Album: This Is Bill Kaiwa
CD Id: SLCD-7017
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||Pili Ao Ao
||E Kipimana Kane
||Loa'a Ko Puni Kauaoha
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MDI Distribution, Inc.
Phone: (404) 934-9226
If you are not already familiar with the title artist's strong, natural baritone voice, "This is Bill Kaiwa," will serve as a welcome introduction. But listening to the album will not tell of his Polynesian good looks, his serious commitment to Hawaiian music and its perpetuation, nor will it reveal that the Kaiwa story is not one of overnight success.
For many years, Kaiwa's name and talent have been respected and known to countless Islanders — particularly his peers in the entertainment world. Many a flashy star has come and gone, but Kaiwa's presence on Hawaii's musical scene has been enduring and his singing career has moved steadily upward with each passing year.
Today he is a regular on "Hawaii Calls," the popular radio show that's beamed all over the United States. The Hawaii Visitors Bureau and Hawaiian Airlines often select Bill to sing Hawaii's praises on their travel promotions throughout the world. Because he is a known attraction in his own right, he's frequently picked as fill-in artist when Hawaii's star performers are on leave from their home stages. Whenever a main room entertainer spots Kaiwa in the audience, he's sure to be asked onstage for a guest performance.
An especially moving number on this album is "Nani Kipukai," a song about the Kauai cattle ranch where Kaiwa is a foreman. He sings with deep feeling because he loves the ranch, the island and his work. The song's opening line says, "E never change this land."
The few English words in that selection are about the only non-Hawaiian words you'll hear on this album. And, contrary to popular belief, proper pronunciation of Hawaiian words is not inborn to all native Hawaiians of Bill's generation. Being a perfectionist, Kaiwa obtained the aid and guidance of language expert, Mary Pukui, to make certain his pronunciations are correct.
The album's numbers offer a variety of tempos — ranging from slow waltzes to jaunty, fast tunes. Also, their innovative uses of musical instruments. Vocally, Kaiwa is heard in solo, in duet with bassist Cyrus Green on "Waimanalo," and in harmony on several numbers with Bobby Larrison, ukulele and vibe player; Hiram Olsen, 12-string guitarist; Wayne Reis, uke player; plus bassist Green. Billy Hew Len is a strong instrumental contributor, particularly on "Roselani," where he uses a wooden bar to play on his steel guitar.
"This is Bill Kaiwa" should become an instant favorite of those who love authentic Hawaiian music. It also should provide much listening pleasure to those who appreciate good musicianship. Great concern and care were given to make the album a high-quality production but, because relaxed warmth and conviviality shine through dominantly, the average listener will feel the performances were all effortless. That's as it should be!
The album is dedicated to John T. Waterhouse, faithful friend and benefactor, who recognized Kaiwa's talent years ago. (Scoops Kreger, 1975)
Bill Kaiwa is retired and now lives in Kaneohe. However, he still performs at special events and shows. Born William Kaiwa Ani in Honolulu on February 25, 1934, he is a graduate of McKinley High School. Bill is a tall, handsome Hawaiian with roots deep in Hawaiiana.