The Brothers Kaloku and Keawe
The Brothers Kaloku and Keawe, my Profile guests this month, are two of the most talented, up and coming young musicians in the Pacific Northwest area. Most musicians who play Hawaiian music in this area focus on a particular style (reggae/ contemporary/ traditional/ Hula/rock/alternative/etc) or are experts with their instruments of choice or are great singers or perhaps excel at dancing the hula. None, though, can rival the unbelievably diverse talents of The Brothers Kalokuand Keawe. Kaloku won a Hapa Haole Music Vocal contest in Hawaii in 2005. Keawe was the runnerup Kane (male) hula dancer in a 2006 hula contest in Las Vegas. The Brothers won the Kani Le`a (song competition) in the 2007 Mai Kahiki Mai event in Seattle. Then there is the matter of hula dancing (which is very much a part of their music routine). The Brothers come from a lineage of super Hula dancers (Mom Deva Yamashiro’s Halau Kaleinani O ke Kukui, is one of the best Halaus in the Pacific Northwest while their aunty Kumu Hula Vicky Holt Takamine is renowned as one of the Master teachers of Hula in the world). The Brothers dance often for the Kaleinani o ke Kukui Halau. They have also danced as members of Vicky Takamine’s dance troupe on Pan Pacific tours to Pacific Rim countries with the world famous Cazimero Brothers. Nearly every year the Brothers return to Hawaii to enhance their music and dancing abilities through lessons with their Aunty Vicky! Kaloku once traveled as part of a USO troupe to entertain US Military personnel in the Balkans. Keawe is one of the best local area (Oregon/Idaho/Washington) ukulele players I have heard (smooth, clear, innovative picking and strumming)! They have composed several original songs, some of which they recorded on “take me back”, their first CD! The Brothers are planning to release another CD in early or mid-2008! Style wise, their music ranges all the way from songs like “Highway in the Sun” to “Tell Me Baby Girl” to “Waika” to a cute little song they wrote about a car. Then there is the X-Factor: Kaloku and Keawe are really good looking guys who have modeled professionally in years past, including appearing in clothing advertisements for retailers like the giant Fred Meyer Stores chain. Best of all, they are very down to earth, warm and friendly guys who enjoy spreading Aloha through their music and dances!
Who are these guys? Kaloku okamaile o kamehameha nui Holt Jr is older by five years than Keawe nui aumi tsutomu Holt. They were born in Honolulu and spent the early years of their lives in the Kalihi area on Oahu! Their greatest love and respect is for their Mom Deva Yamashiro, who raised them as a single parent, at times working three different jobs to ensure that the boys enjoyed the best lifestyle possible! Deva and the brothers moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1995 where, as teenagers, they started to play music with their uncle Kalei Lam for Polynesian shows in that area. The family then moved to the Vancouver, WA area to be closer to family (and Hawaii). It was there, particularly under the mentorship of Uncle Randy Chang, that their music careers began to take off.
The Brothers are definitely more than musicians. Kaloku played football, baseball and basketball in high school. Keawe also played football and was a wrestling star at Heritage HS in Vancouver, WA where his team won a Washington State 4A High School Wrestling Championship. More recently, the Brothers are into Beach Volleyball where they have won a few times in two man team competitions. Kaloku has taken his athleticism one step further, to Xtreme Fighting (the stuff like you see on TV where two combatants meet and proceed to try to beat the other guy using “mixed Martial Arts” techniques). Kaloku enjoys the challenge and xtreme fighting keeps him in shape! He is a member of the “Fisticuffs Club” of Vancouver, WA which is owned/operated by two guys from Hawaii (Leonard Gabriel and Enson Inouye).
The Brothers Kaloku and Keawe are much more than musicians...they are entertainers and extremely good at it! They have a dual identity.... “Kalakoa” is the name of their five members group (includes Randy Chang, K-Boy and Amery Bernard) but most of their current gigs are simply as The Brothers Kaloku and Keawe! They have recurring weekly gigs at PatrickChang’s Hawaiian Cafe in Vancouver, WA and at Kawika Kahoilua’s BambooHawaiian Grille in Portland, OR.
Mahalo to the Brothers Kaloku and Keawe for perpetuating the mele and hula of our Hawaiian culture.......you guys da Man!!!!
Until next time, be kind to each other..........me ke Aloha pumehana.........Danny