Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band
The Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band was formed in 1984 with the goal to preserve, perpetuate and promote the culture of Hawai‘i. Our name Kapalakiko is from the Hawaiian word for San Francisco. Our performances are centered in the San Francisco Bay area, but they radiate throughout the state of California, nationally within the United States, back to our ʻāina [homeland] of Hawaiʻi and into the international sphere of World Music. We perform not only to entertain our audiences, but to cultivate their knowledge about the rich history of Hawaiʻi through music and dance. We provide “the good stuff” in the mele kuʻi tradition. We use both traditional and western instruments and the various genres of Hawaiian music to emphasize the beauty of the Hawaiian language, lyrics, and poetry to complement the hula.
The Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band is an ʻohana [family] of Hawaiian music performers made up mostly of Overseas Hawaiians and Hawaiians at heart who are working to preserve and perpetuate the unique Hawaiian culture and local lifestyle. The basic performing unit of the band is a trio, but can be tailored to fit your event. We come with our aloha colors and our own sound system, so performances can be either acoustical or amplified electronically.
- Performance Schedule
- Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band Photo Gallery
- Kapalakiko Hawaiian Bands Past & Present
- Past concerts
A student of hula with Patrick Makuakāne Hālau Hula Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu of San Francisco, Rose Acolentava Baker was born in Davao City in the Philippines. Her family moved to San Francisco where she graduated from Mission High School. Currently, a vocal student with George Hernandez, Rose is employed as a legal assistant.
Proud of being a native Californian, Randee was born and raised in Sacramento. Growing up, her musical experience included tap. ballet, lyrical, and ballroom dancing, piano, classical guitar and as a member of the aʻcapella choir in school and church and a member of the Cupertino Choraliers, Currently, she studies hula and Tahitian drumming with Kau’i & Anson Kahaku at hālau hula Nā Wai ‘Ola, rhythm tap dancing with Gayle Greenbrook and steel guitar from Alan Akaka. Her interest in playing Hawaiian music started when she enrolled in the Kapalakiko system of learning the Hawaiian ‘ukulele which led to her apprenticeship with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. She and her husband Henry live in San Jose and have two sons: Brian and Stephen. Randee is the person responsible for scheduling the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band performances.
Teresa Peffley Cooper was born and raised in Norwich, New York. Interested in music at an early age she studied piano for eight years and played the clarinet in the school band. A graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, this former food scientist is married to fellow KHB apprentice, Lee Cooper. Inspired by her mother-in-law during a Hawai‘i trip in 2004, Teresa picked up the ‘ukulele and shortly thereafter enrolled in the Kapalakiko ‘ukulele classes and Hawaiian music workshop. As time permits, she continues to study voice with Mary Argenti at San Francisco City College. Teresa and Lee have 2 children.
Lillian was born at Kailua Oʻahu and grew up at Waimānalo where her parents raised watermelons She graduated from Belmont High and UCLA in Los Angeles. Her musical experiences include hula, piano, tap dancing ʻukulele playing, she was an interim church choir director and a member of Aloha Nani Hula Dancers, and the Kanikapila Band. Her current experiences include singing in the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Clara choir and is a member of Kauʻi Isa Kahaku’s Hālau Nā Wai Ola. Being a student in the Kapalakiko ʻukulele class and workshop band renewed her interest in gaining more knowledge and understanding of the Hawaiian culture, especially the musical and poetic elements of her roots in Hawaiʻi which led to her apprenticeship with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. Lillian has two children; son Laurence of Los Angeles and daughter Lorri of Santa Clara. Lillian and her husband Larry, both retired, moved to Santa Clara to homeschool her granddaughter, Marci.
Born in La Mesa, California, and raised in Virginia, Rhode Island and Hawai’i, Karen graduated from Moanalua High School in 1985 and attended University of Hawai’i Manoa and San Francisco State University. Picking up her dad’s abandoned guitar, she taught herself to play at age 10. Through her 20s she sang, composed and performed in Seattle, Honolulu and San Francisco. She became enamored with Hawaiian music under the tutelage of Virginia Halemano Kalua while working at KTUH radio. After studying the Kapalakiko ‘ukulele method, she is excited to take on the challenge of ki ho’alu. Currently a student of hula with Patrick Makuakane and Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu, she lives in San Francisco with her husband Fred McCord and daughter Zuzu.
