Friday, July 26, 2013

Surf's Up!!

Aloha Kakou!!

Well, it's been a rather busy little bit here in Hilo. My Mom had a great visit and left us after a month of wonderful food, drink, music, TCM on the lanai and her fantastic company. A month may seem like a long time to have someone staying but the time just flew by and we were so thankful that she was able to come. She tried some new things, and we found her a regular Tuesday night haunt, which I will talk about now.

This may not look like much, but it is the front of the Hilo Town Tavern, which has become our regular Tuesday night outing. There is inexpensive, very cold beer, friendly locals, and the amazing Kanakapila playing Hawaiian music from 6:30-9:30pm. Or as the band like to say, from about 6:30 to 9:30p...maybe. They are a great group of local musicians, and the ukulele player is an ex-classmate of Leialoha's named Victor Chock. He is an amazing musician, and a heck of a great hang. So, if you are ever in Hilo on a Tuesday night...make an effort to get over won't be sorry.

So on to the title for today's blog...I warn you, it is a little self serving, because I am very excited about sharing a few things with you all. So, you may think I am going to tell you about all the choice waves I have been catching here in Hawai'i Nei, at all the great surf spots, right? Well, I have never really been a beachy person...well, I like going there, just not getting in the water too much. I don't surf, I don't paddleboard, I don't kayak and I don't para-sail. I really have only had one hobby in my life, and that is playing golf. Now, since I do not have any golf clubs here with me, (they were left behind in Florida) I really do not have any sort of a hobby. I do go to the gym every day, but not for's strictly so I can indulge in my favorite local food and not balloon up like I once did. So, what do I do to fill up my time? Well, I practice steel guitar, and work on music. When I am done with that, I take a break, and then start all over again. Now, just because I don't surf doesn't mean I am not fascinated by surf particular the surf culture from the 60's...and most specifically the music of the surf culture. I am a big surf music fan. I think I can trace it back to this man:

This is the fantastic Dick Dale and I can remember seeing him perform in some of those fantastic Beach Blanket Bingo movies. (This also ties in with my love of cheezy films) It was my first exposure to reverb drenched double picking and drums played with a backbeat and heavy on the tom toms. It was a sound that has stuck with me for years. Now since I have concentrated primarily on steel guitar these last few years, I got to thinking what it might sound like to do some of this music on the steel guitar. There are certainly great musicians who have done this before, but I had to try it myself and see how it sounded. So, I present to all of you the beginning stages of a new CD that is going to be called "Surf n Steel". I have done some demos to see how it would go, and I want to share it with all of you.  So please take a few moments to give it a listen.

Walk Don't Run

Surfer Girl

Tear Drop

I am still trying to figure out a few things to translate some guitar techniques to steel guitar, but I think there is some good stuff here. I will keep everyone posted as to the progress of this CD.

We are also about 2/3 of the way through the new Elua CD. We try to record a new one every other year, and this one is going to be a "by request" CD of many songs that our guests have asked us for and that we have worked into our sets in the past few years. It will be all hapa haole, (with one exception)  and the tentative song list is:

I'm Going To Mau'i Tomorrow
Pineapple Princess
Blue Hawaiian Moonlight
Mau'i Waltz
On The Beach At Waikiki
Hapa Haole Hula Medley (This is a medley of songs originally done by the legendary Kahuanu Lake Trio)
Pua Olena
Princess Pupule
Can't Help Falling In Love (this is actually from the movie Blue Hawai'i)
Lahaina Farewell
Ukulele Lady
I'll Remember You

So, that is what takes up my time...someday I will try to actually get up on a board and try some surfing, but for right now, the twangy sound of guitars dripping in reverb will be the closest that I come. So to quote Gone With The Wind, "tomorrow is another day" and tomorrow means ukulele tracks for the new CD and doing steel solos on some of the the songs.  I'll be back soon with some more music to share and some more tales from the Big Island.

A Hui Hou e Malama Pono!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Randomness Of It All...

Aloha Kakou!!

