Kapa Cafe

Walter Ke’ale

January 20, 2015, 8:11 AM HST
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Jaz: Home of Hawai’i’s music, we are KAPAFM at 100.3, 99.1, online at kaparadio.com, for this 9th day of January, Aloha Friday, with Jaz and Ka‘ea, and another edition of Live at The KAPA Cafe, brought to you by our friends at Kona Boys and Hawaiian Ukulele and Guitar in the Waikoloa King Shops.
Our special guest this morning, Ke‘ale. Let’s get him on the phone.

Ke‘ale: Hello? Aloha?

Ka‘ea: Hui! Aloha kakahiaka, brother.

Ke‘ale: Eh! How you?

Jaz: Eh brah! How you cuz?


Ke‘ale: Good morning you guys!


Ka‘ea: Good morning, how are you?

Jaz: Long time no spak, brah!

Ke‘ale: I know, I know, forever.


Ka‘ea: You guys got hit by the thunderstorms over the weekend?

Ke‘ale: Um, you know, had, had some big branches came down and like… ah, all day Saturday, all day Sunday, chopping, chopping the branches, and getting rid of ‘em and stuff… mean.

Ka‘ea: Aw, well I’m glad we finally got to connect with you. Thank you again. I connected with a mutual friend and got your CD.

Ke‘ale: Aw shoots, I just saw you like ah?

Ka‘ea: Couple months ago…

Ke‘ale: Where I when see you?

Ka‘ea: At the hula ting, the ‘Aha Hula, but you told me about it.
You did tell me about it.

Ke‘ale: Shoot, I should’ve gave you one right there.

Ka‘ea: No worries, no worries. You had your huaka‘i you had to go on.

Jaz: Eh, how you been brah? I never see you for like couple years I think.

Ke‘ale: I know. You know I think usually, recently, I’ve been coming in Kona for the slack key festival then turning around, come back…

Jaz: Yea, yea. True that.
I think I caught you like, the five minutes you was around after.

Ke‘ale: Yea yea… you know, aw, but I go come this ah, this Thursday I coming. I’m going over to Waipi‘o, try find ah… Uncle Sam’s grandson, yea.

Jaz& Ka‘ea: Oh wow. Nice. Nice.

Ke‘ale: I re-, kinda re-did Hi’ilawe, and I figured, aw I should go and play, for him. He can slap me right there in the lo‘i.

Ka‘ea: wow! That’s awesome. You know, I’m sure you’ve watched and done all your research about Sam Li‘a, and his amazing-ness.

Ke‘ale: Aw yea. I-, that’s why we have the violin on this version.

Ka‘ea: Yea. I heard that, I heard that.

Ke‘ale: I wanted to have his voice, you know, and-so yea, but I never been there, so it’s the first song I ever recorded where I didn’t, I didn’t know the place.

Ka‘ea: wow! Really?

Ke‘ale: I don’t usually do that, so, yea.

Ka‘ea: So tell us about your release, now, how did this come about?
Now you entitled it Motherland.

Ke‘ale: Yea. ‘Aina kaula, Motherland, so , ‘Aina Kaula is-has like a number of meanings, you know, like ah, one is ah, like ‘Aina Kaula is also kaula, out there by Ni‘ihau, so really sacred for us. Um, but then ‘Aina Kaula is also the umbilical cord, connects to the land, to mama, and then also ‘Aina Kaula is like ah, the land is the prophet, you know. So the land conveys to us, you know, what’s important from the other side… Motherland just-is a song that really stuck with me in the process of putting that CD together.

Ka‘ea: Now your first… We actually had a chance to put some in rotation, but your first mele that you actually composed, I mean, that’s on this, track #1. Tell us a little bit about your track #1.

Ke‘ale: Pula Kaumaka, is ah, it’s the title is from a Ni’ihau kind of a place called Ohai, it’s says pula kaumaka o na tupuna e, so re-, you know, referring to Ohai, so in other words, the ehukai of Ohai, the beach spray, is the same spray that we feel right now on our faces. It’s the same spray that touched the faces of all our ancestors.
And-ah, like today, I stay at Ka’ena right now.

