The Songs

Marooned on the Mainland

Stuck in traffic on a snowy winter morning
It fell upon him savagely and without warning
A sudden realization that he might be stranded
Unable to escape the place where he had landed

Marooned on the mainland
A tropic moon called his name and
All the fishes in the sea and the coconut trees
Invaded every single thought until it drove him to his knees.

His boss cut him loose due to his short attention span
So with his head in his hands he began to form a plan
He sold his beat up Pontiac and gave away his cat
Bought a ticket to Tahiti and big straw hat

Marooned on the mainland
A tropic moon called his name and
All the fishes in the sea and the coconut trees
Invaded every single thought until it drove him to his knees.

From Robert Louis Stevenson to Paul Gaugin
Something deep inside 'em told 'em just get goin'
They didn't have much money and they didn't need their friends
They just jumped in head first and they started to swim

Everyone was shocked when we heard his plane went down
They looked for several weeks but no one could be found
It was a pretty quiet funeral, there wasn't much to say
'Cept we all agreed the dude would have it no other way

Marooned on the mainland
A tropic moon called his name and
All the fishes in the sea and the coconut trees
Invaded every single thought until it drove him to his knees.

A couple years later I was fishing in the tide
I saw an old green bottle with a message inside
It read, "me and 3 stewardesses survived the ocean
Send rum and a lighter and some suntan lotion"

I'm Marooooooned on an island
A tropic mooooooon is always smilin' and my amber wahines
and this soft island breeze
caress my every living day out in these Polynesian seas.

Words and music by pablus(BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

Hello, I Love You & Goodbye (The Aloha Song)

In Hawaii all the ladies look lovely
Each a vision of beauty, Like a ginger lei
But their vocabulary is very contrary
You need a dictionary to understand what they say

So when I meet a sweet wahine, ask her back to my place
I don't know if I'll get lucky or get slapped in the face
Because aloha means hello, I love you and goodbye.

By the ocean, hula maidens in motion
There's a popular notion that they talk with their hands
Lazy nights when I linger, ask each out for a Stinger
All I get is "the finger." I guess they've got other plans.

So when I meet a sweet wahine, ask her back to my place
I don’t know if I'll get lucky or get slapped in the face
Because aloha means hello, I love you and goodbye.

One day I will meet her,
my ipo by the sea
And on that day I will pay
To bring a translator with me.

The Hawaiian language has my tongue in a bandage
Why, I can barely manage to say
I need to learn it wiki wiki
But the pronunciation's tricky
So for now I'll say "aloha" and goodnight.

Because aloha means hello, I love you
Aloha means hello, I love you
Aloha means hello, I love you, and goodbye.

Words and music by Ken Kanaka (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

Bamboo Ben

Hard luck and bad news, sleeping at the beach
I thought my sanity was drifting out of reach
Hard work and bamboo, from a passing stranger's hands,
built me a shelter on that grey and musty sand

Bamboo Ben, Bamboo Ben
There was a time he was my only friend
When I was broken he taught me how to bend
And like a bamboo shoot to rise up tall again,
o-Oh. o-Oh.

Early each morning, I'd see his steady stride
Shoring that hut to make sure I was warm and dry
His words they stuck with me until this very day, he said...
Take pride in what you do then give yourself away...

Bamboo Ben, Bamboo Ben
There was a time he was my only friend
When I was broken he taught me how to bend
And like a bamboo shoot to rise up tall again,
o-Oh. o-Oh.

It wasn't long before my strength was returning
I was learning… What my life was for...
With my own hands I built those shelters for others
My lost sisters and brothers
On that very shore… and many more.

Now, I build palaces for rich and mighty men
I've got my own castle, upon my own island
And My friend Ben and I pour rum in Bamboo Cups
And we toast ol' Eli Hedley 'til the morning sun comes up

Bamboo Ben, Bamboo Ben
There was a time he was my only friend
When I was broken he taught me how to bend
And like a bamboo shoot to rise up tall again,
o-Oh. o-Oh.

