Komakakino’s time is now


By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

Although they’re barely into their 20s, the three musicians in the traditional Hawaiian music trio Komakakino have been wowing local audiences for the past few years.

Koma Wana, Namaka DeMello and Kinohi Neves are prepared to take their music to another level with a pair of concerts at the Palace Theater to celebrate the release of their debut CD “‘O Keia Na Manawa Now is the Time … .” The shows are Saturday night and July 13 at 7 p.m. and also feature Halau Ha‘a Kea o Kinohi. Tickets are $20 in advance, $40 at the door. Both concerts will feature different songs. Advance tickets are available by calling 937-8575.

The three are members of the halau from Keaukaha, whose kumu is Neves’ father, Paul Neves. Their group name is a portmanteau of the trio members’ names. They first played together at an ‘uniki, a halau graduation ceremony for Neves’ daughter, Akala, in 2008.

“That was the first time we actually sang together as a group, and then kumu, he liked the way we sound,” DeMello said Wednesday. “So when we went to D.C. our graduating year (2010), he decided he wanted us to play together and it just went from there.”

Although the three are halau brothers, they have the same kind of harmonic vocal chemistry one might associate with blood siblings.

“It came as kind of a shock,” he said.

The CD has eight original compositions and six traditional Hawaiian standards.

“I created about two or three of the songs with help from kumu; all of us just help each other write,” he said.

The title track is an original song about the group’s foray to Minnesota for a church music conference.

“We wrote it because it was the first time we’d been to Minnesota and we wanted everybody to remember what we came there for, to represent Hawaii and make sure we did what we’re supposed to do for our culture,” he said. “The CD has been in the works for about a year now. We just wanted to let everybody know that the Hawaiian culture is still here. We’re not gone yet.”

The CD was recorded at Kala‘i Ontai’s home studio with some kokua from the Kea Foundation. DeMello said the band is looking for a distributor for the CD and that so far, 1,000 have been pressed.

“We’re going to have to get more, I’m pretty sure, because everybody’s been asking us about the CD and want to get it before Saturday,” he said. DeMello added that the music will also be available as a download on iTunes sometime next week.

“I think it sounds really good,” he said. “It’s very well engineered. It’s our first CD, so we’re kind of all overwhelmed by it, but I think we did good for our first CD. It was a good experience.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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