Makaha Bash 3 Live at the Shell
Na Mele Henoheno v1 helu 'ekahi
Na Mele Henoheno v2 helu 'elua
The Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau was one of the most enduring and popular groups in Hawai‘i. Their genesis was in 1974 in Mākaha, which happened after a chance meeting between Jerry Koko and Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole. Israel was barely 15 at the time, and along with Jerry, his brother Skippy, Louis Kauakahi, Abraham Nāhulu, Melvin Amina, and Sam Gray they formed an informal group playing at backyard parties. After their first “public gig,” Nānākuli High School’s May Day Program, the group chose the name Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau, which defined their origins and reflected the Ni‘ihau heritage of the Kamakawiwo‘ole brothers.
The Hawaiian Renaissance was launched a few years earlier, and many young Hawaiians had taken up the banner, learning the language, composing songs in Hawaiian, and applying contemporary rhythms to traditional Hawaiian songs. In 1976 the Hōkūle‘a journeyed to Tahiti increasing awareness and instilling pride in things Hawaiian.
And it was in 1976 that the Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau recorded their first album with producer Bill Murata on Poki Records. No Kristo was followed by Kāhea O Keale in 1977, and Ke‘ala in 1978. The first two albums included many covers of their musical idols the Sons of Hawaii and Gabby Pahinui. It was not until their third album that they began to develop their own identity. But despite the covers and familiar arrangements, there were early signs of originality and skill, both No Kristo and Kāhea O Keale contained new songs written by Louis, Israel, and Skippy.Two other albums followed: the self–titled Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau recorded and released in 1979 and Mahalo Ke Akua released in 1981.
The Mākaha Sons of Niçihau continued to enjoy high visibility on the Hawaiian entertainment stage. Between the years of 1978 through 1981 they performed often at the popular Hank’s Place in Kaimukī at the Ala Moana Hotel opening for comedian Rap Replinger, and at the Ranch House in ‘Āina Haina. At this time they also traveled widely giving concerts on the West Coast and Tahiti in addition to the numerous appearances on the Neighbor Islands.
It was during this time that Israel emerged as the comedian and spokesperson during the performances. He delighted the audience with his lighthearted humor, while Skippy maintained the Hawaiian spirit of the group. Louis, known as “Moon.” had become the group’s primary arranger and proved himself with recreations of several traditional songs giving them that Mākaha Sons’ imprint. The group continued to perform before growing crowds at the Ranch House through the summer of 1982. In the fall of 1982 at the age of 28, leader Skippy Kamakawiwo‘ole died tragically from a massive heart attack. Skippy’s death brought an end of an era for the Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau.
But the group persevered, now comprised of Moon, Israel, returning member Jerome Koko, and his younger brother John. Over the next 11 years the Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau recorded four more albums, Puana Hou Me Ke Aloha, Ho‘ōla, Mākaha Bash 3 – Live at the Shell, and Ho‘oluana. The albums garnered numerous Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards including Group of the Year, Hawaiian Album of the Year, and for Ho‘ōla and Ho‘oluana the coveted Album of the Year. These awards of excellence were testaments to the strength of their music.
Throughout their career, from 1976 through 1993 the Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau never wavered in their mission: to promote and perpetuate the music of Hawai‘i.
In 2010 the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts awarded the Mākaha Sons of Ni‘ihau its highest award – the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Artst – Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards:
1985 Puana Hou Me Ke Aloha – Group of the Year, Traditional Hawaiian Album of the Year
1987 Ho‘ōla – Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Traditional Hawaiian Album of the Year
1992 Mākaha Bash 3 – Live at the Shell – Group of the Year, Engineering Award (Jim Linkner and Gaylord Holomalia)
1993 Ho‘oluana – Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Traditional Hawaiian Album of the Year, Engineering Award (Jim Linkner)
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