Words and music by pablus (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

Legend of the Lake Surfer

When winds blow 'cross that lake called Erie
Waves whitecap and skies turn gray and dreary
A figure may be seen
Hanging ten on an evergreen
The Lake Surfer has crashed the scene

Ontario round through O-hio
The legends told by sailors say, "Fear" was a word he didn't know
He even had the balls
To surf Niagara Falls
The Lake Surfer is climbing walls

Is he a man or apparition?
Who else could shred in these conditions?
The bravest men all scream like babies
When they hear his haunted ukulele...

If you should hear that sound run far
Or spend eternity en-tombed in an icewater tiki bar
Then you'll finally see what's become of me
When you're enslaved I'll be set free
Then you'll spend your days
Riding Erielhonan waves
To be Lake Surfer is your fate.

Words and music by Ken Kanaka (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

Mystery Girl

She's gliding softly 'cross the room. Her gaze as distant and the moon;
a hint of deep nightshade in bloom. Mystery Girl

The gentle tapping of the gong. Her graceful body plays the song.
From that moment I belong to the Mystery Girl.

Oh, Mystery Girl: intoxicating allure.
I can look beyond this dance of island romance
To possess something so pure.

Her hands pull me into her eyes; I fall mute and paralyzed.
My lurid passion undisguised. I want you Mystery Girl.

Oh Mystery Girl, what's in this Mystery Drink?!
I must steal you away; conscience now has no say
Into this heart of darkness I sink.

And now you're leaving me with this... a silken lei a single kiss?
A drink to fill this emptyness? Don't leave me Mystery Girl!

The spells that you weave -- they only deceive.
You're soft like a flower, but filled with such power. My soul you've devoured.

I love you Mystery Girl! I need you Mystery Girl! I want you Mystery Girl!

Words by Ken Kanaka (BMI) and pablus (BMI). Music by Ken Kanaka. Lyrics used by permission.

Smuggler's Cove

I came in with the sunset
Ukulele on my shoulder
I'd been traveling for days
The winds and waves had had their way

I was feeling kind of feral
'til I grabbed an old rum barrel
And into its depths I dove
In the caves of smuggler's cove

With the midnites through the mornings
I ignored the west wind's warnings
Cause that tiki torch kept burning
And my spirits were returning

I began a long and lonely tune
I weaved a tale of travel
From the fragrant mango groves
To the shores of Smuggler's Cove

Now I'm all for the weight of gold
When it's mine to spend it
I buy some respite from the cold
And rum for those befriended

And when I'm light I lean on them
And they don't seem to mind it
For gone's the thrill of gold and gem
The moment that you find it

We heard the crack of thunder
As we snapped our cups together
I penned another verse
About some long forgotten curse

The shrieking of the wind grew worse
The waves upon the passage burst
Down the mighty rocks they drove
And locked us deep in Smuggler's Cove

The tikis smiled in flick'ring light
My song was nearly finished
I bought rum til it was gone
For I knew there'd be no dawn

It wasn't tiil that torch went out
that I scrawled the final stanza
This is where you'll find our bones
In the caves of Smuggler's Cove

Words and music by pablus (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

Rum Barrel

Rum Barrel drink. Rum Barrel mug. Rum Barrel think me in Rum Barrel love.
Rum Barrel buzz. Rum Barrel high. Rum Barrel ordered at the great Mai Kai
Don't know when I'll get another one, but all I want is that Barrel O' Rum.

Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum

Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum

Rum Barrel sweet. Rum Barrel yummy. Rum Barrel seperate a good man from his money
Rum Barrel iced. Rum Barrel cool. Too many Rum Barrel me act like a fool.
Don't know when I'll get another one, but all I need is that Barrel O' Rum.

Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum
Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum

There's only one thing that I desire: liquid libation, set the night on fire.
I took one sip at the Molokai Lounge and then my world turned upside down.

Rum Barrel tricky. Rum Barrel fool ya. Rum Barrel make a haole dance the hula.
Rum Barrel buddy. Rum Barrel friend. Kanaka drink Rum Barrel up until the end.
At Happy Hour they're two for one. And now I got me that Barrel O' Rum

Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum
Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum

Another round!

Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum
Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum

Last call!

Rum Barrel Rum Barrel Barrel O' Rum

Words and music by Ken Kanaka (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

Find Forbidden Island

One of these days I'm going to find Forbidden Island
And the fog will cover me like a familiar memory
And nobody will be able to see me... crying.