Saichi Minoakanokapalakiko Kaiholani Kawahara born in ‘Auwaiolimu Oʻahu in 1937, is the founder and leader of the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. After spending summers of his youth in Kona, he graduated from McKinley High School in 1955. He has been involved in some form in the music business since age 11 when he played the trombone for Juanita Harris at Kawānanakoa Intermediate School. In Honolulu he learned his craft by performing with choral groups, marching bands, symphonic concert bands, funeral bands, dance bands, combos and Japanese stage bands. Moving to New York City in 1958, he coveted a career as a percussionist studying with Elvin Jones (John Coltrane); and later with Terry Clarke (John Handy Quintet & Fifth Dimension); and Roland Kohloff (San Francisco Symphony & New York Philharmonic). His percussion lessons served him well as he performed as a principal drummer with Seiichi Tanaka’s San Francisco Taiko Dojo for several years. While matriculating at New York City’s New School of Social Research he became a student of the contemporary musician, John Cage and studied modern dance with Midi Garth. Saichi plays the ʻukulele, harmonica and autoharp and is the falsetto lead of the KHB. In conjunction with his band duties, he also offers classes in ʻukulele, Hawaiian falsetto singing, and Hawaiian music performance. In September 1998, Saichi journeyed to Waimea, Hawaiʻi and came away with honors in the 7th Annual Clyde Kindy Sproat Falsetto & Storytelling contest. He appears as a chorus member on Raymond Kāne’s recording Punahele (Dancing Cat Records 08022-38001, 1994) and is the ʻukulele player on the soundtrack of Loni Ding’s film “Nisei Soldier.” A retired rod buster with Ironworkers Local 378, Oakland-Benicia, California, Saichi is married to the former Evelyn Escuadro Shaw and they have four grandchildren: Vincent Keoneakea, Victoria Elizabeth Kamāliekauahiahi, Lia Ashley Ke‘alamoanioku‘upuamale, and Brian Gian Shaw, who live in Altadena, California and are involved with Hawaiian culture with Kunewa Mook and Hālau Hula Kamuela 2.
Barb Fernlund Plank is the daughter of a retired army colonel/chaplain and a classically trained vocalist mother who studied under opera singer Lloyd Thomas Leech. Both parents, of Swedish descent, come from a long line of classically trained vocalists. At an early age, Barb sang in church choirs, performed with her family and as a soloist. She began studying classical piano and guitar from the age of 9 and voice from the age of 16, performed in high school choirs and musical theater. Earned a degree in mathematics at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Following college, she embarked on a singer/songwriting career in San Francisco and formed multiple bands (Big Love Reunion, Sinful Doin’s, Barb & the Wire, Ruby Rakes, …) in various alt-roots-rock/traditional folk/bluegrass/blues/jazz genres. She later fell in love with the culture and music of Hawai’i and decided to become immersed in it, enrolling in Kapalakiko ‘ukulele classes and mele workshops, leading her to apprentice with and subsequently become a long-term member of the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. Barb also studies Hawaiian ‘olelo (language) and dances hula with Patrick Makuakāne of Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu in San Francisco. Barb now lives in Pacifica, CA (aka “Little Hawaii”)
With a love of country music nurtured in his birth state, Tennessee, Frank Vernon started playing banjo ʻukulele while in the seventh grade and moved on to various instruments. Down through the years he performed on the banjo in jug bands [San Andreas Fault Finders] and [Gold Country]. In 2004, at the suggestions of a friend, Frank and his wife Billie June enrolled in ʻukulele classes at the Cupertino Senior Center. Hampered by arthritis, Frank switched to the bass and performed with various Hawaiian groups in the South Bay; “Nā Hoaloha Hoʻokani Pila”, “Aloha Nani Dancers”, “Kanikapila Band”, with Derrick DeMotta in “Na Leo Pumehana”, and Kika Duponte and Jackie Carvalho in the “no name Band”. In 2008 Frank enrolled in the Kapalakiko ʻukulele classes which led to his apprenticeship with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. Frank was born in Nashville, Tennessee. His family moved toNew Jersey, then to San Mateo where he graduated from Hillsdale High School in 1957; where he played guitar in the Rhythm and Blues band called “The Fabulous Dead Beats” that performed mainly at school functions. Retired from management positions in various electronics companies, Frank is married to the former Billie June Blondell and the couple have two off spring; David [Lydia], and Michelle [Keith] Coleman, and two granddaughters, Sydney and Ellie.
Cathy’s mother is a native from Kalihi, she was a hula student with the Beamer method of hula foundation under Kumu Hula George Na’ope. Cathy’s father is a collector of Hawaiian music records and a citizen of the island of Singapore. In transit, on the way to being born in Singapore, a fall resulted in Cathy being born in the then British Colony of Hong Kong. She was raised island style by her Singaporean father, sansei mother, chinese grandmother, nisei tutu and godmother in Singapore, Honolulu and Hilo respectively. As both parents are loyal alumni of UH Manoa, Cathy followed in her parent’s footsteps and finished up her schooling in Honolulu at UH Manoa, moving to San Francisco to keep company with her 85 year old Chinese grandmother after 10 years in Honolulu, Hawaii. A student of music since childhood, she played the piano, the violin, and the drum set, and played the drum set in the band of the Moanalua Gardens Missionary Church in Honolulu. She became a hula haumana with Kumu Mahealani Uchiyama at Hālau Ka Ua Tuahine in Berkeley, and joined the Tahitian drumming and music group of same, she plays the Tahitian to’ere (slit drum) and the Tahitian banjo. Her true interest in Hawaiian music started when she enrolled in the Kapalakiko system of learning the ‘ukulele which lead to her apprenticeship with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band.
George is a Santa Clara native who graduated from Adrian C. Wilcox High School. He earned his BS in nuclear chemistry from San Jose State and did some graduate studies at U.C. San Diego. He currently works with The Kanavel Group as Chief Technology Officer. George’s introduction into Polynesian Arts evolved from being a roadie – setting up audio and video equipment while accompanying his wife’s hula group to performances. His interest grew as he learned to drum on the to’ere, hula dance and play the ukulele before he joined the Kapalakiko ʻukulele classes. His hobbies include fishing for smelt with Hawaiian cast/throw nets, cooking, camping, travel, exploring beaches and spending time with his family.
Jeanette is a San Francisco Bay Area native. She is part of a wonderful large and close knit extended family. She is a long time government employee and a part time bartender. She graduated from SFSU with a B.S. in accounting and minor in photography. From grade school thru high school she studied piano, violin and cello. She also studied Filipino dance and Hula (Beamer method). Jeanette grew up listening to Hawaiian music that her father played on an old record player. Knowing that she has always loved ukulele music, her husband gave her an ukulele one Christmas which lead her to Kapalakiko classes and to her apprenticeship. She is amazed and grateful to be in the presence of a wonderful family of musicians. She and her husband, Ron, live in San Francisco. She has two daughters, Angela and Desiree. Ron has a daughter, Heather, a son, Ryan, and grandson, Nicholas.
Born and raised on the island of San Jose, CA, the legacy of my family stems from the Philippines and Hawaii. As a result, much of my heritage comes from Hawaii, the Garden Island of Kauai to be more precise. My love of Hawaiian music stems from my family. My parents would tune into Hawaii Calls on Saturday evenings just to help feel like they are back home. One of my uncles played the ukulele and was very passionate about playing and collecting ukuleles. More recently, the opportunity to learn from uncle Saichi Kawahara made a dream come true for me. I began to learn Hawaiian music that I enjoy so much listening to, it’s meaning, and the culture it perpetuates. Most of all, it brought my wife and I back into the Hawaiian community which brought us many new friends which have become our extended ohana. When I’m not playing, or learning music, I spend my days working as an engineer. I am also a photographer who loves to capture landscapes, portraits, or anything that appeals to me. My music and photography brings balance to my passion for technology.
