From a tale of a monstrous octopus (he‘e) terrorizing the villagers of Wanini (‘Anini) to insightful tunes of his home island and Koke‘e State Park, Nick Castillo runs the gamut of the island’s geography and feelings on his latest album, “In Dreams (Ma Ka Moe Moea).”
He’ll perform most of the tunes off that CD, and be joined by other talented entertainers, as Nick Castillo and Friends, in a fund-raising concert for the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital Charitable Foundation, on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Waimea Theatre.
Rhoda “Makanani” Libre is mistress of ceremonies, Leina‘ala Pavao and her award-winning halau will perform, and a surprise opening act will be another West Kaua‘i natural talent, show organizers said in a press release.
Castillo’s songs cover a wide spectrum of circumstances, with “Ka He‘e Nui O Wanini” recalling at once how his father used to take the family to Wanini (‘Anini) for a day on the beach, when the men would go out and dive for fish, and of a huge, mythical octopus (he‘e) that terrorized the divers and villagers of Wanini.
The idea came to Castillo while he was sitting up in Koke‘e State Park.
Also on “In Dreams” is Castillo’s original song, “Kaua‘i,” speaking of the beauty of his home island and his love for her, from Na Pali to Waimea to Koai‘e, a valley deep in Waimea Canyon.
He also covers “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” by Roberta Flack, “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Blue Hawai‘i, “Mokihana Lullaby,” “Koke‘e,” and other tunes.
While at his home in Waimea Valley, pondering the legal attacks on the Native Hawaiian admission preference at Kamehameha School and other matters, he came to a realization of how precious his island home is.
“Ku‘u Home O Waimea” speaks about the tremendous energy the island has to share, and has shared, with countless residents and visitors, and the need for people to be there for her as well.
The song is not on his latest CD, but likely will be performed this week near the area where it was written. He does make a reference to the attitude in his liner notes on “In Dreams:” “I’d also like to thank the island of Kaua‘i for the inspiration, energy and ability to share this through music.”
All must give back to the island, with love, honor, and respect, he says: “Ho‘i ho‘i kakou me ke aloha, ha ‘ihi, a me ka mahalo,” or, “she has been there for us all this time. It’s about time we do the same.”
Castillo is known not only for his falsetto singing and his song-writing, but for his gift of ha‘i (storytelling).
While writing “Ku‘u Home O Waimea,” at the same time not wishing to be anywhere else in the world or wanting any other kind of lifestyle, a sense of sadness ran through him, and questions about whether the sound of the rain is the island crying, cleansing herself to start anew, or simply providing ua (rain) to water the ‘aina to help the flowers grow, flowed through him.
That conflict comes through in the music, and the words.
Pavao, who trained as a dancer and kumu under the late Lovey Apana, collaborates with many artists.
Many people have come together for this benefit concert, which is considered an early start to the Waimea Town Celebration festivities set for Friday through Sunday.
Dave Walker, Stacy Fernandez, Thomas Nizo, Lyndon Yamane, those at Ho‘ike Kaua‘i Community Television, Inc., Marlene Matutino and Grace with Oceanic Time Warner Cable, members of the board of directors of the KVMH Charitable Foundation and their committees, ‘ohana and friends, Chris Fayé, and others, are all assisting organizers with this event.
Proceeds from the event go to leaders at KVMH for purchase of modern medical equipment and other technologies, and for necessary renovations to the Waimea facility at the West Kauai Medical Center.
There will be pupus and drinks, raffles for prizes, and more. Tickets are available at the door.
Call 652-0616 for more information.