I've lowered my sails, 'cross the mast the wind is sighing
Only drifters are welcome on that shore

The legend is told, that when you find Forbidden Island
All your secrets are revealed, For every pain there is a potion to heal
I got to know if what they're telling me is real... or lying

So I step on the shore, and through the mist the lights are shining
Only drifters walk through this open door

Colors, conversing, Wood and grass
Troubles dispersing, Stone and glass
Music, Caressing Statues and silk
Beautiful – She's so beautiful

One of these days, I'll come back to Forbidden Island
And the sun will shine on me like a familiar memory
And everybody will be able to see me... smiling

Once you've been there, there's just no place that's as inviting
Only drifters can call this island home...

Words and music by pablus (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

Paradise for Two

We don't live on an island in a little grass shack
we've got a 3/2 ranch on a quiet cul-de-sac.
The sun is shining and the sky is blue
and every day is paradise with you.

We don't wade in the water where ama ama swim by
hang in a hammock in the back kids on the Slip 'n Slide.
I see you smiling and I'm smiling too
and we make every day a paradise for two.

And though we see some ups and downs
like the waves that break off Honaunau
I know when we laugh together
Our love it will last forever.

You're my Pineapple Princess and I'm your Big Kahuna
our only regret we didn't find each other sooner.
We've got each other and a love so true
and we make everyday a paradise for two.
Oh, a paradise for two.

We can work it out babe it won't be that hard
we can build Paliuli in our own backyard.

Oh, a paradise for two.

Yes we make everyday a paradise for two.
Yes we make everyday a paradise for two.

Words and music by Ken Kanaka (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

Island People

Island People
As beautiful and clear as the sea
Island People
Teaching everybody how to be free

Now way up in Maine on the Isle of the Swan
They catch the lobsters from light of dawn
A sweet smile and a salty joke
From the green pine forest to the rocky coast

Out in Bermuda where the water is so blue
They love bright colors and that fresh seafood
They work hard but they, they love to play
From Hamilton by moped to St. George's Bay

Way down south in the Phillipines
They love the mangos and the sweet ice cream
Those bright smiles and a helping hand
From the middle of Manila to the soft white sand

Hawai'i sits out there so alone
Like a queen upon the ocean's throne
From Honaunau to Honomu
Da kamaaina sendin' out a shaka fo you

Words and music by pablus (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

But Kilauea

Clothed in Mystery
Mauna Loa
Sends rains upon the land

And her sister
Mauna Kea
Holds the sun within her hand

But Kilauea,
Tears of fire stream to the sea
As she cries for Hawai'I, for her children.

Mauna Loa
Drenched with dewdrops,
Gave the lovers her half-flower

And Mauna Kea
Bathed in starlight,
Raised the Kings of Peace and power

But Kilauea,
Shouts of fury tear through the sky
burning rage and heaving sighs, for her children

Oh, her dry and barren land
wounded heart and empty hands
such sorrow, so alone
Oh, this night's been dark and long
But quickly now will come the dawn
another day of hope

Wise and caring Mauna Loa Taught Kama'aina gentle songs

Proud and Noble
Mauna Kea
Breathed on them and they were strong

But Kilauea,
Trembles angry and afraid
To see this life others have made for her children

Ohhh Kilaua,
Tears of fire flow to the sea,
As she cries for Hawaii and her children
Her children. Where are her children.

Words and music by pablus (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

We Spread Aloha

We're not that much to see. We'll never be on MTV in high rotation. A bunch of white guys over forty, singing songs and telling stories about the islands.
We'll barely make the charts. But, we've got soul and we've got hearts filled with aloha.
So listen up and you will hear it; we'll infect you with the spirit of aloha.

We spread aloha A sweet aroma driftin' all over
What the world needs is love and we've got more than enough. So we spread aloha; sending smiles across the miles. From Dubai to Havanna all the people are ohana. Spread aloha.

We've got some crazy plans: record an album in Japan live at Budokan;
Spend a month in Honolulu; jam with Jake Shimabukuro and Reverend Dennis;
Play every Trader Vic's; get our fix of swizzle sticks and Menehune;
Share a Kava Bowl with strangers; see what happenstance arranges; spread aloha.

We spread aloha A sweet aroma driftin' all over
What the world needs is love and we've got more than enough. So we spread aloha; sending smiles across the miles. From the arctic to savannah all the people are ohana. Spread aloha.