Ka‘ea: Are you serious?

Ke‘ale: I getting ready to go, I taking Mailani Makainai and some different musicians, some friends from ah… from Hale Ola, Keoni Nunez, the tatau, so those guys, we just going out, I go show them some stuff and…

Ka‘ea: wow!
Please give her a hug from us, she was just here on Hawai‘i Island last weekend.

Ke‘ale: Oh cool, yea, yea! Her and I think Kaui’s coming too so…

Ka‘ea: Aw, right on.

Jaz: Awesome.

Ke‘ale: But yea, I’ll tell ‘em hi, and…

Jaz: Hey, you know, we were just talking about you the other day, um. You know, you, come from… Ke’ale, a lineage of musicians and voices, and one of the things we always talk about is, that Ke’ale line has this tone, this natural tone that is just unmistakable from, Uncle Mo’, to Braddah Iz, you can tell you guys ‘ohana from the moment you open your mouth.

Ke‘ale: I know, it’s freaky yea?

Jaz: Tell us about growing up in, you know,
in this ‘ohana, and how music played a part in your life.

Ke‘ale: You know ah, cause my mom moved us in ’69, to San Francisco. I was raised in California, in the valley, Central Valley, about an hour from Yosemite, and raised by… raised with Mexicans, you know, that’s why the influence for Hi’ilawe this time was real Mexican, and, Lota, we’d come back every other summer, we-the boys would go, and every other summer, the girls. We’d alternate coming back and spending the whole summer. Most of the time, the first month was in Makua, Makua Valley, so we’d get here, just so we can go camping right off the bat. We would camp with Skippy, Lydia, Israel, Aunty Nani, Uncle Mo, Uncle Nappy…
Everybody was out there you know.

Jaz& Ka‘ea: wow. Hey! wow.

Ke‘ale: So that was like, you know, being like a, kinda in-between everywhere, I had to-, in California, I had to scrap. You know, my dad was from Arkansas, so ah, so for my Arkansas family, I’m not white enough, and sometimes for my Hawaiian family, I’m not dark enough.

Ka‘ea: I can totally relate.

Jaz: And to the rest, you’re Mexican.

Ke‘ale: Oh yea! And brah, everywhere, everywhere I went, I had to scrap everybody. The only place I never had to scrap was with… the family. So we’d drop our stuff up Papakolea, and even there, big scraps. Then, we drive the road, we get down to Makua, and Makua was my only white flag area, you know.

Ka‘ea: Yea, yea. I bet.

Ke‘ale: Always at peace, and so, that’s my constant recollection of the family, see the canopy up, the canopies, Skippy out there on the beach, Mel guys, Israel, cracking up, smoking it up, and um, you know, that’s-So, growing up with the family, the family was the only safe place.
I even went Kamehameha for one semester.

Ka‘ea: And how did that end up?

Ke‘ale: One semester! They ask me fo’ leave.
They told me Merry Christmas, and don’t come back.

Jaz: You know, growing up in San Francisco, and seeing the ‘ohana back and forth, I’m sure that played a part in your music. Like you said, you kinda grew up with a Mexican family which was-kind of inspired the guitar playing, so it must have, I mean, I’m sure you’ve, you have songs in here from Merle Haggard, I mean, you must have been influenced by that kind of folk scene that was out there too yea?

Ke‘ale: Oh yea. Blue grass, um, between-so if I had a iPod back in the 70’s, my playlist would be: Skippy, Israel, Makaha Sons, Uncle Mo, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Steve Miller Band… you know, all these guys…
It’s crazy,
when I think back and how much music I got to listen to, all over the place.

Ka‘ea: When did you decide to move home?

