Kawika's story begins in the small town of Kane`ohe on the beautiful windward side of O`ahu. One cannot think about the windward side without images of the breathtaking Ko`olau mountain range, lush, green valleys and the magnificent ocean views. Born to Samuel (Uncle Sam) and Josephine (Aunty Jo) Kahiapo on February 13, 1960, Kawika is the 5th of 6 children. Kawika's interest in music began at an early age, when, inspired by his father, he spent many hours alone in his room "jamming"; he was known to miss chore-time, but never a meal! Some of his fondest memories are of their "garage" jam sessions, when "Pops" Gabby Pahinui would show up with his guitar and bottle of vodka. This is what inspired Kawika's passion for ki-ho`alu (slack-key guitar). Today, Kawika continues to perpetuate the art of ki-ho`alu in his sound recordings and annually at the Slack Key Festivals. He was honored as the 2007 Na Hoku Hanohano Slack Key Artist of the year.


At the age of 17, Kawika entered the professional music scene, joining Chucky Boy Chock and O`ahu Brand, then Palani Vaughan. It was about that time that he married Laurie Yano, who soon thereafter gave birth to their first son, Dalen. Over the next couple of decades, Kawika contributed his musical talent to some 30 recording projects and has collaborated or performed with artists such as Kekolu, Leon and Malia, Kawehi Lindsey, Jesse Rivera, Kapena, Pierre Grill, Na Leo Pilimehana, Kelly Boy Delima, Del Beazley, Alex McAngus, and the Native Hawaiian Band (Pahinui Brothers, Dennis Kamakahi, George Kuo, Mike Kaawa, Milton Lau). As a studio musician, he has also offered his guitar stylings to enhance jingles and theme songs for radio and television ads. Not only was he keeping busy in the music scene, but he also now has four more precious children: Shauna Lee, Jeremiah, Keoni and Alana, along with daughter-in-law, Syndi, and son-in-law, Kahai...not to mention his first grandchild, Seth "Nu'u".

In addition to releasing albums and performing in numerous local venues, Kawika had the pleasure to contribute his musical talent to one of Hawaii's most authentic and unique cultural productions to enter the Hawaiian tourist marketplace. Released in January, 2002, TourTalk-O`ahu became O`ahu's "first audio driving tour". When asked about why he participated in such a unique, niche product he responded: "TourTalk's mission is to acquaint the listener (both visitor and kama'aina) with Hawaii's rich, cultural history, past and present. I am proud to be a contributor to this production and to have worked with a team that is committed to authenticity and being "pono" (right/_true) to our culture."

Although a carpenter by trade, he is now an ordained Pastor of a small "local-style" fellowship, which is his second ohana, as its name indicates: "Ka Ohana o Ke Aloha" (Family of aloha/grace). "Casual simplicity, filled with aloha is who we are". It was on Kawika's heart to start a fellowship where people are free to worship their Creator, just as they are, bringing in their God-given treasures within them and their cultures such as music, instruments, hula and other forms of dance. To live and share aloha, calling all people home through Jesus, is their mission statement.

Kawika is also on the Kokua Hawai'i Foundation board non-profit organization that supports environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawai'i. This is the reason many of you may have seen Kawika emceeing the annual Kokua Hawai'i Festivals, which features Jack Johnson. He also joins Jack on stage at some point during the concert. This is one of the ways Kawika is able to be a blessing to the community and our 'aina. http://www.kokuahawaiifoundation.org

Kawika is also a board member with the Friends of He'eia State Park, which is a special place hidden away in Kane'ohe, where his ancestors once lived. The purpose is to provide education, conservation and preservation....truly another organization dedicated to "malama 'aina".http://www.friendsofheeia.com/index.html

Other personal interests include drawing and painting, airbrushing, surfing, and making Hawaiian crafts such as carved gourds and pahu drums. His creative talents run through his hands in other ways besides music.__Kawika's first solo recording project, "ALANA", finally emerged in 1996 and continues to captivate many with it's soothing combination of contemporary and traditional Hawaiian tunes, along with ki-ho`alu. Throughout the years, many hula halau have been dancing to the music on this recording, as well as his second solo release, "ONE HEART/ONE VOICE", which was released in 2001. Both projects share his mana`o (feelings) in Kawika's unique way. In between, he released a project with Del Beazley and Dwight Kanae, under the name "3-D", entitled "In Living Color." The notable feature in this recording is the exceptional talent each of them has in guitar stylings, song-writing and voice. His work on the "SLACK-KEY PRAISE" CD with Leon Siu is appreciated by some of the best in the business. The listeners of this recording will agree it is like receiving a musical lomi-lomi (massage). The newest band that Kawika is currently of member of is "Kaukahi". This band also includes Barrett Awai, Walt Keale and Dean Wilhelm. "Kaukahi" was also honored to receive three awards at the prestigious 2007 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. They were awarded Group of the Year, Song of the Year for Kawika's "Life in These Islands", which is the title cut and name of their debut CD, and Kawika's son, Dalen Kahiapo, and Todd Schlosser of Worldsound, were presented the Award for CD graphics!

Serving God and others are a priority, and is reflected in Kawika's lifestyle and music. "Love for the islands, it's people, `ohana, and Ke Akua (God), are what inspires him, while staying committed to perpetuating "true" Hawaiian music, the culture, and the the art of ki-ho`alu".


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