Maunalua Busy With Summer Fests

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - June 03, 2009
Maunalua: Richard, Bobby and Kahi

There are three concert series this month with one common denominator: Maunalua.

Duke’s Waikiki serves up oceanfront dining with some of the best music Hawaii has to offer. In celebration of Father’s Day (June 21), Duke’s is packing in its live entertainment with free “Concerts on the Beach” every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Catch Maunalua each Friday, and enjoy Henry Kapono on Sundays. And Saturday, June 6, the June lineup begins with Kawao, then 30 Toes June 13, Kapena June 20 and Sean Naauao Trio June 27.

Farther west is another Summer Concert Series happening every Saturday in June, July and August. Some longtime musicians and groups will make their way to Pililaau Army Recreation Center’s Sunset Cafe in Waianae.

The free event begins at 7 p.m. Opening the series on June 6 is Melveen Leed.On June 13 is The Genoa Keawe Ohana, June 20 is Kuuipo Kumukahi, and June 27 Maunalua takes the stage.


Heading back east, it’s the Wildest Show in Town summer series at the Honolulu Zoo every Wednesday, with gates opening at 4:35 p.m. Headed by ukulele master

Roy Sakuma, this annual event will feature weekly entertainment, ukulele giveaways and admission to the zoo.

“Kamaka, KoAloha, Kanilea, Pono, Bugs Gear and Kala have all donated ukuleles to the events,” says Sakuma. “Each week an adult will go home with one of these fine ukuleles. In addition, Kala is donating 10 keiki ukuleles, so each week a child will also go home with an ukulele.”

And check out this lineup: June 10 Simplicity, June 17 Maunalua, June 24 John Cruz, July 1 Roy Sakuma and Friends, July 8 The Hot Club of Hulaville, July 15 Manoa DNA, July 22 TBA, July 29 Jake Shimabukuro,Aug. 5 Nathalie Ai Kamauu, and Aug. 12 Jimmy Borges and His All Star Band.

It seems evident by just these gigs alone that Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning group Maunalua has been weathering the economic downturn quite well. Bobby Moderow, the group’s lead vocalist, credits the hard work they’ve put in and the importance they’ve placed on their fans.

“We’ve really been blessed in still being so busy,” he says. “We’re doing well because of our support group, our fans.”

And the group didn’t even skip a beat when long-time group member Bruce Spencer parted ways to pursue personal interests.

Richard Gideon has stepped in to join Moderow and Kahi Kaonohi to complete the trio. Gideon contributes ukulele, rhythm guitar, lead and background vocals.

Moderow says the 26-year-old has gelled with the group better than he could have ever expected, adding that “the energy, the sound and the harmonies really work, and beyond that he has really captivated the standard that we hold as a band.”

With an energized new feel, Maunalua is pushing forward with more gigs and perhaps another album.

They’re performing June 4 and 10 at Chai’s Island Bistro, presenting the award for Group of the Year at this year’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (June 9), and later this year they’ll be part of a new music series at Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s Monarch Room. Every Thursday, two cocktail shows are scheduled at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Maunalua is the featured group for September and October.

“It’s all about getting people excited about Hawaiian music,” adds Moderow.

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