Well, it has certainly been quite a while since I've been writing here on the Eluaworld has been quite an action packed few months, of which I will talk about a little later...but something happened the other day that got me to thinking about something. Let me start with this:

What is this you might ask? Well, this is a rather small, (in the scheme of things) dent that we have in the front of our car. How did it get there? Well, on a drive to Kona, we were heading up the Hamakua Coast when a truck on the other side of the road flung out a flew towards us and what you see is the result. It made a rather loud clunk, and I didn't think much of it, until Leialoha pointed out the damage when we were parked in Kona. Well, it certainly bummed us out, as we have only had the car for a short time, but the more I reflected on it, the more I thought of the seeming randomness with which things occur in our lives. Let's use this rock meets car event as an example.

To start, imagine if we had left the house only five minutes later or five minutes sooner. Chances are we would not have this dent. But, if we had left the house five seconds later then we did that day, the stone may very well have flew up into the windshield, caused much greater damage and possible bodily harm. Of course, you can play this game to the nth degree...what if the truck driver had stopped for gas...what if the load of rocks that he was carrying was not full enough to spill over the sides and let one drop onto the highway...what if, what if, what if. Then I got to thinking about this:

What are the seemingly random events that led Leialoha into my life and me into hers? Well, on my side, there was my Mother deciding to go to nursing school in Boston. It was there that she met my Aunty Bobby, (she was a class ahead of her) who was married to my Uncle Donny who was my father's best friend and they set my parents up. Take that a step farther, and if my father and my Uncle Donny had never met when they were young men...and my father had never taken up piano...well, you can play this game from all sides for the better part of eternity. I guess it is related to the Butterfly Effect...if you have never heard of it, check this out: Butterfly Effect In all of our lives, in every aspect of our life, it seems that we are just one milisecond or one centimeter away from a totally different reality. So, take a few moments, or a few hours, or a few days to think about the randomness in our lives and how wonderful it can make it.

So, in keeping with the seeming randomness of things, let me insert a video here...but not just any will be the first video I can find from the first artist that plays from my iTunes Library when I spin it and goes...and the winner is...The Brothers Cazimero...and here is the first video I find on YouTube when I do a search:

Well...that worked out rather well...I think I may try that again sometime. Try playing that at home as well...could be fun!

So, where have we been all these months? Five months to be exact? Well, we were of course on the Golden Princess for the Hawaiian season, and what a great season it was. So many ukulele players and hula dancers and listeners and lei makers...truly a great season! Right now we are back at home in Hilo. BUT, Leialoha and I had the most wonderful experience as Princess asked us to go to Japan to cruise on the Sun Princess and perform Hawaiian music for the passengers, and to implement a mini-cultural program. The Japanese people are crazy for Hawaiian music, ukulele, hula and the guests on the Sun Princess were wonderful to us. They were especially enamored of the sounds of the steel guitar, as to most, that is the sound they associate with the islands, and I loved playing it for them. Leialoha's hula class was packed every time and they were some very lovely dancers on the cruise. We are hoping to find a way back next summer without interfering with our "regular" season, and also give us some time at home.  so I will keep everyone posted. I am going to try to find some pictures to share with all of you from our time in Japan. It is a beautiful country, with wonderful people and some of the best food we have ever had...MANY pictures of that will be shared!

Now we are home in Hilo and we had a wonderful month long visit from my mother Doris who was in from Boston. We are also expecting our good friend David Cole for a visit as well in September. David is a dear friend of ours who we have worked with numerous times over the years, and between the three of us, we developed the Hawaiian cultural program that Princess has on its Hawaiian itinerary ships. We have been enjoying all that Hilo has to offer...we take drives around the island, we listen to local music, we shop at the Hilo Farmer's Market, and Leialoha and I are diving into baking. But, we also have work to do...lots of work. We are finally going to get our Elua website active, as well as getting Leialoha's going for KiniKreations, her outlet and business for her Hawaiian crafts. The long awaited hula video is in progress as well. I will also be working on another steel guitar CD, as well as another ukulele play-a-long CD. So, as the summer passes, keep checking back for updates and some sneak peeks at the tracks.

So, for today, I will say aloha...but I will return...VERY soon!

Malama Pono,
(of Elua)