Star-Bulletin: Gabby’s kanikapila


Gabby Pahinui at his Waimanalo home in 1977.

Aug. 8, 2008 – Growing up with four sisters and five brothers against the base of the Waimanalo mountain ramparts, Cyril Pahinui had a house filled with music. Father Gabby “Pops” Pahinui was already a legendary musician – he’d loosen the strings at night so the kids wouldn’t sneak guitars out of the house to memorize tunings – and weekends around the Pahinui household tended to become one long jam session.

Although Pops has since entered the Great Lounge in the Sky, his musical influence lives in his children and students. The Pahinuis, led by Cyril, are attempting to re-create the magic of the backyard jams this weekend with the Gabby Pahinui Waimanalo Kanikapila, centered around the beach park pavilion that bears his name.

It runs pretty much all day Saturday, but that still might not be enough time to accommodate the dozens of musicians who want to sit in, more than 50 at last count. They include the Pahinui Hawaiian Band, Pali, the Jesse Kalima and Aunty Genoa Keawe Ohana, Jerry Santos, Melveen Leed, Robi Kahakalau, Makana, Ben Kaili and Kanikapila, Palani Vaughn and the King’s Own, the Makaha Sons, Dennis and David Kamakahi, Kaua, Hukipau, the trio of George Kuo, Martin Pahinui and Aaron Mahi, Sonny Lim, David Kahiapo, Dwight Hanohano and Del Beazley, Brother Noland and Friends, Nina Kealiiwahamana, Kuuipo Kumukahi, Pali, Owana Salazar and Bill Kaiwa.

Getting a few words in edgewise will be emcees Skylark Rosetti and Kimo Kahoano.

The Pahinuis are just a little too busy this week to comment, but luckily Cyril Pahinui made a public statement on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Web site.

“With a welcoming pot of beef stew and rice always on the stove, our Waimanalo home became the perfect setting for a rejuvenation of Hawai’i’s musical traditions,” it reads in part. “As Gabby’s fame grew, attendance at the weekend jam sessions mushroomed – sometimes hosting a hundred or more musicians and fans. … It has long been the dream of the Pahinui ‘ohana to acknowledge Waimanalo as a focal point of ki ‘ho’alu (slack key) and Hawaiian music by re-establishing these musical gatherings and their ability to perpetuate, and preserve the uniqueness of Hawai’i’s musical identity. And most importantly to recognize Gabby’s contribution at the building dedicated in honor of him and everything he stood for.”