Hawaii’s Falsetto Poet

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - January 04, 2008
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The 411

Hawaii's Falsetto Poet
Hawaii’s Falsetto Poet

The recently re-released collection of 20 nostalgic songs by falsetto legend Bill Ali’iloa Lincoln offers a glimpse of an admirable musical career that spans more than five decades. Known for both his compositions and his distinctively Hawaiian falsetto voice, Lincoln’s recordings are vintage to the 1930s to the 1970s.

The album, Hawaii’s Falsetto Poet, which released Dec. 21, includes songs such as Ku’u Lei Liliha (1938), My Yellow Ginger (1955), Kawaihae Hula, Moku O Keawe (1946 and 1974), Pua Be Still, Pua Iliahi (1955), Pualeialoha, Poli Anuanu, among other lasting hits. A recipient of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, Lincoln began performing on Oahu in 1935 with Johnny Almeida’s Hawaiians after being discovered by John Kameaaloha Almeida.

Almeida is ranked among the top composers of Hawaiian songs and regarded as Hawai`i’s premier blind musician. He not only launched the career of Lincoln, but also Genoa Keawe, Billy Hew Len and David Keli’i.

Lincoln, revered as one of the pioneers of Hawaiian music, many remember him from The Magic Islanders, where he recorded and performed with musicians/singers Annie Hu, Eddie Pang and Lei Cypriano.

Inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2006, Lincoln’s accomplishments have extended far beyond his passing in September of 1989. He was 78 years old.

Born William Lionel Kalaniali’iloa Lincoln on March 21, 1911 in North Kohala on the Big Island, Lincoln adapted his professional name of Bill Ali’iloa Lincoln upon moving to Oahu to begin his music career.


Tuning In

Molokai Jazz West performing every Friday night at Don Ho's Island Grill
Molokai Jazz West performing every Friday night at Don Ho’s Island Grill

Don Ho’s Island Grill

For dinner tonight, Don Ho’s Island Grill is serving up more than just delicious pupus, entrees and desserts - they’ve got live jazz music reminiscent of yesteryear.

On the bill is Molokai Jazz West, a band that describes its style as “a lot like sitting in your living room with a group of friends for an evening of dinner, entertainment, laughter and fun.”

Molokai Jazz West members are vocalists Dawn Bicoy and Bo Perez; Eric Kutzen on bass, Ron Kaniho on piano/keyboards, Pua Yong on drums/percussion and Rob Stephenson on saxophone. The band, which started out as Ron Kaniho playing solo piano, went through a two-year evolution on Molokai before moving to Oahu recently.

Kaniho, the person responsible in assembling Molokai Jazz West, was also key in forming past groups such as Special Blend, Ghengis and The Shads of Jade. He’s played with the likes of Teddy & Nancy Tanaka, Lou Rawls, Stanley Turrentine, Diana Krall, Dianne Schuur and many others.

Kutzen has been playing professionally for the past 30 years. He has played in bands such as Phase 7, Krush, Honolulu, Tino and the Rhythm Klub, Paradise Sisters, Clyde Pounds ATM and Willie Barton’s Band.

Stephenson, who has been playing the sax since he was 10, has played with many bands in Phoenix, Miami and San Diego. And has even performed with Lou Rawls and Stevie Wonder and his band, Who’s Your Daddy?

Perez gained notoriety playing bass and singing with Bell and James in the 1980s.Since touring the world,he has returned home to Molokai to manage Molokai Ranch Lodge and Beach Village.

Yong performed with bands including, The Entertainers 5, River Street Gang, Ron Miyashiro Band, Straight Life, Ghengis, Natural High and Special Blend.

Bicoy, who is fairly new to the music scene, started her career singing back-up with numerous bands in Oahu.

Happening every Friday, the new Jazz Night pau hana party begins at 5 p.m. and continues until 8. It’s no cover, no minimum. So if it’s just great music that you’re looking for, stop on by. For those who want to fill their tummies,there are yummy choices such as Big Island Kalbi Short Ribs, Akebono Garlic Clams, Molokai Lobster Fried Rice, Sizzling Hawaiian Chopped Steak,Mango Guava Sorbet,Lanai Pineapple Spear and many other local favorites.

For more information about Jazz Night or for reservations, call 528-0807.


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