Throughout Hawaii in the 1920s and 1930s, one could find orchestras playing Hawaiian Swing and the house would be jumping. Kahulanui borrowed from these influences and performs classic Hawaiian songs in a syncopated style making Hawaiian Swing vibrant and alive in Hawaii today.
Kahulanui (The Big Dance) is an inspiration passed down three generations from Grandfather Robert Kahulanui Naipo, to Dad Rodgers L.L. Naipo Sr., to Grandson and Kahulanui band leader, Lolena Naipo, Jr. Lolena remembers stories of his Grandfather who was a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band during an era when horns and drums were a part of Hawaiian music.
Kahulanui has a core group of four members. The “core four” of the band are Patrick Eskildsen on electric bass, lead guitar and vocals; Duke Tatom on ‘ukulele and vocals; Tim Taylor on drums/percussion and, of course, Lena Naipo on lead vocals and guitar. There is an impressive display of talent from each member during performances, both as individuals and as part of an ensemble.
Kahulanui’s exciting horn section is comprised of Jesse Snyder on tenor sax, Bill Noble on baritone and alto saxophones, Joshua Timmons on trumpet, and Vincent D’Angelo on trombone. On Steel guitar Dwight Tokumoto.
Kahulanui Band Members on Hula Ku’i: Lolena Naipo, Jr. on rhythm guitar, lead vocals, arrangements, harmonies; Patrick Eskildsen on lead guitar, bass, background vocals; Robert Duke Tatom on ukulele, background vocals and Tim Taylor on drums and ipu. Kahulanui Horns and Steel: Jesse Snyder on tenor sax; Duncan Bamsey on alto & baritone sax; Garry Russell on trombone; Andrea Lindborg on trumpet; and Greg Sardinha, Paul Kim, Dwight Tokumoto on steel guitar. Produced at Lava Tracks Recording Studio on Hawaii island by Hawaii’s first Grammy Award-winner, Charles Michael Brotman, for Palm Records.
Hula Ku’i was also a finalist in 2013 for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaii’s version of the Grammy Awards) in three categories: Album of the Year, Group of Year and Most Promising New Artist of the Year.
Reviews of Kahulanui
A contemporary take on vintage…unabashedly playful…
– Professor Amy Kuuleialoha Stillman
“Kahulanui…pure delight.. A Breath of Fresh air!”
– Ke Ola Magazine
Hawaiian Swing at its finest…
– Hawaii Radio icon Skylark Rossetti
“The Band Kahulanui Updates the Musical Bridge Between Hawaii and the Mainland”
– The Wall Street Journal