a force to be reckoned with in world cinema: the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai, it is one of the largest centers of film production in the world,” Chang says. “Ultimately, Bollywood films provide incredibly unique and vibrant cinematic experiences, which we’re proud to continually share with our audiences.”

For more information and to see the full lineup, visit