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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 2, 2002

All-star band strung together for Lei Day

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

The nightcap was a thriller: a 13-member all-star band, comprised mostly of Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning singers-musicians, each taking solo turns at the mike, bringing gusto and sizzle to a stunning 15-minute windup to the Brothers Cazimero's milestone 25th-anniversary Lei Day celebration last night at the Waikiki Shell.

Roland, left, and Robert Cazimero celebrated their 25th-anniversary Lei Day concert last night with a bevy of guest artists and hula dancers at the Waikiki Shell.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser


Robert and Roland Cazimero, who have been keeping the May Day tradition alive for a quarter of a century, managed to keep their surprise guest stars under wraps till the waning moments of their longest show ever (pau time, 10:20 p.m.), before an appreciative and adoring crowd (7,400-plus).

As the guests took the stage, shortly before 10 p.m., it was quite obvious: the real party was just beginning: Manu Boyd and Glen Smith, of Ho'okena; Jerry Santos, of Olomana; Ken Makuakane, of Pandanus Club; Keao Costa, of Na Palapalai; Sean Na'auao; Kaipo Hale; Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom; Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, John Koko and Jerome Koko of the Makaha Sons; Henry Kapono; and Tony Conjugacion.

Dubbed the Grandest Man Hawaiian Band (with apologies to the lone woman in the line, Amy), each singer (except Amy) played guitar, 'ukulele or stand-up bass, first engaging in "Home in the Islands," the Kapono composition that has become a signature for the Caz, then a trio of chicken-skin thrillers: "Pauoa Liko Ka Lehua," "Pua Lililehua" and "He'eia," all augmented by hula by the Gentlemen of Na Kamalei and the Ladies of Na Pualei O Likolehua.

Seldom have so many dissimilar voices united in harmony and camaraderie, exemplifying the spirit and essence of May Day, through music and lei, delivering garlands of songs of lingering joy and substance.

Robert waxed eloquently when he said about the congregated talent: "The power of this beauty could win wars."

Throughout the evening, the brothers were assured and expressive, delivering traditional and contemporary Hawaiian souvenirs with minimal banter, snugly combining trademark songs not so much in medleys but stringing them together in a chain of love and aloha.

Thus, it was not uncommon for "Hawaiian Style," with its local lingo and humor, to segue into "Ka Wailele O Nu'uanu," detailing the beauty of waterfalls, or "The Sound of the Sea Surrounds Me" to ease into "Ku'upio I Ka Hee Pue One."

Moments to remember? Plenty. Leina'ala Kalama Heine and her daughters and granddaughters, dusting off "Pua Hone" together, showcasing three generations of artistry.

Robert, the kumu, donning ti leaf skirt and ankle and wrist greenery, to dance "Hole Waimea," proving that old dogs can still pull off old tricks.

Roland's two-decades-only suite of "Pele" tunes, staged in a Hawai'i Theatre concert earlier this year, expanded for the larger Shell stage, still with dramatic wallop, chronicling the tales of Pele, Hi'iaka and Lohiau.

With 30 hula dancers enacting hula kahiko and 'auana, Lei Day 2002 under the Caz banner easily was the city's biggest and best. Yes, there was the requisite singing of "May Day Is Lei Day in Hawai'i, too.

The show moves to Maui tonight — but minus the parade of guest stars.