Kui Lima has been performing together since 2004. Starting as a band that did
Hawaiian music at weddings, they have created music (from heartwarming to humorous) that are
influenced by other genres such as classical, jazz, and rock. The band consists of four members:
Daniel, Gina, Ben, and Reid. Kui Lima has performed at events around O`ahu and has even traveled to Japan.
The thought of Kui Lima began when Daniel was practicing with two older gentlemen various covers of music
with an intent to perform. Daniel was working as a music teacher at a private school as well as trying achieve
his graduate degree in education, so these sessions were a welcomed relief for him. After a few practice sessions,
one of the men talked about adding a bass guitar. Since Daniel had some picking solos on the `ukulele, he
approached a college friend, Ben, and asked him to join up with them. Eventually, the older gentlemen decided
that performing wasn’t for them, but Daniel and Ben decided to continue.
It was at this time, that Daniel approached another friend from college, Gina, with an idea of forming a group
of all `ukulele, and maybe even record an album. To enhance the sound of the high pitched `ukulele, they’d use
a baritone `ukulele, rather than a guitar, and (whenever they would be able to acquire one) to use a bass `ukulele,
which wasn’t existing in the market at the time (but Daniel swears to have seen one that was Hawaiian made in a
local `ukulele store in Waikiki for $2000). The idea came because of three reasons. One, it was a sound that Daniel
desired to have for the group. He was particularly fond of the baritone `ukulele sound. Two, to show that the `ukulele
was very versatile. Three, it was difficult to find guitarists in their circle of friends that would be willing to play, and
in this set up any one of them could switch between the instruments.
As the three practiced, they were approached to do a performance at a large dinner party, and were joined by two
other members. The other two also played `ukulele and one would become the lead vocalist. The performance
was a tremendous success, but the two additional members departed from the group, leaving the three: Daniel,
Ben, and Gina. After another performance at a wedding with Daniel as the new lead vocalist he expressed his
desire to write original music and share it with others, and hopefully to bring happiness to others. He expressed
the idea that music was a thing to be shared, that the `ukulele was a humble instrument, and a musical instrument,
so he did not want to do continue the group if the purpose was solely to “get famous.” Gina agreed with the intent,
as well as Ben, who also wanted to create music, the three decided to focus on this as their goal. Daniel then asked
his high-school acquaintance and college friend, Reid to join the group as a percussionist and trombonist. Reid had
been assisting them with rehearsals and performances up until then, and Daniel had an idea to use the trombone
for some of the music he was writing.
During a “talk-story” session in the midst of a rehearsal, the four realized that even before forming this group, they
had been become friends through supporting each other during trying times, and their friendship had grown.
The name, Kui Lima, which can be translated to “arm in arm” was then chosen for this meaning.
As Kui Lima, they began to perform at weddings. As they performed, they began to write more original music
resulting in recording their first album. During their creation of their first album, they had finally the funds to
purchase a bass `ukulele, which had become available in mass production, and a little more affordable.
Kui Lima then continued to perform for weddings and other events, such as the `Ukulele Picnic and Church
Bazaars, and also they often go to retirement homes to perform. They also have performed in Nara,
Aichi, Tokyo and Gifu areas of Japan.
MEET THE BAND:
Lead Vocals, `Ukulele, Baritone `Ukulele
Daniel is the founder and leader of the band Kui Lima, or at least that’s his title.
He has performed as a musician and dancer, and passes these experiences to his students.
Daniel studied music and education at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, and was a vocal
student of Masae Ishizu in Japan. Currently, he is a music teacher at Kalani High School,
teaching Orchestra, Polynesian Music, and Creative Dance; the latter two of which he had
personally established. He also rejuvenated the chorus program at Kalani, which is now taught
by another teacher, due to the size of the music program at Kalani.
Daniel is also a composer of music. Daniel´s compositions have been performed by the Hawai`i
Youth Symphony Organization, Mizunami Civic Symphony Orchestra, Koseto Brasswood Band,
Honolulu Wind Ensemble, O`ahu Civic Orchestra, Tenri Music Institute and Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra.
When tired, he would sometimes come up with impromptu songs which are humorous, and
some that have made its way to the sheet music (“Old Fut Hula” and “My Pet Kimo” are two examples).
He would also fall asleep if a beautiful piece of music is performed well. Yes, there are times when he isn’t tired.
`Ukulele, Baritone `Ukulele
Gina, the real leader of the band, Kui Lima, is an active animal lover and teacher. Gina has been playing
`ukulele since the age of 6. She studied under `ukulele master, Roy Sakuma for approximately 10 years. She
has performed with various groups and venues on her `ukulele.
She brings to the group, not only her talent, but her odd sense of humor, which is why we don’t mic her…
(maybe we should…) She also has unique life experiences, which sometimes are brought to life in our music
(“Cucumber Salad” and “Blackened Salmon” are examples).
Currently, she teaches `ukulele at `Ukulele Hale and works at a local high school as an Educational
Assistant. Gina also plays music with the Honolulu Wind Ensemble, Oahu Civic Orchestra, and
Harmonisch Blasorchester Hawai`i on her clarinet.
Vocals, Bass `Ukulele
Ben plays the bass `ukulele and also does vocals. He is currently too busy to send us a proper bio…
Percussion and Trombone
Getting together with his good friends, Reid began his role in Kui Lima as the Sound Guy, roadie,
equipment guy, eventually becoming the miscellaneous percussion, then Trombonist of the group.
Adding to the group of `Ukulele, a mix of Shakers, Castanets, Cajon, Trombone and other small
percussion instruments creates a sound and style unique to Kui Lima.
Reid has been playing the Trombone since intermediate school, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music from
the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. He has performed locally and internationally on Bass Trombone
in various community bands and orchestras and ensembles. Although specializing on Bass Trombone,
he is knowledgeable about all Trombone literature and adept on Tenor Trombone (and sometimes
Alto Trombone!). He is also the co-founder of Ka Nui Trombone Ohana, a Trombone choir consisting
of Trombonists, Tubists and other Trombone/ Low Brass Enthusiasts.