If you are old enough, you may recall a Hawaiian Renaissance, starting in the early 1970s, where there was a resurgence of hula, traditional music, culture, and knowledge. Hawaiian composers were creating new, contemporary songs reflecting on being Hawaiian and living in Hawaii. Chucky Souza was one of those composers. His songs became recorded and performed by popular artists in Hawaii, nationally and internationally.
Known for his ability to write in a number of different genres, Chucky Souza's songs, though definitely his own style, are difficult to pinhole. Musically, he moves comfortably across jazz, rock, r&b, and Hawaiian lines. The twelve songs in his debut album, "Lava in their Soul," cover all those styles but still feel "contemporary Hawaiian." Lyrically relevant and mature, Chucky Souza, takes on issues honestly, unafraid, and says what we all feel with a decided Native Hawaiian perspective; he bares the "lava in their soul."
Sam Henderson, a Kamehameha Schools graduate, played Hawaiian music in the late 70’s in luau shows in Waikīkī and Japan through the mid 80’s with various groups. He played in the group Waipuna, with Kale Bannister; performed with Geanie Robertsons’s Hawaiians on inter-island cruises on the S.S. Independence; dinner cruises out of Kewalo Basin; and joined the Moe Keale Band for two years, ’89-‘91. Sam has played with John Lee and Jimmy Freudenberg in post-Billy Kaui Country Comfort. He also performed with, as well as played on Mihana Souza’s album “Rust on the Moon” (released in 2003). Sam has been playing with Greg Kekipi, Analu Aina, and Chucky Souza together as the group Kawai’olu since early 2000’s. He continues to maintain his solo gig at Mid-Pacific Country Club in Lanikai as well as performing for Japanese and International wedding productions.
Greg Kekipi started playing ukulele at the age of nine. After a couple of years he started playing slack key guitar, where it remained as his key instrument until eventually returning to the ukulele in the 90’s. Greg, also an avid surfer and waterman, has performed with artists such as Mihana Souza, Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai’i, Mike Ka’awa, Paul Kim, Ocean Kaowili, Ernie Cruz Jr., Titus Kinimaka, Todd Adamski, and Bruce Spencer, among others. The Waimanalo resident has also recorded at Father Psalms Studio with JahGumby of Ooklah the Moc and the Father Psalm’s All-Stars. Greg and Chucky, as Waimanalo neighbors, have known and performed with each other for over 35 years. Together with Sam Henderson, and Analu ‘Aina, the crew has been performing in their own group Kawai’olu, and as a back up for other artists for at least 15 years, covering everything from Spoken Word poets like Joe Balaz and ‘Imaikalani Kalahele to singers like Mihana to rock and jazz with Kevin Daley and Chucky Souza’s originals.
A second-generation musician originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Beau Leonidus has had the benefit of being exposed to some of the finest music around. Along with R & B and Jazz, many musical genres had (and continue to have) a major impact on Leonidus’ continuing development as a bassist. A journeyman musician, having logged almost three decades in a myriad of both cover and original projects, “seasoned” is the word that would best describe Leonidus’ playing. As a proud member of an indigenous tribe (Cherokee) with a history not unlike that of Hawai’i, he says: "…After I had heard only a couple of Chuck’s songs, it became clear to me: I had to play on this album.. I wanted to be Lava in their Soul’s bassist."
Kevin “The Hammer” Daley is a self-taught drummer sponsored by Mapex Drums and is well versed in every genre of music. Known for a strong feel for each song and style he plays, he specializes in jazz, funk, and blues. Kevin was the original drummer with many ground-breaking groups in Hawai’i such as Cecilio & Kapono, Summer, Nalu, Mackey Feary Band, Brother Noland and the Pacific Bad Boys, and Gruze Drizzle. He has played, recorded, or toured with many other well-known groups such as Randy Lorenzo Band, Keola and Kapono Beamer, Olomana, Country Comfort, Billy Kaui, Japanese star Haruko Kuwana, John Cruz, Aura, Mihana Souza, Henry Kapono Ka’aihue, Michael Paulo, Fab Four (winners of the 2007 Mai Tai Rumble), and many more. Together with bassist Beau Leonidus, they formed the “Cheroquois Rhythm Section” laying down the grooves for Tulsa, OK based acts such as The Patti Taylor Band and Shawn Pittman, among others. Now after playing music with and being friends for more than forty years, Kevin and Chucky have finally fulfilled a wish they’ve had for all those years…to record Chucky’s songs one day…That wish has come to pass… the lava in their souls has finally erupted.
Musically inspired from a young age, Kirk started and led bands. While still in high school, Kirk and DJ Pratt formed Pacific playing clubs in Waikiki. He later formed Kalapana with DJ, Mackey Feary, and Malani Bilyeu. The band went on to national fame becoming, along with C & K, one of the top groups to come out of Hawai’i, playing large venues nationwide and in Japan. Kirk went on to lead the jazz-fusion group, Lemuria as well as getting into the engineering and producing side of the industry. He worked with Don Ho and all the local recording studios, and started Spectrum Recording Studio and World Blend Records over 20 years ago where he has won Hoku awards and continues to record, produce, arrange, and teach recording engineering and techniques to aspiring young musicians. Kirk still gigs regularly with his smooth jazz offerings highlighting hot local jazz musicians and soloists.