We bring joyous news to all of you from everyone in the Makaha Sons’ ‘Ohana. On Friday, September 7, 2007, the leader of the Makaha Sons, Louis “Moon” Kauakahi, wed the gorgeous Kyoko Yamamoto in a beautiful beachside wedding at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. On one of the hotel’s luscious green courtyards, Moon took his place at the wedding arch and emotions flowed as Kyoko approached while Kahu Kawika Kahiapo oversaw the proceedings. An intimate ceremony attended by family and friends began as onlookers from the surrounding beach gathered, many not knowing that they were watching what amounted to a Royal Wedding in the Hawaiian music community.
After the ceremony, the bridal party made their way up to the hotel’s Maui ballroom for an evening of feasting on typical Hawaiian lu‘au fare that was enhanced by fresh seafood and poi brought in from Ni‘ihau by the Kauakahi ‘Ohana. Truly a feast fit for a King, well in our case, a General! Over three hundred guests were in attendance and, as would be expected for one so highly respected in the Hawaiian music community, many of the attendees were accomplished musicians in their own rights. Robert Cazimero serenaded as the newly wed couple entered to cheers and applause. The moment brought tears to many in the crowd because the joy that beamed from Moon and Kyoko was taken to an even higher level because of Robert’s gorgeous voice and piano accompaniment.
The evening began with Hau‘oli Akaka giving the opening prayer and as everyone made their way to the buffet, Hoku Zuttermeister and Chris Kamaka took their places on the stage and entertained everyone throughout dinner.
Next up, Cyril Pahinui played slack key and sang classics, including his father’s infamous “Hi‘ilawe”, as best-man Reynold Tamayei told hilarious stories of past experiences with Moon as they worked together at the Hawaii Army National Guard. Tony Tauvela stepped up to the mic to toast Moon and Kyoko.
As the events of the evening progressed, the typical reception antics ensued, including the tossing of the bouquet and garter, and the cutting of the beautiful wedding cake. With all of the musicians in attendance, guests were treated to some of the best in Hawaiian music by performers such as Na Hoa, Na Kama, Ho‘okena, Keali‘i Reichel, Sean Na‘auao and Robi Kahakalau. Some of Hawai‘i’s most well-known dancers and Kumu Hula joined in to share the gift of dance with everyone including Sonny Ching, Nani Dudoit, Pohai Kalima, Manu Boyd, Chinky Mahoe, Shelsea Ai and to the cheers of everyone, Moon himself! Many other dancers joined the musicians on stage as the beauty of the music of Hawai‘i filled the evening; it was moving to see so many people sharing their mana‘o and talent with everyone in attendance.
To show their appreciation for all in attendance, the Makaha Sons, including leader Moon, changed from their groomsmen attire of tuxedoes to more stage-fitting aloha shirts and treated the audience to a mini-Makaha Sons concert lead off by Kamali‘i O Ka Po/Wailuanuiahoano accompanied by the beautiful dancers of Halau Hula O Kawaili‘ula and Jerome’s little granddaughter, the vivacious Sissy Koko. While the Sons were on stage, they called upon the voices of Melveen Leed and Natalie Ai Kamauu who brought the audience to their feet with applause that shook the hotel!
In a twist to the bride/groom first dance, Moon gave the audience a treat by performing “Lei Pua Gardenia” with John and Jerome while his bride, Kyoko who is an accomplished hula dancer with her halau, danced hula for the audience. This moment was particularly touching as Moon explained that this song was written as a gift to his new bride. The tears flowed once again as the beauty of this brand new musical arrangement covered the audience with the signature Makaha Sons wall of harmony while Kyoko gracefully danced hula with obvious joy welling up in her eyes.
An evening that we will never forget came to an end while Moon and Kyoko met everyone as we left the ballroom.
Click here to view Moon's Wedding gallery