I’m often asked if there is a place in the Seattle/Tacoma area which features traditional Hawaiian music on an ongoing, recurring basis and the answer is a BIG positive YES! Mahalo to the Bariquit sisters (Raeleen Smith and Leianna Landon) who own the place, the Pac Island Grill (2012 320th St, Federal Way, WA) features a nice combination of “generationally” mixed Hawaiian music every Friday and Saturday evening.....I stopped there on a recent Saturday eve and got to catch one of my favorite wahine singers (Nona Alo) and her Leo Hawaii group doing the “dinner music” from 5:30 p.m-8:00 p.m. Lots of nice, smooth traditional Hawaiian music mixed with a few Samoan and Tahitian numbers (by Leo Hawaii leader Greg Taufa`asau) It never ceases to amaze me that our Seattle area musicians are so multi- talented. Greg used to dance at the Merrie Monarch event (for Kumu Darrel Lupenui and John Kaimikaua)...and Greg can still dance “majestically” as he demonstrated that evening when he called up one of our area’s upcoming hula stars Hokulani Nellenbach (dances with Aunty Manu Lono’s Halau) and they did a rascally “E Huli Makou”! Hokulani was there with her Mom Kainoa Nellenbach celebrating Hokulani’s 18th birthday....Hauoli la Hanau Hokulani!
At 8:30 p.m. the Pacific Warning group took over center stage and auwe...these guys are “Las Vegas” caliber good.....Hawaiian music done “Big Band Style”....Roddy Lopez, former Hoku award winner still has his awesome voice....Peter Tabali has got to be one of the best Hawaiian bass players in this area (and he sings nice too) and the Castellano brothers (keyboard and lead guitar) are totally great.....Sooo, if you want to enjoy a nice Hawaiian style Friday or Saturday evening, then the Pac Island Grill is the place to go (the place gets packed so call first or go early)! P.S. the Pac Island Grill won a couple of First Prizes for their food at the Taste of Tacoma event so you know the food is ono! Kona Kitchen may have it’s singing waitress (Angela Manke) but Pac Island Grill has it’s “swinging” (hula kine swinging) waitress Tracy Mugsy Lentz (Ewa wahine).
I met Lamont Shadowens, Jr at the Pac Island Grill...Lamont grew up in Kaneohe (Castle HS ’66) and has been flying airplanes for FEDEX for thirty years and is now one of their most senior pilots so he can pretty well choose the routes he has to fly. He had some fascinating stories to tell....he likes flying overseas routes except he doesn’t like flying to South America because there is always so much typhoon and hurricane related air turbulence enroute! Lamont plans to fly for another five years then head back home to Hawaii (probably to the Big Island).
At my favorite Saimin place (Saimin Says on Hiway 99 South) I ran into two folks who totally confirmed my belief that ladies from Hawaii are the most beautiful wahines in the world...everything about Sarah Kam and Blossom Caballero (their voices, their eyes, their smiles, their features, their golden brown skin, even their giggles) is soooo beautiful. Both are Kaneohe gals who now live up here.....actually, some of you may have known Sarah’s parents (Henry and Flo Kam) who ran Niko’s Teriyaki place in the Kent/Covington area for decades; Henry and Flo recently moved back to a Kupuna Retirement place in Waimanalo where they are now neighbors to Ahoi and Billie Simeona (who also just moved back to Hawaii from here)...small world huh? Also at Saimin Says was Brian Faletogo who is planning to open up a “Polynesian Tattoo” business in the near future (call him (206) 465-0403 for more info). Having lunch at Saimin Says was Kim King, whose profession is making sugar free candies for Boehm’s (auwe, that’s pretty ritzy stuff) Kim is signing her youngsters to the Kau Inoa Registry program (mahalo Kim).
As summer approaches, a contact you might want to make is with Carl Sampaga (Farrington ’72) Carl works for Party Outfitters, Inc the folks who can bring to you every possible kine party inflatables (slides, jumpers, etc) plus arcade stuff for your keiki’s birthday party. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Need someone to help you to advertise or help do fundraisers for your halau/wa’a/church/social/etc group (or perhaps your business)? Keanu Tabali is a talented young Hawaiian who is one of the most go/go/go guys I know! Keanu owns KT Business Solutions (206-708-7200) which has access to a multitude of resources (such as imprinting your logo on banners/mugs/key chains/etc) that should help in any advertising/ fundraising efforts....call him!
I’d like to take a moment to wish all good things (improved health, happiness, success) to a young Hawaiian woman who has had more than her share of misfortunes over the past few years. A couple of years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer then her home burned down a few months ago. Life was so chaotic, she even stopped teaching hula (one of her real passions in life)! I am truly glad to announce that Kumu Hula Gina Kaleialoha Mahiai Hess and her family have settled into another house and she is still undergoing treatment for her cancer but feeling a little better with each passing day and... she has decided to start teaching hula again! We wish you well Gina!!!!!
Got to go..........a hui hou e malama pono...............................Danny
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