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Many musical groups are lucky to last 3-6 years but Hawaiian music legends Cecilio and Kapono are celebrating their 36th anniversary with a show called “A Lifetime Party”. It is an apt title for a collaboration that began with an impromptu North Shore jam session and took them to some of the largest stages in the world. C & K still hold the record for largest attendance at the Waikiki shell — 10,000 inside and another 4,000 fans outside. Over the next three decades, they performed with Santana, Loggins & Messina, Boz Scaggs, Frank Zappa, Peter Frampton, Cheech & Chong and others.
Their distinctive style is familiar to three generations of islanders but this was my first experience. C & K are described on the program as “Hawaiian Acoustic Rock” which probably comes close. I would say their vocal harmony feels island grown — relaxed rather than rigid in its execution. One “what if” tour through different styles demonstrated their complete mastery of any musical genre. (The country style was a little jarring but the blues riff actually received audience approval.) When they returned to the classic C & K style, it was finding the groove in the very best sense: right genre, right sound, right attitude — and great venue. The intimate setting of the Royal Hawaiian Monarch Room was a perfect setting for their vocal harmonies. It also allowed them to joke with one another and the audience between songs.
In this engagement, C & K have been performing two shows each Thursday night in November and December. It is a special treat to experience these local musicians back home and at the top of their game. If you are not able to get to a live performance, pick up a recorded version for an experience of island music without steel drums and ukuleles — acoustic rock and vocal harmony with aloha.