Ke‘ale: At Israel’s funeral. I came back, and ah. I had a calling, you know. I was on the canoe, and ah, and God told me, He said… I was working at… in Portland Oregon at the time, and He said to me, He said, “Look, this is your flock, this is your plot,” and it didn’t really register to me, cause ah, I never wanted to be in Hawai‘i my whole life, especially after getting lickens, you know, I cannot live in Makua Valley.

Ka‘ea: Right, right, right! Totally, totally.

Ke‘ale: So, I never like move back to get more lickens, so, I just said, I ain’t evah going back over there. When He said come home, I was like ah, I don’t know how that works, in the way, the world as I have seen it.
It took me a couple years to figure out how to get back,
then about 3 years later, we came back… 14 years now.

Ka‘ea: wow.

Ke‘ale: It’s the longest I been anywhere, except in the valley.

Ka‘ea: wow, and so what? From that feeling, and zoom up right now, to your CD, and this connection and this feeling, does it make sense?

Ke‘ale: Yea, it does. Pula Kaumaka, yea, is the same, ehukai, that we all experience. There’s ah, finally like home, and an emergence of everything.

Jaz: “Pula Kaumaka,” the music of Ke‘ale, here on KAPA HawaiianFM 100.3, 99.1, online at kaparadio.com. If you’re just joining us for this Aloha Friday, he is our special guest for the KAPA Cafe, Ke‘ale.

Ke‘ale: But it kinda makes me laugh, you know, I know Skippy and them are just rolling around. Those guys gotta be going, “Of all people, you know what?” … You wanna laugh some more? I never even got my first ‘ukulele ‘till I was 35 years old.

Jaz& Ka‘ea: wow!

Ke‘ale: When I hit the ground here in ’01, I only knew 3 Hawaiian songs. Because, you know, when you have family like that, you no like try yea.

You not goin’ try… You’re just gonna keep your mouth shut, nod, and pau.

Ka‘ea: Maybe hula?

Ke‘ale: You know, Nalani! You see my cousin Nalani dance hula, uh-… I not goin’ try.

Jaz: On this CD, you’ve got some special guests, we know a lot of them, you know, it’s nice to be able to call on some friends, you’ve got from: Chris Lau, of course from your record label, Steven Inglis, Don K. from the Big Island, LT Smooth, and Paula Fuga, which is really cool!

Ke‘ale: Yea, Paula came in, I was looking for Kamamakakaua, I know-knew… I gotta have somebody fierce yea, so I wanted her, and Hi’ilawe too, her voice fit perfect for kind of the Spanish feeling, the Mexican feeling to it. My daughter is on …River, “Motherland,” she’s doing the harmonies.
You hear her, this 15 year old girl.

Ka‘ea: Sweet!

Jaz: That’s awesome.

Ke‘ale: Yea, so that and ah, what you call, “Lonestar,” she’s on there too. I had a lot of great help, you know my friend Paul Cartwright, plays the violin. He does all the violin work for “The Walking Dead” the TV, HBO.

Jaz& Ka‘ea: Oh! wow!

Ke‘ale: He actually, he did Battlestar Galactica a few years ago, he’s-the guy is everywhere… A lot of different guys, you know, I just had-it was really amazing to just kinda have friends show up that I’ve been hanging out with over the years. And they all were like, “Shoots! Let’s go!”

Jaz: You know, what’s really cool, on your album cover, on the inside, you pay homage to this microphone, and that’s funny, cause you haven’t seen me in a few years, I have this microphone tattooed on my neck brotha.

Ke‘ale: No way!

Jaz: The 1955 Shure Unidyne

Ke‘ale: That’s the one! That’s the one!

Jaz: I have that on my neck!

Ka‘ea: You guys are psychotic.

Ke‘ale: haha, we should’ve put your neck on top.

Jaz: That’s what I said: Aw, braddah Walt could’ve threw my neck on there!

Ke‘ale: Eh, next album. Next album.

Jaz: Well, tell me the significance of that, cause the picture is just awesome, it’s got the-it’s on the mic stand, it’s got the chord and everything, but it’s in the middle of the dirt.

