[ IN MEMORIAM ]
STAR-BULLETIN / 2007
Musicians Genoa Keawe, above, and Raymond Kane, both of whom died last week, personified the spirit of Hawaii.
With a song in their hearts
There are times when the phrase "Lucky Live Hawaii" is more than a vapid feel-good clich. Those of us who had the good fortune to enjoy the music of Genoa Keawe and Raymond Kane when they were performing for island audiences were lucky indeed.
Keawe and Kane shared their music with audiences in many parts of the world, but catching them here, where Keawe might call up someone from the audience and Kane could play informally with fellow musicians and students/fans, was something special.
Longevity, stage presence and talent were three things that made Keawe the foremost female Hawaiian falsetto singer of the second half of the 20th century, and her world-famous arrangement of "'Alika" set her apart from all others, but there was more to her popularity than that. She shared her stage without losing control of it, shared her knowledge with younger entertainers while teaching them the importance of honoring tradition, and helped perpetuate the unique culture of Hawaii by sharing her time with those who wanted to learn. I was fortunate to be one of them.
Raymond Kane also was an important figure in 20th century Hawaiian music for reasons that transcend his skill as a guitarist. Kane was a pioneer in sharing his knowledge with people of all ethnicities. His students included Japanese musician Yuki "Alani" Yamauchi at a time when many Hawaiian musicians refused to share with "outsiders," and "Uncle Bobby" Moderow Jr. of Maunalua.
The musical legacies of Genoa Keawe and Raymond Kane are preserved for future generations in their recordings, but those of us here who were able to hang out with them were really "lucky (to) live Hawaii."
-- John Berger, Star-Bulletin