Now suppose your course has got you lost at sea You're nowhere near the place you want to be.
That happy place where palm trees sway; the sunlight on your face each day
Set a new course for aloha and be free

And when we're old and gray we'll spend our days out makin' leis where the tradewinds play.
Pose for pictures with the tourists; talk of tiki with the purists (and the newbie).
Play our music in the sun; have some fun and drink some rum when the day is done.
Run a halau teaching hula; show the children in our school to spread aloha.

We spread aloha A sweet aroma driftin' all over
What the world needs is love and we've got more than enough. So we spread aloha; sending smiles across the miles. From the lowlands to the highlands take a lesson from the islands:
Spread aloha. Aloha. Aloha.

What the world needs is love and we've got more than enough
What the world needs is love, so we spread aloha...

Words and music by Ken Kanaka (BMI) and pablus (BMI). Lyrics used by permission.

"Find Forbidden Island" now available everywhere

The Crazed Mug's new release, "Find Forbidden Island," is now available for digital download on all major online retailers including iTunes,, and CDBaby. However, CDs purchased at come with added bonuses.

Buy it from us:

CDs purchased at this site come with a FREE Crazed Mugs car decal. Buyers also become a member of 'Ahahui Aloha, our fan organization. As a member, you'll get these additional benefits:

  • Free bonus tracks throughout the year
  • Subscription to a fans-only email newsletter
  • Chord charts and lyric sheets for the songs
  • and other surprises!

To join, add the email address you'd like us to use for your membership in the form above the "Buy Now" button before purchasing.

Your Email:

Buy it from them:

Find Forbidden Island - The Crazed Mugs      


Click on any of the designs to visit our Spreadshirt store, where you can select your shirt's cut, size, and color.

"Vintage" Kahiki Moon Price $22.00 And Fresh Mint!Price $24.00 I Spread AlohaPrice $24.00
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Liner Notes


The Crazed Mugs aren't Exotica, they're not Surf, and they're not Reggae. They call themselves a "Tiki Band." Though the label may not mean much on paper, when you listen to them you get the feeling that you should be at a party on the water somewhere among people in aloha shirts and sun dresses with a tropical cocktail in your hand. If that’s any indication of "Tiki Music," then they are certainly a "Tiki Band."

My first encounter with the ever-lovin' pablus was at Ft. Lauderdale’s 2005 Hukilau event. A solo performance at the Mai Kai and a Crazed Mugs performance opening for Robert Drasnin rounded out the weekend. pablus was immediately likable and that smooth voice flowed from him like a tradewind breeze over the ocean. With the release of this new album, the hook-filled writing talents of Ken Kanaka add another dimension to this very original combo.

Kanaka's "Rum Barrel" is a bar room rocker that pays homage to the Molakai bar at the Mai Kai and features a fuzz-laden steel guitar from Kanekila. "The Aloha Song" is old-school Hapa Haole that beckons back to Hawai'i's golden age. The title track "Find Forbidden Island" is a beautiful song with exceptional vocal styling by pablus that warmly evokes a South Sea paradise and is my personal favorite. The rest of the cuts are well-crafted originals in various island styles. It's just a terrific listen.

Whether you are young or old, want to swim to music, listen in relaxation, or to dance — the mood is set with these "Tiki Music" melodies that truly capture the spirit of Aloha.

— Jeff Chenault


Produced by Vance “The Trance” Borland and pablus for Orange Seal Entertainment
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered at Path of Palms Studios in Tampa

Cover art: “Forbidden Island” © Brad Parker

The Crazed Mugs are pablus, Koka Nut, Ken Kanaka, Doc Tiki, Kanekila, Tommy Wanalikilei, Mr. Ho, Maddy Mango, The Amber Love Goddess, Kapu Kelly, Christiki Hyers, Luke the Flute, Jeff “Tiny Bubbles” Berlin, Liki ka po'okela, Jammin’ Josh Gibson, Mike Gibilisco, Valerie Whispertone Gillespie

