Kinimaka ‘ohana performs to packed house

Members of the Kinimaka ‘ohana, a family that extends from one end of the island to the other, lives a life of music and dance from generation to generation.

Exemplary in their dedication to the perpetuation of the Hawaiian spirit of aloha in all aspects of their lives, many members of this double family showed up to share their aloha with the E Kanikapila Kakou (Let’s Play Music) resident and visitor gang recently, organizers said in a press release.

A record turnout of 325 folks, including 22 talents plus family members, made the evening like a mini-version of the actual four-day Polynesian Festival celebration that kumu hula Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza and her team members put on each spring.

Kinimaka-Alquiza took the time to set up an extensive photo display to share the family genealogy, from the patriarch and matriarchs of the 13-sibling Kinimaka family, to all the children and grandchildren since.

Giving a family history of how the family, “first batch” and “second batch,” as she called them, came to be, she shared that none of them had heard of or knew of such things as “stepsisters” or “half-brothers,” as they all looked upon each other as one very large family.

Only when they grew up and learned from others did they become aware that within their own family existed such irrelevant distinctions.

One interesting story she shared had to do with the hand-made quilt upon which the photos rested.

The beautiful quilt was a peace offering from wife No. 1 to wife No. 2, something she learned about when her own mother placed upon her the responsibility of keeping and passing on the family heirloom.

Among all the children, both mothers were looked upon as their own shared mothers, she said.

She shared stories of her summer teenage escapades to help out her well-known Kauai Surf head beachboy brother Percy (from the first marriage).

Somehow, it was more fun helping her brother give canoe rides to tourists and chores around his home than it was to help with chores in her own home, she said.

She recalled with a smile how he used to stand in the back of the canoe and rock the vessel on wave-less days so the tourists would come in breathless from experiencing an exciting canoe ride.

She introduced Kaupena Kinimaka, Percy’s son, who came to be a part of the Kinimaka sharing.

During the instrumental hour, Titus Kinimaka, her youngest brother, and Keone Mahuka, sat outside with the guitarists, and taught them to play some of the songs for the evening, while Maha Leoiki and Ben Nakaahiki worked with the large group of ‘ukulele players to learn “He Aloha Mele,” written by older brother Iva Kinimaka.

A long-play album cover with recording artist Iva Kinimaka was one of the items on the genealogy table.

Joining them on the stage as the program began were Kapu, her sister Keala Kinimaka-Senkus, who has a keiki hula school, Joyce Okinaka, a gifted vocalist, Kunane Aipoalani on the standup bass, Wes Kaui on guitar, Jeff Igelesia on guitar, and Kathy Palama.

Titus and his group shared “Nani ‘O Kaua’i” and several of their songs early in the program, as some of them had to leave early.

Hula is a way of life for Kinimaka-Alquiza’s family, so sharing the talent of her hula dancers was a very natural part of her programs.

The stunning beauty of Jana Scott, as she gracefully brought the songs to life in two solo hula numbers, was absolutely breath-taking.

Her proud parents, Debbie and John Scott, looked on with pride as their daughter danced her way into everyone’s heart.

Kinimaka-Alquiza’s daughter Jill Kapulani-Alquiza, and two daughters-in-law, Liana Palama-Alquiza and Dez Rene Kealamokihana Perriera-Alquiza, shared a beautiful hula titled “Kaimana’alohi” composed by Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza in honor of her first grandchild.

Both their husbands, the Alquiza brothers, had to hold down the fort with the rest of their children with the lu’au hula show at the Courtyard by Marriott Kauai at Waipouli Beach, so could not be present at EKK.

Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza shared the story of how she and Maha Leoiki had come up with a very innovative hula when Nathan Kalama challenged kumu hula to come up with new, out-of-the-box approaches to hula entries for the Kaua’i Mokihana Festival.

One of the rules to gain points was to utilize “something” that is not connected with hula in any way.

Rising to the challenge, they created the “Jittering Hula,” in which six youthful dancers came out with the jittering toy dangling off the topknot of their hairdo, and they danced a lively fun hula which won the first-place award in that category at the Kaua’i Mokihana Festival.

Taelyn Tangonan, Aimee Sato, Ashlee Miyashiro, Makanoe Thompson, Tori Kobayashi, and Kaiulani Mayo were a gleeful delight in their colorful hula attire and their fast-paced movements with the silver jitter rings.

One of the most poignant and beautiful songs that was shared by Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza’s group was a song written by her husband, Pete Alquiza, who was in the back recording the evening on his video.

The first new year when all their kids had left them in an “empty nest,” she and Pete along with her mom were reminiscing about their life together, a long life considering she met Pete Alquiza when she was 13 years old, and the snippets of their recollections all came together into an extraordinary love song from husband to wife.

Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza was almost shy as she explained that, in Hawaiian songs, one needs to read between the lines and “figure it.” “Awapuhi” means “ginger blossom,” and speaks of the scent of ginger.

Keala Kinimaka-Senkus treated everyone to her exquisite dancing to “Nani ‘O Kaua’i,” while the ‘ukulele players strummed away and everyone sang it like a bunch of pros.

On Monday, the gifted ‘ukulele virtuoso Herb Ohta Jr. and Keoki Kahumoku, one of the Masters of Slack Key artists who won the 2006 Grammy award in the Hawaiian-music category, were the presenting duo.

They gave a rousing and wonderful performance along with Kainani Kahaunaele at the “Kupuna” concert at the Kaua’i Community College Performing Arts Center on Friday.

On Monday, members of the Darryl Gonzales ‘ohana are the instructors and performers at Island School, beginning at 6 p.m.

E Kanikapila Kakou is a unique, Kaua’i-style jam session, a production of the Garden Island Arts Council.

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