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|Origin||Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.|
|Genres||Rock and roll, folk rock, soft rock|
|Labels||Abattoir Records, Bluewater Records, Pony Canyon Records, OTB Records, Manifesto Records|
|Members||David John Pratt|
Malani Bilyeu (deceased)
In 1973, childhood friends David John (DJ) Pratt and Carl James Malani Bilyeu auditioned at the Rainbow Villa for Cecilio & Kapono. Malani was soloing at the Oar House in Hawaii Kai and DJ was downstairs at Chuck's in Sunlight with Kirk Thompson. They got together in DJ's grandfather's garage with Bryant Mackey Feary, another solo act, playing at the Oar House. They wrote songs, rehearsed, and at one point discussed the meaning of Kalapana. The literal translation of the word "Kalapana" is "sprouting money". Kirk said the meaning was "beat of the music", but he wanted "Dove" anyway. DJ thought it meant "Black Sand". Regardless, they named themselves Kalapana, playing their first gig at Chuck's in Hawaii Kai.
They became a regular band at a club called "The Toppe Ada Shoppe". They opened concerts for Earth, Wind & Fire, Batdorf & Rodney, The Moody Blues, Sly & The Family Stone, and Cecilio & Kapono. They released their first, self-titled album, Kalapana, which included Jackie Kelso on sax and flute, Bill Perry on bass and Larry Brown on drums.
Kalapana performed a three–concert event at the Waikiki Shell during the span of June 25-27, 1976, where 25,000 people attended. In 1977, they helped select the entrants for the "Home Grown" album project.
Kalapana won several Nani Awards, the predecessor to the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. They were nominated for four categories and received "Best Performance by a duo or group", and "Best Male Vocalist" for Mackey, who had split from the group and joined Billy Kaui (Country Comfort).
The group reorganized to include Randy Aloya, replacing Mackey, who was pursuing a solo career, DJ, Malani, Kirk, Michael and Alvin. The reorganized group included Kimo Cornwell (formerly with Beowolf and later with Hiroshima) on keyboards, toured in Japan and released "Kalapana Live In Japan" (Sun Plaza), "Northbound", and "Kalapana Alive at Yokohama". DJ, as Kalapana, also released "Hold On" and a solo LP "Branded".
In 1983 Bilyeu, Feary, Thompson, Fejarang, Paulo and Aloya played a one-night "Kalapana Live Reunion" concert at the Waikiki with Hawaii guitarist John Rapoza standing in for Pratt. Kalapana then went dormant for several years while the various members pursued separate projects.
In 1986, Kalapana reunited as a quintet -- Bilyeu, Feary and Pratt plus Gaylord Holomalia (keyboards) and Kenji Sano (electric bass) -- and recorded a successful "come back" album, Hurricane. Kalapana presented the album at a release party at Rascal Discothèque in Waikiki. The invitations were sent out with singles from the album; roses and T-shirts were given away at the venue.
For the "Hurricane" concert, the band wore suits. For the song "Living Without You", the band was brought out wearing white zoot suit dinner jackets with red velvet bow ties. Kenji, Mackey, Malani, and DJ performed choreography during the concert while Gaylord anchored the group on keyboards.
Kalapana released "Lava Rock" in 1987, and performed with Hiroshima, a Japanese-American group from southern California, and Anri, musicians from Japan; Kalapana played at the grand opening of the Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu. They performed in the Philippines for crowds of 10,000 people at two sold-out concerts, toured Japan, the West Coast US, Tahiti, Samoa, Guam, Saipan, and outer islands; their first feature length video of the Lava Rock Concert was taped at the Waikiki Shell. Kalapana toured Japan with Michael Paulo, who was then with Al Jarreau's band, and Tris Imboden, the drummer for Chicago. Following, Kalapana had a five album deal with Pony Canyon Records.
In 1997, Kalapana released the Hawaii version of "Captain Santa Island Music" with liner notes by international radio DJ Kamasami Kong. More recently, Kalapana released in Japan another CD titled "The Very Best of Kalapana", which is a compilations of 20 of their songs.
After battling drugs, drug treatment programs, and relapses, Mackey Feary was sentenced to prison. On February 20, 1999, Feary hanged himself in his jail cell. Feary's problems, and eventual suicide, called attention to the patterns of drug addiction and mental health and treatment needs.
During the summer of 1999, Kalapana released "Love Under the Sun", the title song for FM Nagoya's compilation CD, which was used for FM Nagoya's Summer Campaign. Also, they recorded the theme song for the Asahi Super Cup, a series of sailboat races held off the coast of Oahu. Both recordings were done at TK Disc Studios, which are Japanese recording artist/producer Tetsuya Komuro's recording studios in Hawaii.
In November 2002, the group released the studio album The Blue Album. Two songs off of the said album feature Maurice Bega on vocals. Guest artists included the group Chant singing background vocals on "Ten Years After" (written by Komuro), Tris Imboden from the band Chicago on "Another Lonely Night", Michael Paulo on saxophone, and Pauline Wilson and Garin Poliahu on drums. James Studer appears throughout the CD with arrangements and keyboards.
Kalapana continues to tour and record in Japan and the West Coast. The releases, to date, on Pony Canyon are: "Back In Your Heart Again", "Kalapana Sings Southern All-Stars", and "Walk Upon the Water". The fourth LP, "Full Moon Tonight", was released at the time of the royal wedding in Japan in June 1995, and included a new version of "Hawaiian Wedding Song" done R & B style. Their latest album on Pony Canyon Records, "Captain Santa Island Music", consists of songs written for a clothing line in Japan. Each album contains new arrangements of Kalapana classics and newly written songs.
As of 2009, the band members were Malani, DJ, bassist Kenji Sano, and keyboardist Gaylord Holomalia.
Kalapana received the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. The recipients were Bilyeu, Feary (posthumously), Pratt, Thompson, Fejarang, Paulo, Aloya, Holomalia and Sano.
The early recordings of Kalapana were originally released on Abattoir Records, a label based in Los Angeles and owned by Ed Guy. However, Guy never paid any royalties, and the band received nothing from Guy for approximately forty years. In June 2017, the original members of the band (with Feary's son and heir Sebastian Feary) sued Guy in federal court in Los Angeles, for rescission of the mid-1970s agreements. The case was settled quickly, and Guy transferred all of his rights back to the band, including all music publishing rights.
As a result, the band took control of the recordings and all the music publishing and arranged for a full box set and "best of" package to be released. These two collections were released on November 30, 2018, by Manifesto Records.
On Sunday, November 20, 2016, Kalapana, performed in Honolulu with the Honolulu Youth Symphony with a line-up of Bilyeu, Pratt, Holomalia, Aloya (bass guitar), John Valentine (guitar), Garin Poliahu drums and Todd Yukimoto (sax).
On December 27, 2018, Malani died of a heart attack on Kaua'i, at the age of 69.