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Back at the Shell


Kalapana, circa 1979 (top row) Kimo Cornwell, Alvin Fejerang, Malani Bilyeu, Michael Paulo (bottom row) Kirk Thompson, Randy Aloya, D.J. Pratt

Kalapana is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a July 17 concert at the Waikïkï Shell and Cecilio and Kapono signed on as special guests. “This will be the first time the two groups have done a Shell concert together in a long, long time,” event organizer Tom Moffatt says. “There’s still something magical there.”

Kalapana did play with C&K last year at Kapono’s for the duo’s own 30th anniversary. This month’s Shell show is the second half of a friendly barter, an exchange of appearances between two ’70s legends. The two bands have always had a connection. The members of Kalapana were actually hand-picked from other bands by C&K’s management, Kahuku Productions, with Henry Kapono’s help. Kahuku Productions was looking for another breakthrough act like its headliners, and it got one—Kalapana’s first two eponymous albums were smash hits, enough to draw more than 40,000 fans to a 1976 C&K/Kalapana concert at Aloha Stadium.

The two bands played together semi-regularly during the ’70s, as their touring schedules permitted. Original Kalapana group member Malani Bilyeu says, “We would play at the Shell usually once a year, when both groups would be home for the summer. It was always a popular combination.” The early ’80s brought breakups, reunions and line-up changes and an end to the regular Shell concerts, as Henry Kapono, Cecilio Rodriguez and Kalapana pursued their own careers, locally and abroad.

But after all these years, they’re still each other’s biggest fans. Bilyeu says, “When we played with C&K last year, everything kind of came back. Except for the years that have passed, it was just like old times. They’re my idols. I was just there to enjoy them. We just had a little party on the side, listened to C&K.” Henry Kapono says, “We like watching them, too. It’s just about the only chance we get to watch each other play, when we play together.” And after 30 years on-stage, it’s become easier for these musicians to relax and enjoy the reunion. Bilyeu says, “I just want to play good, that’s all—sound the best I can. The night and the moon and the stars will take care of everything else. It’ll be beautiful.”


•Sat., July 17, 7 p.m.
•Waikiki Shell
•With special guest Cecilio and Kapono
•Tickets at Blaisdell Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets, including Times Supermarkets. Charge-by-phone 877-750-4400 and online at ticketmaster.com
•Sun., July 18, 7 p.m.
•Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Castle Theater
•Tickets at MACC Box Office and charge-by-phone: 242-7469
•Fri., July 30, 7 p.m.
•Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall
•Sat., July 31, 7 p.m.
•Hilo Civic Auditorium
•With Special Guest Cecilio and Kapono

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Honolulu Magazine August 2020
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