pablus plays Island Ukuleles


pablus: Mahalo to Angela, my amber love goddess, Rum Darryl, Britt, Ma & Pa, Ivan Darkholdt & family, Pig Mountain Sweeties & that savage brood, 1-L & Sons of 1-L, Dave Hansen (Lake Surfer), John Rafferty, Hanford Lemoore & Tiki Central, Swanky & Stephanie, martiki & BooLoo Cate, Cap’n Willie C & Skippy Dee, Skipper Joe & Marilyn, Chip & Andy, BK Wolfe, Dave “Shaka” Zbin, Beau “Diggler” Timkin, JJ Rehill, Kern Mattei, Dave Levy, miles, Babs & Taylor, The Fraternal Order Of Moai, Flounder, Kuku Ahu, Bargoyle, Steven Strauss, Leland Smelser, John DiMura, The Quinley Tribe, Paul Dearth, Tiki Kiliki, Nohana Tech Group, virani & Sandrine, Simon & Nina, Jamie Oliver, John from Ko’olau Ukes, Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Hinano Paul and most importantly, Brandon Christian Fellowship for the rescue.

kanekila: I want to thank my wife, Heather, for her patience and hard work!

Doc Tiki: Thanks to my brother Paul for putting a guitar in my hand and showing me that first C chord and thanks to my friend pablus for showing me what to do with it.

Ken Kanaka: Deepest thanks to Kelly, my wife and inspiration, for all of your support, especially during the recording process — P42!; my sons, Logan and Kieran; my parents, who always encouraged me to explore my passions; my cousins Shelia & Janenie, who ignited my interest in music jamming up in the attic so many times; the staff of the Mai Kai, without whom there would be no Rum Barrel or Mystery Girl; Piko and the Hawaiian Concert Guide; and all our friends, fans, and supporters on Facebook, Twitter & Tiki Central. Mahalo!

Koka Nut: Thanks to my wife Aimée, my parents and all of my family, The Haole Kats, Chris and JoJo, and The OBR.

Tommy Wanalikilei: Thanks to Akua, Makua, Lady Pamelala, Pebbles, all my fellow musicians in the Crazed Mugs, all my friends at Path of Palms studios.

Vance the Trance: Thanks to my sons Quinn and Colin, my best kept inspiration.

Mr. Ho (Brian O’Neill) appears courtesy of and

Bamboo Ben, But Kīlauea, Find Forbidden Island, Island People, Marooned on the Mainland, Smuggler’s Cove: © 2011 pablus (BMI). Hello, I Love You & Goodbye (The Aloha Song), Legend of the Lake Surfer, Paradise for Two, Rum Barrel: © 2011 Ken Kanaka (BMI). Mystery Girl, We Spread Aloha: © 2011 pablus (BMI) / Ken Kanaka (BMI).

(P) 2011 Orange Seal Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Behind the Songs

Marooned on the Mainland

pablus: Ukulele, Lead Vocal, Assorted Screams, Shaker, Background Vocals
Koka Nut: Fluke Tenor Ukulele
Ken Kanaka: Harmony Baritone Ukulele low-GCEA, More Screams
Kanekila: Bass Guitar, Upright Bass, Rickenbacker 7-string Fry Pan Lap Steel Guitar
Tommy Wannalikilei: Yamaha Drums
Maddy Mango: Background Vocals
Mr. Ho: Vibraphone: Pandeiro, Bird Whistles
The Amber Love Goddess: Background Vocals
Doc Tiki: Electric Guitar

My pal, John Rafferty, has drawn a comic for Tiki Magazine called Marooned On The Mainland, which I’ve always thought was a brilliant concept. I thought of a tortured soul living in a city where he was kind of stuck and the freedom of possibly escaping. Don’t most of us want that? I know I do.

I love the Exotica parts of this song. Ken and I did most of the animal calls. Mr. Ho chimed in as well. This is a personal fav of mine because one day, I too hope to be stranded on an island. Preferably Hawai’i.

- pablus

Hello, I Love You & Goodbye (The Aloha Song)

Ken Kanaka: Fluke 16-fret Low-G Concert Ukulele, Lead Vocals
Kanekila: Republic Tri-Cone Resonator, Upright Bass, Background Vocals
Koka Nut: Ukulele
pablus: Ukulele, Background Vocals
Doc Tiki: Martin Guitar
Tommy Wanalikilei: Drums

Hawaiian words in the song: ipo - sweetheart; humu­humu­nuku­nuku­āpuaʻa - the reef triggerfish is the designated state fish of Hawaii

My first exposure to Hapa Haole music came from a CD of recordings from the '30s and '40s I purchased while on vacation on the Big Island in the mid-'90s. Those songs, along with a book on the history of ukulele by Jim Belhoff, inspired me to purchase a Kamaka pineapple uke and take it home to the mainland. Now, more than a decade later, I get to pay tribute this wonderful, and sadly underappreciated, musical genre and maybe, just maybe, inspire someone else to take up the instrument.

