Dru Kekaualua - Pohoiki Blues
Friday - March 30, 2007
Big Island boy Dru Kekaualua is leaving the comforts of the group Kolea and taking a chance on a solo CD, Pohoiki Blues,releasing next week.
It’s a familiar tune for the Kekaualuas, who make up the group Kolea, as his brother Ira Kekaualua Jr. recently released Can’t You See,an album that speaks of the war in Iraq and reflects the hurt and hope of a Big Island soldier who served there.
Kolea became popular with tunes such as Ten Feet Away and Everything That Glitters Isn’t Gold. And although the family group still performs, it’s been about eight years since the release of their last album.
“We (Kolea) are still playing around,” says Kekaualua.“They give me a call and I just make sure I don’t book anything. It’s pretty laid back because all four of us are brothers, and the bass player is our cousin. It’s a family group.”
Kekaualua,who spent about six months recording this album, says that it’s been a challenge both physically and emotionally. And he credits the support of his wife Marlo, daughter Kayshalyn and son Dustyn-Dru for giving him the inspiration to complete it.
“Making this album was a big accomplishment because I had some people doubting that I was going to go through with it,“admits Kekaualua. “Just being focused and just going for what I want is what pretty much made me finish this album. And now I feel better that I did it.”
The accomplishment comes at a great time, as Kekaualua was recently injured and left unable to return to his job at Gaspro.With time to evaluate what to do with his life, Kekaualua says that “everything just pointed to music.”
Kekaualua also spends much of his time volunteering at Kaumana Elementary School , where he teaches the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders to play the ukulele.
Pohoiki Blues has already released at Borders in Hilo and will become available statewide April 3.
If you could open your own store, what would you sell?
Musical stuff, like ukuleles, CDs, equipment for people to play music with. Yeah, that would be something neat.
What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome?
Making this CD.
Composing the songs, sometimes you get frustrated.
In my mind I was just about to give up, but then my wife said ‘You know what, there are some people who do things and some people who only talk - so are you a talker or a you a doer?’ So that kind of pushed me over and I went forward with this album.
What’s the best part about living in Hilo?
The people, they are so ohana, and just having my family and wonderful people around us.
Describe the best birthday party you’ve ever had.
That’s hard because all of them have been pretty good. Well, I had one where I had my own karaoke machine and we just sang all night - until 2 in the morning.
Is there anything you’re addicted to?
To tell you the truth, I’m addicted to all kinds of food. But now because of my back problem I try to eat small portions because I don’t want to pick up weight. You know us local people, we see snacks and we gotta whack um.
Dru with his wife, Marlo, and their children Dustyn-Dru and
What celebrity would you want to spend the day with?
I would love to spend time with Uncle Ledward Kaapana.
What is the most treasured item you own?
Who can always make you laugh?
My kids, man, they can always make me laugh just by certain things that they do. My son is kolohe - we can be at a party and he will just get up and start dancing, and that is so funny.
What TV game show do you think you would be best at?
Wheel of Fortune.
At what age do you think you really became a man?
I would say maybe 18 or 19. I had to get out and work. I remember a nurse when I was in sixth grade telling me ‘boy you better enjoy life now because when you are older you ain’t going to be enjoying life like you are now.’ (laughs) And I always wondered what she meant until I graduated and then it sank in.
What was the hardest job that you’ve ever had?
Picking papayas. That was just before I graduated from high school. That was hard - the hardest job I’ve ever had.
Where would you want to visit that you’ve never been?
To tell you the truth, I haven’t been on the Mainland before. So maybe Vegas or something. Everyone is always talking about it, so I would want to check out over there.
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