Kahauanu Lake remembered as musician, cultural icon - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kahauanu Lake remembered as musician, cultural icon

Kahauanu Lake at far left Kahauanu Lake at far left
May Parker Au May Parker Au
Walter Kawai'ae'a Walter Kawai'ae'a
Haunani Apoliona Haunani Apoliona
Service attendees stood up & danced hula in honor of Kahauanu Lake Service attendees stood up & danced hula in honor of Kahauanu Lake

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - He was a musical and cultural icon in the Hawaiian community. And hundreds remembered Kahauanu Lake Thursday night, and celebrated a legacy that will be passed down to generations to come.

Lake was born in Wailuku, Maui, and died on March 6 at the age of 79.

Hundreds came to bid farewell to him at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Waikiki, where he faithfully attended mass every morning at 6 a.m. To them, Lake's music was a large part of that legacy.

"His extended family is really overwhelming," said May Parker Au. "It's beautiful. All those that he has hanai'd because of his music, and all the halaus that have embraced his music too, the beautiful, beautiful music, yes."

Those that he hanai'd were grateful to learn from him, even if the lessons were long and demanding.

"Uncle said, 'You come to my home and I'll teach you how to play,' said hanai son Walter Kawai'ae'a, whom Lake taught when Kawai'ae'a was a sophomore at St. Louis High School. "And that was for three months, every day, seven days a week, into the evening, early in the morning. And that's probably my most precious time when I think about it now.

"He was definitely part of the renaissance of Hawaiian music, bringing 'ukulele to the forefront in a trio or a group. That was his thing," Kawai'ae'a added.

"He was quite an activist himself," said Haunani Apoliona, a trustee with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and a musician. "He had his ideas,, and he engaged people in it, and he said, 'Don't you wanna do it?' Pretty soon you're going along with the flow."

While they bid farewell to the man, his family and friends know that his music and his legacy live on.

"Kahauanu Lake has offered much to Hawaiian music tradition," Apoliona said. "He has also taught those that are going to carry on his tradition of music, as well as the manner in which he does his work. Always pushing for excellence."

"I have his 'ukuleles today," said Kawai'ae'a. "I teach to carry on his musical legacy and his tradition of his style of music."

At the service, as his song, Pua 'Ahihi filled St. Augustine's, women of all ages spontaneously got out of the pews, and danced hula in the aisles -- part of the legacy of Kahauanu Lake.

Related story: Musician Kahauanu Lake dies


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