By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
For the Longakits, music has always been a family affair.
For years, guitarist-vocalist Lloyd Longakit performed with the Tripp Sisters, which includes wife Nalani Tripp Longakit. Among their children, the sister-brother duo of Pomai and Loeka became Hoku award winners. But the entire clan is musical, and everybody takes a turn with an instrument, at the mic, or both at family gatherings.
The ohana has a special Christmas celebration planned on Wednesday at New Hope Hilo, 840 Kupulau Road in Waiakea Uka. The Shops at New Hope will be open from 2 p.m. for Christmas shopping and dinner will be available for a reasonable price prior to the show. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the concert at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, available at New Hope, online at www.newhopehilo.org, or from the Longakit family.
“The music is gonna be a mix, I’d say 80 to 90 percent Christmas music. We’ll do a couple of originals, but we’re gonna tie it in to a Christmasy atmosphere,” Lloyd told the Tribune-Herald. “We’ll be sharing the reason for the season.”
Pomai, one-half of the KWXX-FM morning show with Keala (Kawaauhau), says this “very close-knit family” is “really looking forward to putting on a production.”
“The thing that people don’t know is that it’s not just going to be a concert with song after song after song,” she said. “It’s actually going to be a production. We’re going to be sharing our testimony — myself and my family, Loeka and his family and my mom and dad. It’s funny how they both went through marriages and luckily, they found each other. They had a blended family and raised a total of seven children together. People are not going to just see the Longakits as they usually would, singing, but they’re actually going to get to know us.”
Lloyd noted that the family has actually done a Christmas show before “but Loeka was about three years old at the time, so Pomai was five.” He said the family performed that show both in Hilo and at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu.
Pomai said the show’s repertoire was “decided collectively as a family.”
“We prayed on it; we talked about it,” she said. “We talked about how we, as a family, celebrate Christmas every year and what we do, our family traditions. We get together, we eat, we play, we sing and we watch the kids open up their gifts. And if we’re lucky, we get a gift or two that we get to open up. We chose the songs that we’ve been singing throughout the years together as a family.”
CDs by the various family members will also be available, including the latest, “Huaka‘i” — a retrospective with new versions of family standards including “Come A‘ama Crab,” “The One They Call Hawaii,” “At Manele” and “Waikoloa Sands.”
“’Huaka‘i’ means ‘Journey,’” Lloyd said. “Pomai came up with that title, and we all thought it fit, because we took songs off of just about every CD that we did. And I incorporated two or three songs from my instrumental album, also. Every song is original by the Longakit family. It’s basically our journey.”
Pomai said she hopes to see “somebody do something kind for somebody else this holiday season” — including bringing them to the show.
“If you have some extra money, buy somebody a ticket and ask them to come with you because it’s definitely going to be a night you’re not going to regret coming to and being a part of,” she said.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.