A Visit With Mark Yamanaka – Part 1
My trip to Hilo in May 2014 was mostly for Rebecca’s graduation from The University Of Hawaii-Hilo. Fortunately it included opportunities to spend time with some local musicians and teachers. Mark Yamanaka is a young Hawaiian player who released his first album, Lei Pua Kenikeni in 2010. It was well received by critics and fans, and went on to win four Na Hoku Hanohano awards, including Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year. He is up for ten with his second release, Lei Maile and our visit was done just two weeks before the 2013 awards were going to be announced.
We started with a traditional Hawaiian song, then talked about his personal history, growing up in Hilo, how he came to be a musician, about the Hawaiian tradition of male falsetto vocalists, the difficulty of singing in the Hawaiian language, and ended with a look at his first album Lei Pua Kenikeni.