Ke‘ale: The chord is like a piko yea, so I actually shot all those photos at Kukaniloko. So, the significance is like, again, the land is the prophet, the land doesn’t need us to stand up and speak for her, the land needs us to listen to what she has to say. I put that microphone in among the pohaku to just, to signify, that look, I only came to point to them. I came so that you guys remember: “be quiet” it’s time to listen and to hear, so to speak. That’s what that picture is all about. Even the cover yea, it has a little tiny me, you know, on the front, because the goal is not to have me, but to have the place. so… this Kaui right here.

Ka‘ea: Hi friend!

Jaz: Hey!

Kaui Dalire: Hi!

Jaz& Ka‘ea: Hi! This is Jaz&Ka’ea!

Kaui: Oh my goodness!

Ka‘ea: Hi friend!

Jaz: How you?

Kaui: I’m good.

Ka‘ea: You guys going huaka’i today.

Kaui: Yea, we going out over there, Ka’ena side.

Ka‘ea: wow! How exciting!

I’m feeling inspiration of haku mele, something, something?

Kaui: Yes, yes, because I started my Kona one, and then I went Ka’u, and now, here I am at Ka’ena, and had the last-this past weekend I stayed at a beach house to just write down everything.

Jaz& Ka‘ea: wow!

Kaui: I know right!

Ka‘ea: I’m so proud of you.

Jaz: Have you slept since last we saw you?

Kaui: No, not really!

Jaz: No need yea?

Kaui: No, because you know I stay dreaming about everything while I awake. Does that make sense, or what?

Ka‘ea: Totally

Jaz: Yea!

Ka‘ea: Aw, well have fun today my friend!
Have fun today on your huaka’i with Ke’ale

Kaui: I miss you guys already!

Ka‘ea: I know, totally! How ironic right?

Kaui: Yes! I was like, “Who’s that?”
I heard that voice.

Ka‘ea: Aw, love you, have a good day.

Kaui: Love you! Okay hold on.

Ke‘ale: Aloha! I know these guys, we’re gonna just go cruise out, but ah, I gotta tell you my New Year’s dream. You know you have one dream, the thing stick out, was New Year’s night. I had this dream I was in a plane crash, and afterwards, the plane went right into a mountain, and I thought I was gonna make, but I survived.
They were having like a show, an interview, with all the survivors of the plane crash. It was a room full of people, that all were dressed in many colors, and beautiful like flowing clothes, but it turned out, the only people that survived was the poet, on board.
Isn’t that funny?
How’s that? Only the poet survived the crash.

Ka‘ea: That’s deep brah. That is deep.

Ke‘ale: Yea, so that’s us. That’s all of us.
That’s you guys with the microphones. It’s all of us.

Ka‘ea: Sweet.

Jaz: That’s awesome.
Well- Ke‘ale, where can everybody get your new CD Motherland?

Ke‘ale: Oh yea, www.kealemusic.com, is a good place.

Ka‘ea: Well we’re looking forward, we wanna connect soon, cause maybe you know we can get you to Hawai’i Island to perform.?

Jaz: Check your calander for the year brah,
we like have you at the Hui Kako’o Concert maybe.

Ke‘ale: Okay. I go swing by and talk story with you guys.

Jaz: Sounds good.

Ka‘ea: That’ll be awesome.

Ke‘ale: Maybe all you guys can come and dance hula or something

Ka‘ea: Oh oh! Shua! Shua!

Ke‘ale: The poets are gonna write a song!

Ka‘ea: Aw, love you brother, thank you so much.

Ke‘ale: Happy New Year!

Ka‘ea: Happy New Year.

Jaz: You too brotha!

Ka‘ea: Okay, aloha!

Jaz: Aloha.
How special, our brother Ke‘ale and of course of sister Kaui Dalire joining us for the KAPA Cafe, so let’s take us out with another mele from his CD Motherland, here’s the title track, Motherland.

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