Born in Paia, Maui and raised on Oahu. I graduated from University of Hawaii with a BFA in painting and drawing, and an MFA in printmaking. Secondary Professional Diploma in Art from School of Education, and Student Teaching at Waipahu High. Hawaiian music has always been a part of my life. On Oahu, I took hula lessons from Aunty Rose Joshua, Maiki Aiu, and John Piilani Watkins. Moved to New York, where I joined Johnny Pineapple’s South Pacific Revue as a hula dancer and performed in interesting places such as: Thule and Sonderstrom, Greenland, Guantanomo Bay, Cuba and GooseBay, Labrador in Canada. With no formal music education, I purchased my first ukulele and challenged myself to learn something about this instrument. On Oahu, I enrolled in classes from Roy Sakuma and Alan Akaka. In California, joined The Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band in Berkeley at the Temple Bar under Uncle Kem Loong, trained in voice lessons specializing in Hawaiian songs from Ka’ala Carmack. Also took ukulele lessons from Don Sadler at JCCCNC. It is when I joined Patrick Makuakane’s Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu, that I heard of Uncle Saichi’s classes. I was very fortunate that Uncle accepted me as a student. The rest is history.
Born in Los Angeles, Guitarist Allen Goodman graduated in 1959 from University High School in west Los Angeles. He has studied kī hōalu with Patrick Kamakahi and Cyril Pahinui. To broaden his scope of performing Hawaiian music Allen joined the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. Currently residing in Mill Valley, Allen is a retired paramedic from the San Francisco Fire Department. Married to Sandra Hoben, they a one son, Roger
Native San Franciscan, born, raised and attended schools in San Francisco, Calif. My introduction to music began at an early age. Music always filled our home. Piano, violin, guitar and voice were all part of my music experience, including the SF Youth Symphony and St. Michael’s folk choir in San Francisco. In 2005 I joined hālau Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu and began hula instruction and the study of Hawaiian culture with Kumu Patrick Makuakāne. The ukulele has always been part of the hula journey. In 2009 I was able to enroll in ukulele instruction with Kaʻala Carmack. I was looking forward to enrolling in the KHB method when the class finally became available to me in 2012. I owe this musical adventure to my Mom who was born in Mexico and an avid Hawaiian music and dance enthusiast. She would have loved this journey. I am currently employed as a Finance Manager with Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame, Ca. as well as overseeing accounting functions for Lana’i Animal Rescue, a small cat sanctuary in Lana’i, Hawai’i. I live in South San Francisco with daughters Jennifer & Kristy and Mandy our border collie rescue.
Leahi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California with strong family ties to Waikapu, Maui. Leahi graduated from Loyola Marymount University and received an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. After traveling and living in Australia for several years she returned to California and settled in the SF Bay Area. Post graduate school she spent several years working as a Corporate Strategy Consultant and Director of Strategic Initiatives at E*TRADE Financial. Childhood memories of times spent with her extended ʻohana where her father, uncles and aunties would gather around and play their ʻukuleles and guitars and sing until the wee hours of the night brought about a longing to learn more about, and connecting with, her Hawaiian heritage and culture. This lead to her to study Hula with Kumu Renee Kuʻuleinani Price until her beloved Kumu retired in 2005. While studying hula, her interest in Hawaiian mele deepened. She also discovered that she comes from a long line of musicians and entertainers and finally picked up the ʻukulele given to her by her ʻohana to take lessons in the Kapalakiko ʻUkulele System and was honored to join the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band and ʻohana as an apprentice. She currently studies hula with Kumu Patrick Makuakāne and Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu in San Francisco, is married and has a son.
Ralph is a native of Hastings, Michigan where he graduated from Loy Norrix Hight School in 1972 and was a member of the church choir, in the early 2000’s. Ralph and his wire Char enrolled in San Francisco’s Kaleo Cofe fee ʻukulele classes honing their skills there for two years. The couple moved over to Hollis Baker’s Kaleponi Strings for five years and then enrolled in the Kapalakiko ʻukulele classes, which led to Ralph’s improvement in his vocal performances. Because of this he was asked to join the choir at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco with who he still performs. His rise in the Kapalakiko system led to his apprenticeship with the KHB. Having graduated from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Ralph is employed as a Senior Software Engineer. He is married to Charlene Wong and they have two sons by Char’s previous marriage, Keith & Patrick Wong.
