Kapena is a Hawaiian music staple. Considered to be one of the state’s premier bands, the group has more than 20 albums to their name. With their unique, feel-good sound, Kapena continues to be an institution, embracing the love that islanders have had for the group for more than 30 years. Although the band has evolved significantly since its beginning in 1984, its founding member, Kelly Boy De Lima, now leads it through a new era. In the early 2000s, De Lima introduced Hawai‘i to the next generation of Kapena: his three children, Kapena, Kalena and Lilo.

“My children are always around it. They grew up in it,” De Lima explains. “They were just submerged in it, all their life. I would drag them to concerts and shows and rehearsals and we would still be at this house rehearsing, even with the old Kapena group. They just, one by one, started coming along… And I trained them all up in Waikiki, and you know, it’s continuing on. I got my grandson playing with me in Waikiki. He’s playing [drums]. He’s 10 years old. To just see the circle of life and how it has transpired is bigger than I ever dreamed. I thought, ‘Maybe the kids.’ But, when you get the grandkids joining the crew, it’s like, ‘Okay, I’m just overly blessed.’ I’m seeing things I didn’t even imagine. So it’s been a good run. Good time.”

In October 2017, Kapena released their first full-length album as a family band. The album, titled “Palena ʻOle,” won the group four awards at the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards in May 2018, including album of the year and group of the year. The new Kapena band means a new sound, a transition that De Lima full-heartedly welcomes.

“My grandson likes these TikTok videos and is like, ‘Wow, Papa, we got to learn this song.’ And it’s like, ‘What is TikTok?'” De Lima jokes. “Yeah, the youth is what I like about it, because it keeps it current. My daughter Lilo will bring up artists and stuff like that, and I’ve never heard of them. And I listen and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m digging this vibe.’ So we’re incorporating these kinds of things and infusing it into the Kapena sound. I think that’s what the beauty of it is when you have youth with the OG, the old school guy. Injecting all these different musical personalities into our music which is stimulating. And people are still vibing to it.”

Across the band’s 30 years and several generations of music, though, Kapena is still capturing the Hawaiian sound.

“Hawaiian music is its own entity,” De Lima said. “Its own genre. It’s our culture. It’s what is embedded into local people.”

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This Live from My Den Special Edition is made possible by The Hawaiian Islands with additional support from Creative Industries Division – Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), and Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA).