Kalapana is a band that has left an unforgettable mark on the music industry. Formed in 1973 by childhood friends DJ Pratt and Malani Bilyeu, the group quickly rose to fame with their songs “Naturally” and “The Hurt”. After auditioning at Rainbow Villa for Cecilio & Kapono, they began to write songs and rehearse in Pratt's grandfather's garage with Mackey Feary, another soloist at the Oar House. The literal translation of the word “Kalapana” is “to make money flow”, but the band members had different interpretations of the name.
The group's first concert was held at Chuck's in Hawaii, Kai and they soon became a regular band at a Honolulu 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. In 1975, they released their self-titled debut album Kalapana, with Jackie Kelso on sax and flute, Bill Perry on bass and Larry Brown on drums. The album was a great success in Hawaii and Japan and Kalapana won several Nani Awards.
After the release of their 1979 album Northbound, Randy Aloya left the group shortly after its release and Malani Bilyeu and Michael Paulo also left after the album's tour ended. In 1980, DJ Pratt and Alvin Fejarang continued as Kalapana and released Hold On and the live album Japan Jam Live, both released only in Japan. On December 26, 1982, Bilyeu, Feary, Thompson, Fejarang, Paulo and Aloya gave a one-night concert at Kalapana Live Reunion in Waikiki with Hawaiian guitarist John Rapoza replacing Pratt. Kalapana reunited as a quintet in 1986 with Bilyeu, Feary and Pratt as well as Gaylord Holomalia (keyboards) and Kenji Sano (electric bass).
They released a successful comeback album Hurricane which was presented at a release party at the Rascals nightclub in Waikiki. In 1997, they released the Hawaiian version of Captain Santa Island Music with notes from international radio DJ Kamasami Kong. More recently, they released The Very Best of Kalapana in Japan which is a compilation of twenty songs. Kalapana has had an immense influence on other genres of music.
Their live versions of two Kalapana III songs (Inarajan (The Village) and Girl) show the band in a high-energy state with a raw and less polished sound than in studio productions. They have also received multiple invitations to perform at the music industry's prestigious NAMM Show in Los Angeles, California. Director Gary Capo gave Kalapana the chance to shoot his surf documentary Many Classic Moments which helped them gain a new audience in Japan. The band has created a unique sound that mixes soul, AOR, jazz and rock to create music that is perfectly suited to Hawaii's relaxed lifestyle.
EMKE has also placed songs with Manhattan Transfer, Diana Ross, Bette Midler and Leo Sayer which has helped them reach an even wider audience. Kalapana has been able to create music that pays homage to their roots in classic rock while still being able to incorporate modern influences such as All Time Low and Go Radio. Kalapana has had an undeniable impact on other genres of music over the years. Their unique sound has been embraced by fans all over the world who have been captivated by their music for decades.
From their self-titled debut album to their most recent compilation album The Very Best of Kalapana, this band has made an indelible mark on music history.