Gary is a San Jose native who first became interested in the ukulele and Hawaiian music from his wife Gail originally from Honolulu. Holiday parties with Aunties and Uncles in Hawaii were always a kanikapila. Thanks to Smiley and Janet Kai of Ukulele Source in Japantown San Jose, the ukulele community has flourished and Gary has had the fortune to attend workshops by many of the Ukulele greats such as Daniel Ho, Jason Arimoto, Herb Ohta Jr, Bryan Tolentino, Kimo Hussey and Aldrine Guerrero. Through the welcoming members of the Wesley Methodist ukulele band, Gary discovered the joy of performing for others. But, it was Uncle Saichi’s Kapalakiko Hawaiian music workshops and the connection to the hula community that brought the music, Hawaiian culture, and aloha spirit all together for him. Gary works at the Stanford Graduate School of Business as an IT systems developer but knows what he wants his next full time gig to be. Gary is currently the KIKA webmaster.
Born and raised in Wailuku, Maui, Lynne Manawakolu “Manawa” Ogawa learned to love Hawaiian music from an early age through hula. Leaving Hawai’i to attend college on the mainland, Manawa found that she loved the urban Bay Area life, and stayed, although at times, she longs for Maui. When her daughter Maya was five, Manawa wanted her to learn more about local life so Manawa took Maya to hula then ukulele classes with Uncle Saichi. Perhaps it was a reason for Manawa to return to her roots. Maya left hula and ukulele for sports, but Manawa continued. Currently a haumana of Ka Ua Tuahine under Kumu Mahealani Uchiyama, Manawa finds the Kapalakiko system of learning to be a perfect complement. “I le’a ka hula i ka ho’opa’a.” The hula is pleasing because of the chanter (musician).
Jay was born in Davao City, Philippines and moved to San Francisco in 1987 with my parents and sister. He graduated from Balboa High School and SFSU with a BS in Management. He works at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco as part of Management working in the Business side of the Hospital. His interest in music started at a very young age. His Parents, Uncles, Aunties, and cousins were singing and or playing some kind of musical instruments and of course singing along the good ole’ Karaoke. He played the piano for a couple of years; but he always wanted to play the guitar and the ukulele. He started listening to Hawaiian and Polynesian music because he was surrounded by many talented Polynesian friends in high school and college. He enjoys Hawaiian music both modern and old songs and his ipod is a mix of Tahitian, Fijian, Samoan and Tongan music beats. He found his calling to play the ukulele under the tutelage of Uncle Saichi. The knowledge and skills of the Ukulele and Hawaiian Language taught in class has made a great impact in his life.
Jake Shimada (Junior Apprentice)
Jake was born in Mt. View, California and lives in Milpitas where he attends school. At the age of 6 he took his first ʻukulele lessons from Rodney Takahashi of Ukulele Jams. With the support of his father, Scott who grew up in Makiki Hawaiʻi and mother, Rowena born in Manila, Philippines, Jake’s passion for learning Hawaiian music and culture was sparked when they enrolled him in the Kapalakiko ʻukulele classes. Soon after starting class, Uncle Saichi Kawahara took him under his wing and invited him to be a junior apprentice with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. Jake has two older brothers, Kyle and Derrick who live in Seattle Washington. He loves ice hockey, swimming, and playing ukulele. Some favorite Hawaiian foods are Kalua pig omelets, Loco Moco, malasadas, spam musubi, saimin, and shave ice.
Tina was born and raised in South Pasadena, California where she doodled on the piano and guitar at home, played percussion for the high school band and, sang in the choir. She graduated from South Pasadena High School. At Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, she earned a BA in Japanese Studies. Then she journeyed to Japan to study linguistics and that is where she met her husband, Susumu Urata. They have three boys, Richard, Stephen and Andrew. Several generations earlier, Tina’s great granduncle, grandfather, and grandmother lived and worked in Wailuku, Maui at the turn of the century. Her great granduncle founded ‘Iao Congregational Church and her grandfather opened a photo studio on Main St., Wailuku in 1905. Decades later when her sons started to go camping with the Boy Scouts in the Bay area, she dusted off her guitar. Not long after that, San Joseʻs Wesley Methodist Church started an ‘ukulele band and she picked up the ʻukulele and started strumming. Wanting to understand more about Hawaiian music and culture, Tina also joined Hālau Hula Nā Wai ‘Ola where she was given the name “Hiʻilani” (“Held in the arms of Heaven”) and began taking ‘ukulele classes. This, in turn, led to an apprenticeship with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band.