March 20 is Robert Cazimero’s “39th” birthday, and he’s traditionally celebrating the whole month.

One “party” was his Full Moon concert last night (March 3), at Chef Chai’s, his monthly sold-out gig. But more on this later.

Cazimero, pictured below, is kumu hula of Halau Na Kamalei O Likolehua, the all-gents group of dancers, and the halau and its leader are staging a benefit  for the halau at 7:30 p.m. March 17 at Leeward Community Theatre.

Themed “Pae ‘Aina,” the show – still in planning and rehearsing mode – will feature an all-kahiko for Act 1, according to kumu. A unique Act 2 will assemble the halau troupers in three groups (senior dancers, mid-range dancers, and newbie-younger dancers), to reflect the spectrum of the halau members, according to Cazimero.

The show is sort of a prelude to next year’s milestone for kumu Cazimero –- “my 50th anniversary as a hula teacher,” he said —  and the halau will return to the Merrie Monarch Festival in 2025. So, it will be a memorable niche in the halau’s history…

But back to Cazimero’s show at Chai’s. It was a marvelous overview including usual serenades of Hawaiian music, in Hawaiian and in English, plus a nostalgic roster of pop tunes. The result; a lei laced with layers of memories and remembrances, of joy and humor, and nostalgic anecdotes from the past.

Robert Cazimero, on keyboards, with dancer Fern (Kapalai ‘Ula Silva).


  • The first song he learned with brother Roland, before they became part of Sunday Manoa and then The Brothers Cazimero was “The Nearness of You,” emblematic of their bond that would establish the bros as a bona fide Waikiki entity, for several decades, including their 1982 to 1994 residency at the Monarch Room, at the fabled “Pink Palace,” aka the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Naturally, Cazimero sang “Royal Hawaiian Hotel,” a classic melody combining Hawaiian and English lyrics.
  • The mentors who taught him chords and the tricks of the piano were the legendary Mahi Beamer and Loyal Garner.
  • Tunes still lodged in his memory book, from visits to Disneyland in the past: “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo,”  and he sang ‘em all. Even “Meeska, Mooska, Mickey Mouse,” the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song that today’s kids don’t know.

Bully (Keola Makaiau), dancing to “Leahi,” but victim of a mistake.

  • His playful moments with featured hula dancers Fern (Kapalai ‘Ula Silva) and Bully (Keola Makaiau) reflected comradery; she was the focus of “Lovely Hula Hands,” with her hula hands graceful as the birds mentioned in the tune; he was the victim of making an error in enacting “Leahi,” the melody about Diamond Head, and the playful miscue meant the dancer had to buy the singer-pianist a drink.
  • The drink led to the obvious toast and tune, “Drinking Champagne,” with intermittent pauses for Cazimero to take a sip of bubbly.

Don’t expect to hear these songs or chit-chats in future Full Moon Concerts at Chai’s, since Cazimero never repeats and regurgitates his patter and patterns. You get an original each time he’s at bat…

And that’s Show Biz…

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