This is a story of playing music with one Hawaii’s legendary entertainers. My mother-in-law is Diana Aki, and she won three Na Hoku Hanohano awards in Hawaii back in 1993. Mom Diane was getting very popular and was featured in one of many concerts held at the Waikiki Shell.
Diana Aki is a very famous entertainer from the big island of Hawaii. She is known for her music, dance, and story-telling. Her song, “Mana’o Pili” won her three Na Hoku Hanohano awards in Hawaii. These awards are the equivalent to the Grammy Awards but are for Hawaii entertainers. Winning the awards has made her a much sought after personality’
Mom Diane was to be one of the headliners featured at the first annual Shalangalang Concert held at the Waikiki Shell. She shared the limelight with local superstars like Peter Moon, Cyril Pahinui, Keola Beamer, and Aunty Genoa Keawe. She was to play with Aunty Genoa Keawe after she played her songs on stage. The exciting part was that I was the bass player for my mom!
The stage was huge, and there was standing room only in the Waikiki Shell seating area. The people were screaming and singing along as we sang mom’s hit song! I’ve played in concerts before, but not in one with thousands of elated fans. I was in awe to see so many people enjoying themselves. The best part of this experience was that I got to meet other legendary entertainers. Prior to performing on the main stage, I got to jam with a couple of musicians whom I looked up to since I was 5 years old. It was because of these Hawaiian icons I became a professional entertainer.
Playing music with my mother-in-law and jamming with local legends is an experience I will never forget. This is one of many stories I wanted to share with my readers because there are not too many people in Hawaii who have this kind of opportunity. Hopefully, this story can shed some light on what Hawaiian entertainers contribute to the community and how important they are to the culture.