Gabby Pahinui

Roland Cazimero, Almost 3 Years After Onstage Illness

Robert Cazimero, musician and entertainer.

 

Roland Cazimero, who was hospitalized after falling ill in 2014 during The Brothers Cazimero’s Maui May Day concert, and who has since performed only rarely, speaks with me about his health challenges, personal life and career in a Long Story Short episode debuting Tuesday, April 25 at 7:30 pm on PBS Hawai‘i.

 

Roland, whose nickname is Bozo or Boz, still hadn’t discussed the state of his health with his older brother and longtime music partner, Robert Cazimero: “We just don’t.” But he believes Robert knows that the sun has set on their iconic performances.

 

A virtuoso of the 12-string guitar, Roland would let Robert, on bass, handle the artful and upbeat onstage oratory and the smooth segues between songs. Roland injected teasing; he also was a master of short, flippant remarks. Together, the Brothers drew crowds and created enduring fans with their beautiful, soaring music and their entertaining banter.

 

In our conversation, Roland speaks comfortably and at length about picking up music easily as a kid in a musical family, but never getting formal piano lessons like his brother Robert and his twin sister Tootsie, because he was “kolohe” (a rascal). Also as a keiki, he met the legendary singer/guitarist Gabby Pahinui, and was entrusted with buffing up Pahinui’s guitar. He laughs that Gabby never got his name right; Roland was always Ronald.

 

As an adult, he was a “rebel” and a “player,” or womanizer. He said Robert and their hula dancer, the late Leina‘ala Heine, would take care of devoted fans and “high makamakas,” and Roland would “hang with the hoodlums.” They were his friends, and he says almost all of them have died, some in prison.

 

Appearing at PBS Hawai‘i with his loyal wife and caregiver Lauwa‘e, Roland explains matter-of-factly that his partying lifestyle was bad for his health, which is still touch-and-go. The couple reveals that he’s been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

Now more of a homebody, Roland still writes songs and plays guitar, adjusting for his carpal tunnel condition. Lauwa‘e, who holds down an admin job when she’s not taking care of him, is his “best friend in the world,” he says – next to God, who’s “the best, period.”

 

One doctor told him plainly that he should make peace with his maker. “Done,” says Roland. While he’s still not always compliant with what the doctor says, he’s become a follower of Christ. When people ask about his health, Lauwa‘e likes to keep the answer short and sweet: “He’s alive.”

 

For any of us, that’s a gift.

 

Aloha a hui hou,
Leslie signature

 

The History of the Sons of Hawaii (2000)

 

Surveying 40 years of Hawai‘i’s rich musical traditions, this film tells the story of the Sons of Hawaii, the music group led by Eddie Kamae that helped launch the Hawaiian cultural renaissance.

 




Kī Hōʻalu: Slack Key, The Hawaiian Way (1993)

 

A collection of candid interviews and archival images, combined with the music of an array of virtuoso performers, this film tells the story of Hawaiian slack key. It depicts how this unique style of playing has become fundamental to Hawai‘i’s musical, cultural and familial traditions.

 





HIKI NŌ
Hawaian Value: Ho’omau

 

This is the premiere episode of HIKI NŌ Season 7, and the first in a series of six shows in which each episode focuses on a specific Hawaiian value.

 

The Hawaiian value for this show is ho’omau, which means to persevere, perpetuate, or continue.

 

The top story comes from the students at Maui High School, who follow former UH Wahine Volleyball star Cecilia Fernandez as she battles adenocarcinoma, a rare form of lung cancer. As a former athlete, Cecilia is used to contesting opponents by following a carefully devised game-plan. But because so little is known about this disease, Cecilia must persevere against an enemy she is not familiar with: uncertainty.

 

Also featured are these student stories:
Roosevelt High School on Oahu tell the story of Papahana Kuaola, a non-profit organization in Kaneohe that contributes to the preservation of Hawaiian culture through the preservation of land and native plants, public awareness and the use of chant.

 

Kapolei High School on Oahu profile Kapolei football player Papu Uti, who lost his leg from a debilitating accident but expects to return to playing football with a prosthetic leg.

 

Connections Public Charter School on Hawaii Island feature world-renowned slack key guitarist Cyril Pahinui, who continues his father Gabby Pahinui’s legacy by using his father’s teaching methods at workshops.

 

Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha Public Charter School on Kauai tells the story of teacher Hope Kaimi Strickland who, raised on Niihau Island, honors her deceased husband’s wishes for their children to learn her Hawaiian culture and Niihau Hawaiian dialect.

 

Waianae Intermediate School on Oahu feature fellow student Crystal Cebedo. Crystal deals with the uncontrollable aspects of her life, such as her mother’s cancer, by keeping busy and meeting life’s challenges.

 

Konawaena High School on Hawaii Island shows us how the Kona Historical Society built an authentic, old-fashioned Portuguese oven for baking bread as a part of its efforts to recreate the traditions of old Kona.

 

This episode of HIKI NŌ is hosted by students from Radford High School on Oahu.

 

This program encores Saturday, Aug. 6 at 12:30 pm and Sunday, Aug. 7 at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website, www.pbshawaii.org/hikino.