Makaha Sons tune up for Hana Hou
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor
The first surprise: The unveiling of a couple of yet-to-be-recorded tunes, from the Makaha Sons' in-the-works CD of traditional Hawaiian songs, slated for a summer release. "We don't have a title yet, because we haven't hit on the special song that gives us that title," said Jerome Koko, who, with brother John Koko and Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, are members of the trio. Among new song contributors: Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, the veteran kumu hula and composer. And, of course, originals by Moon.
The second surprise: The first-ever composition by the Sons' Jerome Koko, who has done both lyrics and melody with Moon helping to shape the Hawaiian songs.
The first: An appearance by Chinky Mahoe's Halau Hula O Kawaili'ula, no stranger to a Sons show, since they've performed together for years. "But it's the first time Chinky and his halau are doing a show with us at the Hawai'i Theatre," said Koko. "So we're trying to decide which of the Merrie Monarch-winning numbers we should do."
The rest of the show, Koko said, will be familiar stuff the Sons' traditional, contemporary and hapa-haole songs, recycled and re-positioned for the Hana Hou evening characterized by cohesive three-part vocal harmonies performed to sizzling instrumental arrangements.
"It's 2002, we have to move on," Koko said of the Sons' momentum.
In January, it's the Hawai'i Theatre. In February, it's a trek to Alaska with a sprinkling of West Coast appearances.
Koko, the venerable emcee of the Sons' shows, is discovering the challenges of song-writing as he fine-tunes his first venture.
"You write one line, you ask Moon if it's right, and you see how different it is, if you're doing an English song for translation into Hawaiian," he said. "For the best effect, it's wiser to write in Hawaiian."
Brother John was to be a collaborator on the new song, but "he mostly writes in English, so he backed out," said John. "It's no longer a joint effort."