- Ken Kanaka

Bamboo Ben

pablus: Ukulele, Lead Vocal, Mr. Tiki II, Mug
Jeff “Tiny Bubbles” Berlin: Dean Bass Guitar
Tommy Wanalikilei: Yamaha Drums
Mr. Ho: Vibraphone
Liki ka po'okela: Trumpet
Mike Gibilisco: Saxophone
Doc Tiki: Electric Guitar
Koka Nut: Ukulele
The Amber Love Goddess, Christiki Hyers, Maddy Mango: Background vocals

Bamboo Ben is the very real grandson of Eli Hedley, a world-class beachcomber (if there is such a thing), who worked with Walt Disney in the very early years of setting up Disneyland in Anaheim.

Ben is a master craftsman who works with poplar and maple. Not really...he works with bamboo. Yeah — I know it’s a shock.

He has built many magnificent interiors including bars, offices of high level executives, studios, interiors of homes, treehouses, bars — oh wait, I said that already. I’ve been privileged to see several of these and the work is always stunning. "Layers, layers, layers" is the mantra Ben uses when envisioning and creating these masterpieces.

I had been practicing this old folk tune called "Railroad Bill," which I always found rather catchy, and one night just changed it to "Bamboo Ben." After tweaking the chords a bit and drumming up a reggae feel for it similar to "We’re Jamming," which I happen to know is a favorite of Ben's, I made up the story of a down and outer who feeds off of Ben's super-charged energy. He is a freaking lightning bolt for sure.

The riff taken directly from Marley - the little "tink-tink-tink…taptap, taptap" was played on a tiki coffee mug and a small wooden tiki carved by MadDogMike. As we kept working on this we just kept adding stuff until it became what it is today: a fitting "layered" tribute to a good buddy it’s been my honor to get to know personally.

- pablus

Legend of the Lake Surfer

pablus: Ukulele, Lead Vocal, Organ
Jammin’ Josh Gibson: Electric Guitar
Kanekila: Fender Jazz Bass
Tommy Wanalikilei: Yamaha Drums
Maddy Mango: Background Vocals
Vance the Trance, Kanekila: Background Vocals

The waters of Lake Erie are rife with legend. The lake takes its name from the Erielhonan tribe of Native Americans who once lived on the south shore, a mysterious group who made contact with Europeans only a single time. (The name means "long tail" and actually comes from their neighbor, the Iroquois.) The entire tribe eventually vanished; scholars speculate that they may have moved south or north, but no one knows for sure what happened to its 10,000 people.

Later, war and commerce brought European ships and sailors into the region, a superstitious lot who added to Lake Erie lore with tales of witches, lake monsters, mirages, and a supernatural figure seen cutting across the water on a plank when storms and winds caused the shore to be pounded by waves: the "Erie Ryder," later called "The Lake Surfer."

The brave and foolish still surf the waves of Erie, including our friend, Dave "The Lake Surfer" Hansen. Most of us Mugs grew up around Erie's shores and have a healthy respect for the power, beauty, and danger of its waters. The Legend of the Lake Surfer may only be a yarn spun to frighten the young, but you have been warned nonetheless.

- Ken Kanaka

Mystery Girl

Ken Kanaka: Harmony Baritone Ukulele low-GCEA, Lead Vocal
Mr. Ho: Vibraphone
Valerie Whispertone Gillespie: Alto Flute
Doc Tiki: Martin Acoustic Guitar
Kanekila: Ibanez Electric Bass
Kapu Kelly, The Amber Love Goddess: Background Vocals
Vance the Trance: Percussion
pablus: Kawai 6’ Grand Piano, Tahitian Log Drum, Hawai'i Skin drum

Smuggler's Cove

pablus: Ukulele, Lead Vocal, Accordion, Ibanez Electric Guitar, Keyboard, Percussion
Luke the Flute: Abell Whistle
Tommy Wanalikilei: Yamaha Drums
Kanekila: Fender Jazz Bass Guitar
Manly Man's Scurvy Chorus: Background Vocals

Martin and Rebecca came to our home and stayed with us for a few days after leaving Forbidden Island in the Thanos’ capable hands. He had become quite the new phenom in the cocktail industry with Forbidden Island, winning awards and getting on national TV and generally becoming a “go-to” guy for answers about classic cocktails and specifically tiki drinks.

