A tsunami of talent: Willie K, Yamanaka and Galuteria headline 3rd Annual ‘Evening of Aloha’

  • Courtesy photo Three winners of the Na Hoku Hanohano Male Vocalist of the Year award, from left, Mark Yamanaka, Brickwood Galuteria and Willie K will be the featured performers at the Third Annual Evening of Aloha, Friday, Aug. 2, in the Willie K Crown Room at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo.

Great music, excellent food and island vibes — all for a good cause — add up to the 3rd Annual Evening of Aloha at the Grand Naniloa Hotel.

Willie K, Mark Yamanaka and Brickwood Galuteria, three artists who’ve won the Na Hoku Hanohano Male Vocalist of the Year will headline the fundraiser for Hilo’s Pacific Tsunami Museum at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at the Willie K Crown Room. A delicious prime rib buffet dinner from Hula Hulas restaurant brings an added touch to what already promises to be a night to remember.


“For this particular project, we’re reuniting this trifecta with Willie, Mark and I,” said Galuteria, who made history in 1985 when he became the first artist to win Hokus for Most Promising Artist and Male Vocalist of the Year. “We did the first one a couple of years ago.

“You want to talk Hokus? You got Willie and you got Mark. Mark took almost every thing there was to take at the past Hokus. It was cool that he decided to go to his son’s (high school graduation) rather than the Hokus. That was a warm and fuzzy.”

Yamanaka won five of the coveted Hoku statuettes in May, including his third award for both Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year award for his third solo album, “Lei Lehua.” A Hilo boy known for his soaring falsetto vocals and for being there when the community calls, Yamanaka was happy to answer the call again for the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

“They’re a good organization that brings public awareness on the history of tsunamis, especially in Hilo,” he said.

Yamanaka, who’s become an A-list Hawaiian musician with his 14 career Hoku awards, is also happy to be on the bill with the preternaturally talented Willie K and multitalented Galuteria, a longtime radio personality as well as musician who will serve as the event’s emcee.

“They’re a big part of our industry,” he said. “Willie K is just a monster of music and Brickwood has that smooth island jazz, just beautiful, beautiful stuff. They’re legends and to be in the line-up with these guys is a cool thing.”

Willie K took home Hokus for Male Vocalist of the Year in 1992 and 2010. A master of multiple musical styles equally comfortable with rock, blues and Hawaiian music, he’s maintained a busy performance schedule despite being diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2018.

“I am doing as well as I can be,” he said in an email last week. “My small cell lung cancer has spread to my bones but I am doing immunotherapy and keeping the cancer under control.”

Willie has played this month at festivals in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Lake Tahoe, Nev., as well as the Blue Note Hawaii in Waikiki and Mulligans on the Blue in Wailea, Maui. After the Hilo fundraiser, he’ll rack up more frequent-flyer miles, playing in Reno, Nev., and a series of Northern California dates.

Also in the works is the September release of a new album titled “Tropical Plantation Blues.”

”As you can tell by the title, it will consist of primarily blues songs reflecting on the old plantation days, but will share other experiences on Maui and around the world,” he explained.

Willie said he’d like to thank his fans “for their love, prayers and support for the last year-and-a-half.”

“This journey with cancer has been amazing,” he said. “Never thought of myself as an inspirational person, but I have been told that my Instagram videos have helped others stay positive while going thru the same challenge. But to be honest, it is the positive thoughts and prayers from everyone that keeps me going and fighting the fight.”

Asked why he said yes to this appearance in his namesake room, Willie said, “I am a very charitable person. I participate when I can.”

“Brickwood Galuteria is a special friend of mine and when he asks for favors I accept when possible. We did this event two years ago and it was fun,” he added.

Galuteria, a longtime radio personality who’ll also emcee the event, said Willie has lost about 100 pounds and is “looking good and feeling great.”

“He’s only got one speed — full speed ahead. That’s what he’s going to be bringing with him,” he said.

As for Galuteria, who completed 10 years of service in the state senate, he and Robi Kahakalau performed their duet single “Kalikoikawai” at the Hoku awards ceremony in May. Galuteria wrote the song with Puakea Nogelmeier contributing the Hawaiian lyrics. The recording also includes the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, plus musicians David Kauahikaua, Mike Seda and Kenneth Makuakane. Makuakane, a Hilo native, is a recording engineer who is also senior pastor at Honolulu’s historic Kawaiaha‘o Church, where the song was recorded.

“I called up Kenneth and asked, ‘How’s your studio in Kailua?’ And he told me, ‘You know, technology being what it is, we can record it here in the church,’” said Galuteria, who is chairman of Kawaiaha‘o’s Board of Trustees.

Galuteria said he, like Yamanaka and Willie K, are looking forward to both the show and doing what they can to kokua the museum and Hilo.

“If there’s any place that’s exclusive to tsunamis at this particular point, Hilo would have the greatest story to share,” he said. “That’s the reason we’ve chosen to come back again and support the Pacific Tsunami Museum, because of it’s good work and what it stands for — and the story that it shares.

“I can guarantee you it’s going to be a great show.”

Limited reserved seating is available for the benefit show. A premium table for eight in the front row is $1,500 and includes two bottles of wine. VIP booth seating for four is $600 and an upper-level table for four is $500. Both include a bottle of wine. Individual tickets are $75.


For tickets or more information, call the museum at 935-0926.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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