Album: The Sound Of Young Hawai`i
CD Id: SLCD-7001
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||You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
||Two By Two
||Kona Kai Opua
||We'll Sing In The Sunshine
||Gentle On My Mind
||Welcome To My World
||Goodnight Leilani E
||The New U.S.E.D.
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Phone: (404) 934-9226
YOUNG is the mood;
YOUNG is the beat;
YOUNG is the Hawaii of Al Lopaka and the Leahi's.
And they come by their "young sound" honestly. The average age of the five Leahi's is just 21 — and star Al is only a few years older. But it's more than a question of age. Al and the group — working together about a year and a half now — have the "feel" of young Hawaii, and they autograph every song, whether it's a pop tune, standard or Hawaiian melody, with their own unique, young personality. That's why Al and the Leahi's were chosen as the first recording artists to appear on the new Lehua Records label. The young musicians are well known on the nightclub circuits of all Hawaii's major islands. They have appeared at Hawaii Town, Hana Ho and Hale Ho on Oahu, Nalea Hotel on Hawaii and the Castaways on Kauai. Not to mention a stint at the Town & Country in Seattle, Washington . . . where they found audiences "different" at first, but very soon transformed into enthusiastic fans of Lopaka, Leahi's and all things Hawaiian.
Velvety-voiced Al sets the pace. His smooth, rich voice swings from soft and romantic to big and dramatic in a free-wheeling style that is deceptively effortless and as relaxed as a cat in the sunshine. But easy and informal as Al's delivery is, he is a dedicated artist who drives himself and his group hard to maintain his perfectionist standards. Born and raised on the island of Lanai, Al attended La Crosse State University for two years before returning to the Islands to do his musical thing "for real." He sang and played guitar at Kilani's and Honey's in rural Oahu for a few years, attracting a large following of local fans who continue to show up wherever Al may be working. Then he discovered the Leahi's and a new thing happened.
Leader of the Leahi's is Randy Ahlo, 20, a graduate of St. Louis High School and of a rock 'n roll group called "The Renegades." Randy plays piano and organ simultaneously, separately and consecutively in more combinations that seem possible with just two hands . . . besides serving as the link that welds the Leahi's to Al and vice versa.
On drums is Billy Williams, 19, McKinley High school graduate and once the mainstay of the rock 'n roll "Rifles."
The "old men" of the group are Kaipo Yomes, graduate of Hilo High on the Big Island, and George Watson, Roosevelt High grad, both 23. George — an alumnus of the "Surfettes" combo — plays bass and Kaipo plays the vibes and composes some of the original songs performed by Al and the Leahi's.
Individually, each of the Leahi's is a talented, polished entertainer; all together, they create a sound that is alive, new and as beautifully blended as Hawaii's golden races. All of them sing — and well! — and their onstage patter is spontaneous and engaging. Backing Al, the Leahi's add the texture of an up-tempo "now" rhythm to Al's mellow, take-it-easy voice. Listen for the haunting sound of the hula and Hawaiian chant... for the gentle sound of lovers in love ... for the "today" sound of hope and happiness.
Anita Liptak Honolulu Magazine
An avid polo player, Al Lopaka was killed in a polo accident at Mokuleia on June 23, 1985 at the age of 42.