While he was with us, he coyly referred to a new place he was going to be opening up in San Francisco’s uber-hip locale, Hayes Valley. He wouldn’t say anything else about it because he obviously doesn’t trust me. I’ll get him back for that one day.

A few weeks after their visit, I read something about this new place called Smuggler’s Cove. I searched for way to get out there and finally found one. It’s a marvelous invention called an aeroplane, or some such. It deposited me nearby and I made my way to the Valley, where I was warmly greeted by my pal, Martin, who promptly served me a Demerara Dry Float (which he says he put on the menu because it’s my favorite — but you know what — I don’t trust him either). The place is an homage to the Mai Kai’s Molokai Lounge and what a tribute it is. Some were calling it a “pirate bar” and in a sense, it has that feel with the cave-like walls and decor perfectly crafted by Notch (who purloined my Angry Tiki Bob concept and didn’t even send me one of the mugs — I don’t trust him either). However, Smuggler’s Cove is really a tribute to rum, boasting many, many bottles amber and rare.

A few weeks after my Asia-bound maiden voyage there, I returned from my trip, and had a fresh tune written for the place. I like ye olde smuggler-y vibe of it and my nephew, Jon (Luke the Flute), laid some tasty Irish style pipes to it from a whistle he made himself.

I don’t trust him either. And what are you lookin’ at?

- pablus

Rum Barrel

Ken Kanaka: Fluke 16-fret Low-G Concert Ukulele, Lead Vocal
Kanekila: Fender Jazz Bass Guitar and 1952 Oahu Tonemaster Lap Steel Guitar
Tommy Wanalikilei: Yamaha Drums
Doc Tiki: Ibanez Guitar
Koka Nut: Mai Kai Rum Barrel Shaker, Background Vocals
pablus: Ukulele, Background Vocals

Find Forbidden Island

pablus: Ukulele, Lead Vocal
Mr. Ho: Vibraphone, Percussion
Kanekila: Upright Bass
Valerie Whispertone Gillespie: Alto Flute
Doc Tiki: Martin Guitar
Ken Kanaka: Harmony Baritone Ukulele low-GCEA

Back in 2004, I was fortunate enough to personally meet Martin and Rebecca, two tiki aficionados who lived in a small apartment near Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. What I saw there was a little disturbing really, if you think about it. Martin had taken the, I guess it was the second bedroom, and turned it into "The Foggy Grotto." This was a multi-layered tropical bar which had two or three stools, some bamboo, tiny lights, leopard pattern stuff and a rum collection that was pretty remarkable. We had a few cocktails together that he masterfully mixed up and we talked for a while about what we wanted to do when we grew up. His vision was to open a Tiki Bar.

Fast forward a few years and put a few bartending notches in Martin's belt, such as Trader Vic's San Francisco during its short lived resurrection, and I start hearing rumors of a new partnership going into Alameda with Conga Lounge owners, the Thanos Brothers. It was Martin's dream coming true. Forbidden Island was soon born (with the help of Bamboo Ben) and I was freaking out wanting to get there.

I was enthusiastically gushing to my wife about an upcoming business trip (yes, I have those) to San Francisco and "One of these days, I'm gonna find Forbidden Island," just sort of blurted out. I sort of liked it and just went with it. My personal favorite line "I’ve lowered my sails, 'cross the mast the wind is sighing. Only drifters are welcome on that shore," helped paint a picture of what the bar used to be before Team Martin/Thanos got in there and recreated it. It used to be kind of a "locals only"-sort of wonderfully dingy dive bar. I love those places personally. There's always a story to listen to — some a bit frightening — but always entertaining. Anyway, I wanted to pay a little homage to the old bar's clientele; being drifters resigned to their fate and how they now could find a home here on this beautiful island in a cosmopolitan area.

