Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, September 24, 1999

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Sportscaster Robert Kekaula takes time out from
his duties at KITV-4 to wield a mean ukulele.

Fruitful endeavors

For sportscaster Robert
Kekaula, music is a bountiful
'Guava Ding Thing'

Bullet Album has family focus
Bullet 'Hawaiian Man' fine debut

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


ROBERT KEKAULA'S 1994 DEBUT ALBUM seemed intended to capitalize on his popularity as a television personality, but Kekaula approached recording with the same commitment he gave his career as one of Hawaii's best known sportscasters.

Info Box Five years later, he's a veteran composer and recording artist now celebrating the release of his new album, " 'Bout Everyday People;" and the first album on his own A Guava Ding Thing record label, Weldon Kekauoha's solo debut album, "Hawaiian Man."

"I'm more worried about his than I am about mine because I'm fully into it in every which way, but it's more fun. I like the idea of giving someone a chance," Kekaula says.

Kekaula and Danny Kennedy share credit as executive producers of Kekauoha's album. Dave Tucciarone did triple duty as producer, engineer and mixer/master of the album. Kekauoha chose the songs and did the arrangements.

Kekaula now views recording from several perspectives. He's heard from people who had great artistic ideas that didn't make sense financially, like the guy who wanted to do a medley of 10 songs as a single track on a 10 song album. Royalty costs killed that one. He also had to explain to someone that changing a few words to someone else's hit doesn't allow you to claim it as an "original."

Kekaula adds that he will not do low-budget production just to get something out.

"You have to have that commitment to quality. If I have to choose between nickel-and-diming and quality I'll chose quality every time."

Kekaula's next Guava Ding Thing is a reunion album by Leahi -- Loki Obrero Sasil and Malia Rosa Kahahawai.

Kekaula said his own albums will continue to be family projects.

"My daughter's at a point where, when we record, she tells me how she wants to do it. She's totally into it. My 3-year-old son sings along when he hears her on the CD in the car, so I'm working on a song to get him in there on the next one."

And like many people in the business he has a dream: "I want to do an album like that 'Waimanalo Keikis' album with 10 different kids -- every kid does a song. I've got about four of them lined up."


Third album has
family focus


Bullet 'Bout Everyday People:
Robert Kekaula (Paradise - PCD 2070)

By John Berger

Special to the Star-Bulletin


Family is the theme on Robert Kekaula's new album. His daughter Tiera has the lead on a straightforward remake of "Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now," and his sister, Kimberley Kekaula Fernandez, goes solo on "Brand New Book," a poignant account of finding true love after escaping an abusive relationship.

Other originals recall "Gramma's House" and mourn the death of an infant ("Gone So Young").

Kekaula opens strong with "Dance With Me," a tale of meeting and losing a stunning woman in a nightclub. The arrangement combines reggae-lite rhythms with the classic early '60s pop chord changes that have fueled hits by local artists like Sean Na'auao and Baba B. It should already be getting mega-play on Hawaii's "island music" radio stations.

Similar riffs drive "Local Girl (Who Loves You?)," while "Backyard" establishes Kekaula's credentials as a Hawaiian nationalist with a somber account of events since 1893.

"Noe Nani" is a dated bit of local dialect humor. Some may think it's clever but Kekuala's originals are more interesting. And, since a casual back-porch style is his forte, there is little need for the faux string sections added on by his producers.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Dance With Me
Bullet Brand New Book
Bullet Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now
Bullet Backyard
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

No contact info provided.

‘Hawaiian Man’
a fine debut


Bullet Hawaiian Man:
Weldon Kekauoha (A Guava Ding Thing - GDT 1230)

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Weldon Kekauoha's debut album is an excellent calling card. New songs are nicely balanced by Hawaiian standards and the inevitable Top 40 remakes. A nationalist chant is followed by a more sentimental view of the earlier times, then the mood lightens and the tempo accelerates with a crisp and clean version of a kolohe (risque) Hawaiian standard.

Other noteworthy entries follow. "Local Boy" is a tale of contemporary local life set to a catchy reggae-lite rhythm. "Leimomi" adds a beautiful hapa haole number.

A clean reggae-lite take on the Main Ingredient's 1972 hit, "Everybody Plays The Fool," is the more substantial of two pop chart remakes. Song lyrics, English translations, and additional information complete this a perfect introduction to Kekauoha and his music.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Hawaiian Man
Bullet Piukeona
Bullet Local Boy
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

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