The New Home Of Local Music

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - March 25, 2009
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When Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach opened last Wednesday evening with Cyril Pahinui and a host of entertainers gathered around a small stage built specially for them, Roy Cordeiro’s dream of seeing kanikapila move from the back yards of Waimanalo to the shores of Waikiki was finally realized. Cordeiro is sales and marketing director at Outrigger Reef on The Beach, and his vision of making Hawaiian music part of the sound-track of Waikiki has long been in the making.

“I grew up with these musicians,” he says, sitting at Kani Ka Pila’s shiny new bar a few days before the opening. “My grandfather played music and my dad played, and I had four uncles who played, and every Sunday we’d go down to my grandfather’s home and we’d listen to them all play music. It was really a special time.”

Cordeiro might now have the chance to relive his childhood as a lineup of celebrated Hawaiian musicians looks ready to make Kani Ka Pila Grille the hottest live music spot in town.


“When we came up with the concept,” Cordeiro says, “we wanted to create a casual atmosphere where locals and tourists could come and listen to this wonderful music together. “

Cordeiro believes there’s a great opportunity to share Hawaii’s unique lifestyle through the industry in which he works. “I was lucky enough to be born here,” he says, “and I believe that those of us who live here have a responsibility to educate our guests about Hawaiian culture. Not just hula, but the music and, most importantly, the lifestyle. I think you can do that by making sure people have a memorable trip to Hawaii.”

When Outrigger first approached Cyril Pahinui with the idea of a regular Wednesday night Waikiki gig, they say the award-winning kiho’alu master was thrilled.

“There’s so much history with the Pahinui family,” says Cordeiro. “We wanted to give Cyril and Martin and all these other great musicians a home in Waikiki.”

So the legendary slack-key artist from one of the Islands’most-renowned musical families will play weekly on Wednesdays. The stellar weekly lineup also includes the talents of Martin Pahinui, Kawika Kahiapo, Brother Noland and Weldon Kekauoha. Keeping the multi-generational musical theme alive, Manoa DNA and Kimo and Kamuela Kahoano will play weekly too.

A rotating Sunday gig in partnership with Mountain Apple Company will ensure exposure for up-and-coming musicians - the perpetuation of a Hawaiian legacy, if you like. Cordeiro is a little too modest to put it in such terms.

Kani Ka Pila Grille is open daily from 11 a.m. serving a Pacific Rim-influenced casual menu of dishes such as ahi poke, seared ahi nachos, sandwiches, salads and sashimi. With bar seating, tables by the pool and music from 5:30 to 8:30 each evening, it should-n’t take long for Kani Ka Pila to prove that the soul of Hawaiian music now lies in the heart of Waikiki.

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