Friday - January 25, 2008
The recipe for Kapena:“Take one Hawaiian-Portuguese, add Canadian, select two major portions of Tonga ... set the temperature on HOT till it sizzles ... blend with a dignity and grace of a Polynesian heritage ... cover quietly until the harmonies of ukulele, guitar and bass are too good to be true ...”
What began about 20 years ago as a couple of local braddahs representing Kaimuki High School in the Brown Bags To Stardom contest has matured into a family venture with lead singer Kelly Boy DeLima still holding the reins.
This month, Kapena releases its 20th album, Keys of Love, a compilation of some of the group’s greatest love songs such as Blue Darling, I Cross My Heart and Danny’s Song.
“Kapena has been known as the electrifying Kapena, and we go out and do ho’olaulea and Birthday Bash and people are jumping and screaming, but there is a softer side of Kapena,” says Kelly Boy.“The songs are all digitally restored and remastered, and like our past compilation albums, I like to do something new on it. So we went in the studio and we re-recorded the song Don’t Say Goodbye. Since my daughter Kalena has been performing, a lot of people have been asking when she is going to record, so I kind of wanted to feature her on a Kapena classic tune in a today kind of arrangement.”
With his children now by his side on stage, Kapena has taken on a more family feel, which Kelly Boy says is “definitely a blessing.”
With his eldest son, Kapena, away at college in California, Kelly Boy and his girls, Kalena and Lilo, are the core of their now busy performance schedule with not only Kapena but their family band, DeLima Ohana.
How has your career evolved since you started in the business 22 years ago?
Kelly Boy: I think now in my career, I’ve evolved in the sense that I not only play Island music, but I also play Hawaiian music, contemporary and dance music. Now I play so many different types of music; so that’s pretty much how I’ve evolved over the years. To me,that is where the growth has been. When I first started, it was more falsetto,then we got more into the Island music and that took off.
How many of your gigs are as Kapena and how many are as the DeLima Ohana?
The DeLima Ohana we play during the weekdays at all the Sheraton hotels and the Ala Moana Hotel. On the weekends, we do Duke’s Waikiki as Kapena, we do Gordon Biersch, we do the night club kind of deal, as well as all the convention type of gigs. I would say we’re performing 15 to 18 hours a week.
Do you think that music has evolved into a job more than a passion or hobby for your kids?
Whenever we perform, there’s always people who ask me,“Do they like it?” It is a way of life for us. These kids, they are not doing it to get glory or fame - it’s a way of life. They really do love it. You have to love it to be able to get up there. I can honestly say they love it first, but definitely it’s something that we do as a family. Not only with the working, they are also learning a craft. It just gives them so much self-confidence and pride. They no scared for work, that is one thing I can say about these guys.
As Kapena you do all your hit songs. What’s the song selection for DeLima Ohana?
The DeLima Ohana, we dabble with a lot of the Kapena songs, too. But my daughter, Kalena, she’s an Aunty Genoa and Raiatea Helm fan, so she does all the falsetto stuff.So we just do all kinds.When people see me out there, they do ask for Kapena songs, so we do gotta do those stuff, too.With DeLima Ohana we cover a whole different genre, though. I do a lot of my original stuff that I recorded earlier,and we do a lot of Hawaiian music.
I heard you have an album coming out soon under the DeLima Ohana name.
Yeah, we did a live album. My son Kapena, who is 19 now, he’s going to college to become a recording engineer, he took the whole album. We did the album live over the Christmas break in Waikiki,and my son took it home to mix it and get it all together. So hopefull by summertime it will be ready to go.
How is it different performing with your kids rather than with the original guys of Kapena?
It’s so different because when we started off with Kapena, it was like brotherhood. It was before we had kids and we were (and still are) best friends. The two Tatofi brothers have gone back to Tonga, but when we first started Kapena they always told me that one day they were going to move back because that’s where their roots are. They ultimately worked hard here so they could retire there. Us guys never have much, so to start having success created such a bond. It was like, wow. To have my own kids with me on stage - it’s pretty unexplainable. I can explain one thing: You feel old. I just know that them carrying on and in the band now - I feel I’ve been paid in full.Money can come and go,but your family and the legacy will stay forever.
Public Property, an Iowa-based reggae band with Oahu roots, is coming to the Islands for the month of February for multiple back-to-back performances that will properly introduce them to the local music scene.
Fronted by 1999 Iolani graduate David Bess, Public Property dips into roots reggae, gospel reggae, ska, hip-hop, infused funk and rock. The seven-piece band also includes ‘99 Mid-Pacific graduate Mareva Minerbi, who is one of the group’s two female vocalists.
“I started this band in my senior year in college, so I’ve been at it for a little over four years,” says Bess, who moved to Iowa in 1999 to attend the University of Iowa. “This is the first time touring in Hawaii, and we’re excited because it really gives us an opportunity to introduce our music to Island listeners.”
Performing a mix of all-original songs from their three albums, Public Property has risen quickly in the U.S. reggae and jam scenes and is renowned as one of the top nationally touring reggae acts.
“Every song on every album is an original, so when we perform it’s all originals,” adds Bess. “Maybe you’ll hear one or two covers per set, but that’s rare.”
The performance dates for Oahu are Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 9 p.m. at Boardriders; Thursday, Feb. 7, at 9 p.m. at Breakers Restaurant; Friday, Feb. 8, at the Bob Fest happening at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park; Friday, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m. at Tropics Cafe; Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. at The Loft; Feb. 29 at 9 p.m. at Anna Bananna’s; and Saturday, March 1, at 9 p.m at Boardriders.
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