Bobby Black is a native of Prescott, Arizona but as a young lad moved to California. He is a 1952 graduate of San Mateo High School. Bobby was drawn to the steel guitar by Hawaiian music he heard through radio programs such as Hawaiʻi Calls and recordings where he became acquainted with the steel guitar work of David Keli’i, Jules Ah See and Billy Hew Len. He’s most impressed with the work of Herbert Hanawahine with whom he dueled in Las Vegas as a member of the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band in 1999. Bobby’s musical notoriety comes from his work in country music, having performed with Ray Price, Lefty Frizell, Barbara Mandrell, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Asleep At The Wheel, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airman, the California Cowboys and many of the C & W greats. Still touring and actively performing Bobby is very much in demand as a touring and studio musician. Bobby and his wife Sheila have two sons, Robert and Kim.
Another keiki o Kapalakiko – child of San Jose Danny was born in Berlin Germany. He is currently at student at Willow Glen High School, played percussion in the school band and plays on the school tennis team. He got into Hawaiian music because he wanted to expand his mind and learn about the Hawaiian music and culture. He signed up for Kapalakiko ‘ukulele classes which led to his apprenticeship with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. He says “Hawaiian music makes me feel calm and comfortable.”
Tessie Francisco’s father was born in North Kohala, Hawaiʻi and along with his sister was taken back to the Philippines by their mother, while their father stayed in Hawaiʻi never to return. Born Teresita Lino in Isabela, Luzon in the Philippines, Tessie arrived in San Francisco in 1957 at age two aboard a ship that took 30 seasick days to complete its’ trip. Growing up in San Francisco, Tessie graduated from Galileo High School in 1973 and attended City College of San Francisco. While a student at Galileo, Tessie danced with Tiare Clifford of Tiare Otea. She continues hula instruction with Patrick Makuakāne. Married to James Francisco in 1978, Tessie has three sons Brian, Jason, and James. She is employed as a legal secretary for Hennefer & Wood in San Francisco and plays ʻukulele with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band.
Steve Hanson brings his even temper to the ranks of the KHB. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised as a milk farm boy outside of Evansville. Steve graduated from Evansville Hight School in 1968 and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Minnesota’s Moorhead State University. From 1972 to 1976 he served as a trombonist of the US Navy; three of those years (1974 to 1976) were spent in the NATO Band in Naples, Italy. For four years, Steve was a freelance musician in New York City performing on the trombone, euphonium and tuba in Salsa Bands, Italian Fiesta Bands, German Bands, and Dixieland Bands. He brings to the KHB the wealth of these experiences in the various musical genre and is determined to add Hawaiian music to his portfolio. The past 22 years, Steve has freelanced on the upright bass throughout the San Francisco Bay area. His wife Candis is a retired military musician at Travis Air Force Base and they have a daughter, Carmen.
Samuel Ka Lā Kaʻai is an ʻukulele and guitar performer with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band and is blessed with beautiful Hawaiian vocal chords seasoned in the Mormon Church. He has become and accomplished falsetto singer and has learned his kī hōʻalu from Mikaʻele Waeger. Born and raised in Vallejo, California, Sam graduated from Hogan High School in 1991, holds a BS degree in Biology from the University California at Davis, and is employed by Pfizer in Vacaville as a Cell Culture Manufacturing Supervisor. His dad, Sam comes from the Alapaʻi district of Honolulu and his late mon, Caroline was a Mills, born in Honakaʻa on Hawaiʻi Moku. His paternal grandmother, Daisy Lincoln Kaʻai, a sister to the leader of the Haleūlani Girls, Aunty Lei Collins, was a Parks & Recreation cultural specialist for Kamāmalu & ʻAuwaiolimu Parks in Honolulu and in fact, was Saichi’s first ʻukulele teacher. Sam resides in Vacaville with his wife, the former Betty Anne Keller. They have five children: Eliane Ululani, Lilia Kuʻuleialoha, Noah Kawaihoʻolana, Maile Suzanne, and Macy Kalāwaianuiahina.
Born in Kaimukī and raised in Waimalu, Oʻahu, Alan “Zippy” Nakasato attended many different schools in many different states and eventually graduated from Punahou in 1972. He learned to play the ʻukulele during his elementary school years in Hawaiʻi but for years, that talent lay dormant, until 2003. Inspired by his daughters”s interest in learning the hula, he attended Kapalakiko’s ʻukulele workshop and classes. He is currently studying electric bass with Duany “Pudgy” Wong. Since 1977, Zippy has lived in the San Francisco Bay area and now lives in Albany, with his wife, Linda Okamoto. They have two daughters, Lauren and Karen.
Michael Mikaʻele P. Waeger was born in Bloomington, Indiana but raised in Waiākea, Hawaiʻi where he learned to play the ʻukulele under George Camarillo, Jr in the Waiākea Intermediate ʻUkulele Band. While at Waiākea High School, Mika’ele and his two brothers formed a Hawaiian musical group called ʻIlima. In 1989, the year of his high school graduation, ʻIlima placed first in the Hawaiʻi Moku version of the Brown Bag to Stardom music contest and also competed in the Honolulu contest performing their own Hawaiian music composition titled “Ka Waʻa Melemele – The Banana Boat Song.” For two and a half years, ʻIlima performed at Uncle Billy’s on Banyan Drive in Hilo and provided the music for Ray Fonseca’s Hālau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani. The ʻukulele is Mikaʻele’s first instrument but he is also an excellent bass player and a exceptional six and twelve string kī hōʻalu performer, drawing inspiration from his teachers Gary Haleamau and Kohala Lim. Mikaʻele holds a business degree from California State University, San Francisco and is employed as an inventory analyst at Galaxy International. His current role in the band is a guitar and ʻukulele instructor, but when time avails, Mikaʻele serves as a front line performer as well as studio musician and technician on our recordings.