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Alehandro ‘Ale’ Arao honored at Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival

By Staff | Sep 5, 2019

Alehandro “Ale” Arao (front) was honored as the 2019 Legacy Awardee at the recent Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival.

LAHAINA – Surrounded by longtime friends after his performance with the Lahaina-Honolua Senior Citizens Club at the annual Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival, musician Alehandro “Ale” Arao was honored by ‘ohana Farden for his contributions to music and named the festival’s 2019 Legacy Awardee.

Hailama Farden, family historian and emcee for the event, shared, “Without the song, there can be no hula. Uncle was a longtime musician for Aunty Emma. We are blessed to have him with us 98.5 years young and still going.”

Arao was born March 10, 1930 in Wailuku. His parents, Anacita Rojas and Teodolpho Arao, immigrated from the Philippines.

The family – brothers Eustacio Hubin and Teodolpho Arao, and younger sister Alphonsa Arao (married Alfred Lopez) – moved to Lanai. Ale attended Lanai Elementary & High School.

During the summers, he worked in the pineapple fields. During his free time, he enjoyed playing the guitar.

He joined the Army and became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Upon completion of his military stint, he returned to Lanai and later moved to Maui.

Ale played music with various groups and joined the Emma Sharpe Hula Troupe until Aunty Emma retired. Ale continued playing music for dinner cruises with two fellow musicians.

Ale now plays music with the Lahaina-Honolua Senior Citizens Club. The senior group entertains the cruise ship passengers as they arrive at Lahaina Harbor, entertains clients in Kahului and Wailuku at Hale Makua, and performs at various events at Banyan Tree Park.

Ale also plays impromptu music when he “hangs around” his close friends.

Ale has been married for 51 years and has four children, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.