James ‘Bla’ Pahinui

Bla on Bla

BLA 101 Cover ArtJames Daniel Pahinui “Bla”

1. Hale‘iwa Honky Tonk

2. Sanoe (Queen Lili‘uokalani)

3. Silhouettes (Bob Crewe)

4. Kaua‘i Beauty (Henry Wai‘au)

5. Two of Us (Paul McCartney & John Lennon)

6. Just a Closer Walk with Thee (Anonymous)

7. The Christmas Song (Mel Torme)

8. Ho‘oheno Kēia No Beauty (John K. Almedia, John Noble & Latouche)

9. Jingle Bells (James Lord Pierpont)

10. Mokulē‘ia Hale O Akau (James Daniel ‘Bla’ Pahinui & Sean Thibadeaux)

11. When You Wish Upon a Star (Leigh Harline & Ned Washington)

I hear my dad say in my heart, ‘be you, not me.’ That’s how these songs come to me.

I got HALE‘IWA HONKY TONK riding on the bus. Instead of Gabby’s Hale‘iwa Hula, I hear James Brown in my head.
My version of SANOE came to me in my sleep. I heard, “slow it down, then slow it down some more, then way down – more like a chant.” Jake Shimabukuro dropped in with his ‘ukulele, and added heart to the soul.
SILHOUETTES is about my Ko‘olau Boys Home days back in the ‘50’s. And my love of group harmony.
My wife’s favorite song that I sing is KAUA‘I BEAUTY. I hear Gabby’s voice sing it and it makes me cry. My version is more bluesy doo-wop with Shoji Ledward’s riffs answering. I sing it to honor Susan and Solomon Kanoho who live on Kaua‘i and embody the island’s spirit.
As a Beatles fan, I always wanted to do TWO OF US, only slower. It feels like riding home with my wife, taking the scenic route.
JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE was one of mom’s favorites. Emily Pahinui played organ at church. When I sing it, I feel her next to me. Dedicated to Jeff Johnson, Jack Johnson’s dad and Hale‘iwa’s man of the waves and protector of the ‘āina.
THE CHRISTMAS SONG is my dad’s kind of song. Shoji jumped in with jazz guitar. I sing. Shoji jumps back in and riffs again.
My driving home song is HO‘OHENO KēIA NO BEAUTY with a bounce to it – jazzed up Mexican/Rock/Stones music my dad liked.
JINGLE BELLS never jingled like this before. It’s a slow doo-wop. I sing it to honor the late Gerald Scoville, father of Gerry Scoville, my dear police officer friend and hero on the job.
MOKULē‘IA HALE O AKUA was inspired by a night in 1997 when hundreds of people went to Ka‘ena Point to see the Hale-Bopp Comet. Originally an instrumental, I asked Sean Thibadeaux to write some lyrics. The words “watchful shepherds” make me think of Sgt. Dennis Ono keeping the beach clean, gathering others to be shepherds too.
My favorite song as a kid was WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR. That character, Jiminy Cricket, made us all believe.