Hawaiian Noir

Murder Calls

In previous posts, I lamented that we had not found the good Hawaiian music we had hoped for. One exception was chancing upon Led Ka’apana’s street side performance. Aside from that, we felt that music venues were non-existent or hard to get to. Granted, we didn’t stay long in Waikiki, which has the most music venues, but we had hoped to find some good ones in Kona. Lava Lava Beach Club has a regular schedule, including Henry Kapono, but getting in might require a wait of up to two hours and they put a time limit on your stay. They don’t take reservations, so it is a crapshoot if you can get in for the performance. Huggo’s is similar. We did get into Huggo’s one evening. The performer that night might be up-and-coming, but wasn’t giving his A performance. The entertainment at the luau we attended was actually superior to most luau entertainment, but a luau is a one-off event. So all-in-all, we’ve been disappointed until Tuesday night.

Tuesday, we scored twice. We decided to have dinner at a Japanese noodle/sushi restaurant that looked good. We were not disappointed. The restaurant is small, and, because of covid, operating at 50% capacity, so the wait was long. It was also understaffed because of covid, so service was slow. We understand that and do not hold it against them. We had a hamachi (yellow fin) sushi roll. Mary Fran had the char siu noodle bowl and I had the tan tan noodle bowl. I added a shoyu egg to mine. The noodles were excellent. If you are in Hilo, go to Moms. The long wait and slow service worked in our favor, because we got out later than we intended, just in time to hear a band starting up at Hilo Town Tavern. Had we gtten out earlier, we might have headed directly home without hearing music. We had tried Hilo Town Tavern before, but they had no performers on that night. On this night, however, the performers were a group who call themselves Kanikapila, which means “Let’s play music.”

The group Kanikapila at Hilo Town Tavern, 7/21/21

We had seats almost at the front. As you can see, there was only one table in front of us. The guys in the band gave their names, but I didn’t recognize them. I recognized most of their songs. They did a great job on them. At one point during the performance, they called a young guy up from the audience to join them. He sang some Lena Machado songs. Lena is a long-time performer who was very popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s. She was great at hitting the high registers and this kid was surprising at hitting them too. Then the guys at thee table in front of us left and the server took it a ay to open the dance floor. First the young kid took the floor and did the hula to Hi’ilawe and a couple of other songs.

Solo dancer at Hilo Town Tavern 7/20/21

When he finished, he invited his kumu hula, his dance teacher, to perform. Finally, three aunties in the audience stepped up to perform. It was exactly the kind of spontaneous fun we had been looking for.

Kumu hula, Hilo Town Tavern, 7/20/21
Aunties, Kumu, and the kid, Hilo Town Tavern 7/20/21

They will be performing there again on Friday night and we will be there.

While Mary Fran was getting a pedicure downtown yesterday, I stopped in at the Ukulele and Guitar store on main street (Kamehameha.) I made an appointment for some lessons with the uke instructor at the store.

Hilo has been rainy and, unlike Texas, cool the past two days. The forecast is for more rain and cool temps all week. That’s fine with us. We don’t need to hit the beach everyday. Just looking at the lush vegetation is enough to remind us how lucky we are to be here. The rain seems to be the remnant of tropical storm, now depression, Felicia that is petering out as it nears the islands. Bye, bye Felicia.

Incredible colors in the sky and water just after sunset last night, Hilo, 7/21/21
Maunakea in the distance shrouded in early morning clouds, 7/21/21

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