Wednesday - March 21, 2007
By Kerry Miller | Share


Just like the title of their latest album, Changing, things are changing for the musical duo Keahiwai. Since appearing on MidWeek‘s cover in November 2004, motherhood, a planned Japan tour and keeping up with their “9 to 5” jobs provide quite a busy schedule for Lei Melket (left above) and Mailani Makainai.

In November of 2006, Keahiwai released two albums, a Christmas CD and Changing. The ladies spent a lot of time right up to the holidays traveling around Oahu and to Neighbor Islands to promote their albums and meet fans.

“Our fourth full-length album, Changing, we tried a lot of different stuff. The instrumentation was different. One (song) was really country, one was way more Jawaiian than we’d ever done, one song with Papa T,” says Melket.

This year, a Japan tour is on the schedule for the 27-year-olds. “Keahiwai is planning to go into Japan in the end of May. (We were) there last summer in June,” says Makainai. “We’ll play and enjoy ourselves out there.

“We’re going to be changing managers. It’s an opportunity to change our music, change other things (with the music),” she adds.

Independently of the group, Makainai is working on a new album in collaboration with two other Hawaiian female artists, Jennifer Wright (of Kanalo and also Simple Souls) and Tiki Suan (of Milo Shade).

“We have a video podcast that’s available. You see the process of what goes into making a new album. (We’ve) been having much more response from all over the world,” explains Makainai, who adds that because of the podcasts they’re now booked for a gig in California, and subscribers to the casts continue to increase.

Fans can check out the podcasts at and click on the icon “MightyJTV” to view them. The podcasts are also available on

“Each of us comes from different groups, (we’re) still committed to our original bands. We started doing this a year ago,” Makainai continues.

Outside of music, other things are changing for Makainai. The first-time mom says her 2-year-old daughter, Ha`eha`e Kahana, gives her a feeling that can’t compare to anything else.

“She’s made me a better person; she makes me feel happy. All the things I used to think were cool can’t compare to being a new mom,” she says.

Makainai, a Kahaluu resident, is also a massage therapist and works as a physical therapist aide at a Kailua clinic.

When Melket, a Hawaii Kai resident, is not concentrating on Keahiwai, she works full time at the branch office for the Kumon Math and Reading Center, with its after school program.

- Kerry Miller

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