Da KINE Lu’au
In just its fourth year, the KINE Great Hawaiian Lu‘au has earned a reputation as a feel-good event with ono local food and Hawaiian music
By Chad Pata
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From left, Kimo Alana Keaulana, Sean Na‘auao,
Sam Kapu Jr., Brickwood Galuteria, Eddie Kamae and
Palani Vaughan will be involved in the big luau Saturday
On the eve of the 4th Annual Great Hawaiian 105 KINE Lu‘au and Concert both promoters and performers are realizing it has become much more than just a radio station promotion, but rather a perpetuation of a people. “When we first started it, it was a way to celebrate our birthday as a station,” says Robz Yamane, an account specialist for Cox Radio. “But now it has grown into an annual celebration of Hawaiian music.”
The performers seem to agree with the sentiment. Grammy nominated artist Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom is returning to the show again because of its truth to the roots of her people.
“What I really like about the show is that it is all Hawaiian,” says Gilliom, citing many local concerts where she is one of only a handful of entertainers performing Hawaiian music.
This year they are bringing back some legends of the Hawaiian music world like Marlene Sai, Palani Vaughan and, for the first time on stage in many years, Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaii.
Kamae had disappeared from the music scene for several years to pursue a new medium for the preservation of his culture: cinema. But in his absence from the live music scene, he feels the next generation has been doing his people proud.
“Everyone is going to contribute to the culture of the land,” says Kamae, who first began his contributions in the late 1940s. “Their impact will add to the culture and keep it going. It is all part of entertaining the people.”
Despite these humble sentiments, those that know Hawaiian music know the impact he has had on its renaissance.
“Everyone likes to credit Guava Jam (by The Sunday Manoa) with bringing about contemporary Hawaiian music,” says Mike Kelly, general manager of KINE. “But it is amazing what Eddie has accomplished. They were the first ones to perform contemporary jams and started bringing in interesting influences like Big Band jazz to Hawaiian music.” Gilliom echoes Kelly’s sentiments and sees the concert not just as a chance to perform, but as a chance to learn.
“You cannot learn their ways in school, you either have to watch them play or perform with them,” says Gilliom, who will be releasing a new English language album on a major label this fall. “When I get around the legends, I absorb them like a sponge.”
This show is not just about absorbing Hawaiian music, but also enjoying Hawaiian food. The lu‘au is a central part of the event and the fountainhead of its energy.
“The experience on the bottom level is amazing, you really feel a part of the show,” says Yamane, noting that they added 400 more floor seats for this year’s show. “There really is a nice synergy and spontaneity with entertainers in the crowd just jumping on stage.”
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