Junior Kekuewa Jr. - LIVE In Waikiki

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - February 03, 2010
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Little Hokulani joins Junior Kekuewa Jr. on stage to perform a hula number at the show’s opening night

Junior Kekuewa Jr.‘s new variety show Junior - LIVE in Waikiki began with a boy in his bebadeeze (underwear) and a dream.

“I would say that I was a kid who sat in front of the TV every Saturday morning eating my cereal and watching cartoons in my bebadeeze,” says Kekuewa. “And I knew when I saw the duck (Daffy Duck) and the rabbit (Bugs Bunny), with the top hat and the cane and the spotlight, that I wanted to do that. So all these things kinda stuck in my head, and my thinking was always why do one thing when I could do a little bit of everything, so that’s what this show is. It’s a variety show with a little bit of everything.”

In 90 minutes of comedy, singing, dancing, hula, ventriloquism and impressions - Kekuewa delivers.

The Friday night show at Princess Kaiulani’s Ainahau Showroom sold out its first one last month, and word is quickly spreading about the level of talent packed into one local braddah.


“I am so grateful to the local people because the local people put me up on that stage,” says Kekuewa, a Kapaa High School graduate. “I’m so grateful that they even like anything I do. This is a blessing, a real blessing.”

Kekuewa got his start in the entertainment business 10 years ago when he was given a chance by Rory Wild to fill in for Greg Hammer on their radio show. His funny antics, fun-loving personality and his talents as a singer and guitarist opened the door to the opportunity to perform on stage. Baby parties, graduations, weddings - the requests flowed in. And it wasn’t long before he put together the Junior Kekuewa Road Show.

“Two years ago people were telling me that I should use what I learned working with Uncle Don (Ho) and performing, and do the showroom thing,” says Kekuewa. “And we now have a weekly show at the perfect hotel. This is a Hawaiian-style hotel with artifacts, crafts and keeping the old flavor. And you can’t beat the $2 parking.”

The show includes some Frank Sinatra, some Don Ho, a bit of Neil Diamond and some Jose Feliciano. And Kekuewa also showcases his skills on the trumpet, ukulele, guitar and piano.

“This is about good-quality, old-fashioned music,” says Kekuewa. “When I was younger, I was attracted to Alfred Apaka, Don Ho, Kui Lee ... those people. So I put my energies into their music for this show.”

Also joining Kekuewa on stage are Samjam Spencer (understudy), Salaam (drummer), Rolando Sanchez (percussionist) and Wayne Borje (keyboardist).

“What we do is we use a model, I like to call it the Don Ho model,” he says. “I’m not Don Ho and I’m not trying to be Don Ho, but the way that the show works is that you have a certain amount of things always in place and you change up certain things. So our guest artist spot changes, and some of my music changes. The things that will stay the same are the beach boys’ drinking songs like Suck ‘Um Up, Down By The Shack. Those are some of the staples.

“See I’m a happy-go-lucky, beach boy-kinda guy, so this show is not about trying to be all high makamaka or anything like that,” adds Kekuewa. “It’s about having a good time, bringing back memories, sharing the aloha and making new memories.”

Tickets cost $35 general, $19 kamaaina, and right now Kekuewa is offering a $15 special if you mention you read about it in MidWeek. For tickets or more information, visit http://www.jrkjr.com or call 847-2964 ...

Just released: The lineup for the Kokua Festival happening April 23 and 24 at the Waikiki Shell. Jack Johnson will be back sharing the stage with Ziggy Marley, Taj Mahal, Jake Shimabukuro and Anuhea. Tickets go on sale next week Saturday at all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information, visit http://www.kokuafestival.com ...


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