Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, April 13, 2001

From left, Gaylord Holomalia, Malani Bilyeu and
D.J. Pratt play their first gig since tragedy struck
with the death of Mackey Feary.

Kalapana readies
concert and album

By John Berger

Many musical trends have come and gone since Malani Bilyeu, D.J. Pratt, Kirk Thompson and Mackey Feary formed Kalapana in 1973, but the band's many hits have remained beloved island classics even as time was taking its toll on the original quartet.

Bilyeu, Pratt, Gaylord Holomalia and Kenji Sano are the surviving members of the roster that dates back to the mid-'80s. They're currently wrapping up work on a new album. Yes, the fans never get tired hearing the hits off the first two albums, "Kalapana" and "Kalapana II," but Bilyeu, who says he's always hated the phrase "reunion concert," says he and the others have been together as a working band for 20 years, give or take a few, and are looking forward to hitting Japan and the mainland once the new album is out.

"The saga continues, as they say," Bilyeu says cheerfully. He put a solo project on hold to concentrate on Kalapana. "We've gone through everything you can go through so it's gotta be up from here."

The group plays the Waikiki Sheraton tomorrow night.

Michael Paulo, a Kalapana member in the '70s, is flying home for the show. Sano will be on bass. Maui-based Maurice Bega will handle the instrumental and vocal duties of the late Feary, who hanged himself in a prison cell in 1999 after years of drug abuse.

"Maurice used to play with Mackey in the Mackey Feary Band and Nitelife so he and Mackey go way back," Bilyeu explained.

"They were so close that he was like a natural shoe-in. ... If anybody would have the feel Mackey had, Maurice has it. He's very respectful of Mackey --- he tells me he still talks to Mackey when he's driving home from the gig -- and he's carrying the music on, so it's worked out well."

The show will also feature Andy Bumatai and three of the four original members of Summer, the band that was groomed to follow Kalapana as Toppe Ada Shoppe headliners in the '70s. Frank B. Shaner and Randy Hudnall will emcee.

Bilyeu calls Kauai home and plays there at least five days a week when he's not on tour with Kalapana. Pratt and Holomalia live on Oahu. Pratt is a concert sound engineer. Holomalia is a studio engineer/record producer as well as studio manager of TK Disc in Hawaii-Kai. Kalapana recorded the new album at TK Disc.

The album doesn't have a title yet but Holomalia is putting it out on a new label -- Ocean Beat Records.

"TK Disc is starting the label, and Kalapana will be coming out on Ocean Beat Records before we talk to Japan," he said. "Everybody's been so busy that it's been hard to get everybody together to record even though Japan keeps asking for a new Kalapana album, but we've had more freedom because we don't have the usual time constraints or someone else telling us what they want us to do."

Much of the studio's business to date has involved Japan artists such as Tube, which has been coming here to record for years. Holomalia says Ocean Beat will have a local roster.

While Holomalia oversees post-production work on the new Kalapana album Bilyeu is anticipating the concert.

"I believe it's going to be the first major show we've done on Oahu since Mackey (died), and I can't wait to work with Andy and Summer. It's going to be nostalgic for all us."

Together again

On stage: Kalapana, Summer and Andy Bumatai
Date: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow
Place: Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom
Call: 922-4422
Cost: $40, $30 and $20; tickets available at the Sheraton Waikiki, Tower Records-Kahala Mall and Pearl Kai and Tower Video Keeaumoku

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