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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Hawai'i artists recruited for 'Give Aloha'

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

Singer/composer Jesse Rivera hopes to rally Hawai'i musicians to join in recording a new song, "Give Aloha," aimed at building a united spirit here.

Give Aloha recording project

Informational meeting: 1-5 p.m. Sept. 23, Robert Louis Stevenson Room, Sheraton Princess Ka'iulani Hotel

Rehearsal: 1 p.m. Sept. 30, Lana'i Room, Sheraton Princess Ka'iulani Hotel

Information: Kymberly Pine, 352-5050

As a firefighter, Jesse Rivera's workaday business is to put out fires. Yet he's trying to start one — or at least to trigger a few sparks — among his entertainment industry peers.

Rivera, who writes and performs music when he's not firefighting, has composed "Give Aloha" with the help of David "Kawika" Kahiapo, Kelly "Boy" DeLima and Kawika Crowley. Now he wants to get Hawai'i singers and musicians fired up about its message of unity and mutual support and involved in a sort of "We Are the World" recording project. ("We Are the World" was the ground-breaking, Grammy-winning 1985 effort launched by Harry Belafonte and producer Ken Kragen to benefit the poor in Africa; it featured everyone from Michael Jackson to Bob Dylan, catapulted to No. 1 faster than any previous record and launched a series of fund-raising mass recording projects.)

"It's all about trying to build up the aloha spirit," said Rivera, who plans to meet with Gov. Ben Cayetano to solicit a proclamation making Nov. 14 "Synergy Hawai'i Day," by which time he plans to have recorded the song with a host of Island names.

"Many artists have signed up," said Rivera, including Melveen Leed, Auntie Genoa Keawe, Gaylord Holomalia, Del Beazley, Jeff Rasmussen, Ilona Irvine, Namahana, Anna Marie Love, Vaihi, Sean Na'auao, Brother Noland, Nohelani Cypriano, Harold Kama Jr. and Lynell Bright and her keiki from the Kamehameha Schools Children's Chorus.

"I think it's a fabulous idea, to bring together the Waikiki performers," said Leed. "We all need to rally and support this effort."

Rivera got the idea while listening to his car radio one day. "I heard this song, 'Chain of Love,' by Clay Walker, and it was a song about what goes around, comes around: You help one another, you help yourself. I thought, what we need here is a day of synergy."

He envisioned a moment in time when TV stations could air a video of the recording session of "Give Aloha," while radio stations simultaneously play the song on Nov. 14. He plans an organizational and informational first-meeting among interested performers Sept. 23.

"Give Aloha" speaks of the island spirit of caring and sharing and calls for unity to make Hawai'i — and the world — a better place.

Rivera, known for "Words Just Don't Come Easy" and his subsequent emotional musical tributes to moms and dads, says TV stations and radio folks are coming aboard, too. He is checking out prospects of getting the Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau involved, too.

"We're also trying to make the song (audio and video) available for the public, with proceeds going to children's charities," said Rivera.