- Jay W. Junker
Hawaiian vocal and instrumental trio. Formed in 1969, Hui Ohana (family group) comprised Ledward Kaapana (b Kalapana, HI, 25 Aug 1948), Nedward “Nicky Boy” Kaapana (b Kalapana, HI, 25 Aug 1948), and Dennis Pavao (b Kalapana, HI, 11 July 1951; d Maui, HI, 18 Jan 2002). They were one of Hawaii’s leading bands in the 1970s, attracting fans of both traditional and popular music. Their popularity extended to other parts of Polynesia, especially Samoa and Tahiti. The trio’s soaring falsetto leads by Dennis Pavao, bright harmonies and prominent slack key guitar by Ledward Kaapana, embodied the spirit of the era, a time when artists were seeking to revive Hawaiian music and perpetuate it in a manner conducive to modern musical contexts.
All three grew up in Kalapana village on Hawai’i’s remote southeast coast. There was no electricity. While there was some radio, Kalapana was a hotbed of homemade music. Parties lasted for days and families were full of excellent musicians, especially the Kaapana clan with slack key master Fred Punahoa and vocalist Tina Kaapana, mother of Ledward and Nedward. Hui Ohana added discreet elements of country and rock to their music. However, most of their style and repertoire came from performing with older family members as typified by “Sweet Lei Mokihana,” “Ku‘u Ipo Onaona,” and “God Bless My Daddy.” They also performed a few newer compositions, such as “Hanalei Moon” and the enormously successful hit “Kona Moon.”...