Whether they are building musical bridges in Russia, gracing Washington D.C. with aloha and peace quilts, or singing at the Women’s March on Maui, Lei‘ohu Ryder, Marty Dread and Maydeen ‘Iao carry a torch made of aloha. Its light shines brightly beyond musical talent and onto opportunities of global peace in unexpected ways.
"Through ‘Aha Aloha, we invite others to share in what they experience – what they thought they knew and where they are now,” Lei‘ohu said. “Our vision is global. We are global ambassadors of aloha. When Maydeen and I were thinking of who we wanted [for the Ocean of Love concert], Marty was our top choice.”
I remember when I first met Lei‘ohu Ryder,” Marty reflected. “I saw a child get beat up at Iao school. The racial tension was high and it inspired me to write the song, Love Everybody. We ended up recording the song with the children. It gives me ultimate humbleness to be invited into a space about the betterment of humankind, to uplift people into their better selves.”
Born in the Bronx to an interracial couple on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Marty seems to have a karmic contract with his namesake. The throes of racial violence during 1974 made Marty’s mom, Inez, resolute that she didn’t want her children to grow up in a place that was racially tense.
“Marty’s mom was a visionary woman and strong matriarch who believed in peace and justice,” Lei‘ohu added. “She moved to Maui on a whim with four kids, 300 dollars and wheelbarrows of faith.”
After winning a watercolor competition his senior year in high school, Marty was selected to help create a mural painting in Moscow. The intention was to bring the gift of aloha to the children. Standing in the uncomfortable silence before a cold reception of 2,000 Russian students, Marty saw a guitar behind the stage. He began playing Twist and Shout. One song changed the hearts of an entire auditorium.
“The music toppled the language barrier and ideology,” Marty said. “I thought, ‘this is way bigger than painting.’ It was a defining moment in my life.” Marty has been using music to unite hearts in peace and joy ever since.
As their stories carried us all over the world, it became clear – they have an ulterior motive for global change. Many are seeking a way to be in service to help save our planet and humanity. Perhaps the first step is joining in community with the shared vision of aloha.
“It is time for the huli – the shift. It is not about us being gurus; it is about all of us connecting to the taproot of aloha,” Maydeen said.
Aha Aloha, Ocean of Love gatherings have become an offering from Lei‘ohu and Maydeen to awaken a torch in the heart of humanity. You can join Lei‘ohu, Marty and Maydeen to honor the light we all share. This may be the medicine we need to inspire change in our own little worlds, so that together we co-create a new humanity for this planet.