Island Mele: ‘Makaha Sons Memoirs’

Nov. 24, 2015 | 0 Comments


Jerome Koko has sustained the legacy of the group first known as the Mahaka Sons of Ni’ihau and then as the Makaha Sons by working with other musicians under the name Makaha Sons & Friends.

makaha sons memoirs


Jerome Koko and Daniel Ho (Daniel Ho Creations)

For this project Koko has gone in a new direction and partnered with Grammy Award-winning producer/recording artist Daniel Ho. Koko does almost all the singing and plays guitar. Ho provides all the other instruments and does a bit of background singing. It is an inspired partnership.

Among the 12 songs are some that are relevant to the history of the group, others to Koko personally, and one or two to the Sons’ previous work with Ho. The most poignant by far is “Just a Little,” a requiem for Koko’s brother written by Del Beazley the day after John Koko died in 2012.

Jerome describes his early days on the Oahu’s west side and the birth of the original Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau in five pages of liner notes. The illustrations include a view of the 1964 Rambler used by the original quintet — Koko, Louis “Moon” Kauakahi, Sam Gray, Skippy Kamakawiwo’ole and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole — to go from Waianae to their gigs in town.

It is customary in Hawaii to not speak ill of the dead. For that reason the circumstances of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s abrupt departure from the Sons in 1993 are rarely mentioned today. Koko might have something to say about it at some future date, but it’s clear he intends these memories to be only happy ones.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at

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