Oh yeah, we had an awesome time there. It was great to see some old friends and meet some new ones and get to play in the outside lounge area with my favorite uke player, Steven Strauss. I can’t wait to go back.

- pablus

Paradise for Two

Ken Kanaka: Harmony Baritone Ukulele low-GCEA, Lead Vocal
Kapu Kelly, Maddy Mango: Vocals
Jammin’ Josh Gibson: Ukulele solos
pablus: Ukulele, Percussion, Keyboards
Doc Tiki: Martin Acoustic Guitar
Kanekila: Ibanez Bass Guitar

Hawaiian words in the song:

Honaunau on the island of Kona is the home of a pu'uhonua, a place of safety. In the old Hawaiian culture it served two purposes: a place of shelter for women and children in time of war and a place where someone who had broken a law could go to avoid a death sentence and make restitution for their crime. Today the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is a national park and one of the most beautiful and serene places you can visit.

Paliuli is equivalent to the Garden of Eden in Hawaiian mythology; the home of Laieikawai and Pihanakalani, said to be located on the island of Hawaii.

Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a beautiful place like Hawaii, although we all wish we did. But paradise can be as close as your own home, if you make it so. Sometimes it's as easy as cherishing the simple pleasures you already enjoy but overlook, like the love of a partner or time spent with your family.

I wrote this tune for my beautiful wife, Kelly, as our wedding song. We've been married for three years now, and while like any couple we still have our ups and downs, we do work everyday to make our lives a Paradise for Two.

— Ken

Island People

pablus: Ukulele, Lead Vocal
Kanekila: Ibanez Bass Guitar, 1952 Oahu Tonemaster Lap Steel Guitar
Tommy Wanalikilei: Yamaha Drums
Liki ka po'okela: Trumpet
Mike Gibilisco: Saxophone
Eli ‘Iwa Kuhels: Percussion
pablus, Koka Nut, Tommy Wanalikilei, Maddy Mango, Christiki Hyers: Background Vocals

I was in Bermuda in the summer of '87 and had a dream about one of my favorite singers, Gospel great James Ward, performing on this beach in front of a huge crowd and they were all singing this tune. When I woke up I thought, "Hey that’s a pretty cool song. I wonder what album that's from...wait a second — that's not from any album." So, continuing the thought, the song put itself together from different places visited during my travels. Swan's Island, Maine. Bermuda. Manila. Hawai'i. All great places and all a great representation of the special way that Island People grace the earth.

- pablus

But Kilauea

pablus: Ukulele, Lead Vocal, Keyboards

In 2005, my beautiful wife and I were able to go to the Big Island of Hawai’i. I fell in love with it immediately. This love story only begins there.

It had been a very difficult year for us. First, we had both faced some medical issues. Then, still going through the recovery process, II had to — had to — document some charity works in Manila, the tsunami ravaged areas of Indonesia, the poorest areas of India, the border of Congo and Zambia and the border of Mozambique and South Africa. It was going to be a really difficult trip in my condition (which ended up being panic attacks) and I was going to be gone a long time. So I broke the trip up with some time on the Kona side at the base of the magnificent Mauna Kea. It was a perfect trip. We got so see and hear Led Kaapana and Dennis and David Kamakahi and Kimo West perform music. Brilliant.

On the Leeward side, we were able to visit the Hawaiian Botanical Gardens at the base of the verdant Mauna Loa. There, we were told several of the legends of this mountain passed down through the generations.

Further south, we toured the Kilauea volcano and the difference in the landscape was pretty disturbing to me. From green to grey. Life to death. I’ve got to say I felt the mountain crying. The streams of lava flowing down into the ocean reminded me of hot tears making their way down the face of a woman who had suffered great loss.

I thought about these three mountains and I saw them as sisters. Each having raised a generation of the Kama’aina all their own. I started writing and strumming and had the base for the song in a few minutes.

Being the tiki-freak that I am, I made sure that we went to the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau to snorkel the lava formations and enjoy a picnic of poke’ and poi and some fruit to eat at the beach there. While there, several interesting things happened that burnt themselves into my memory.

First, there was a strange little female dog that came up to us while we were munching some poke’ and begged for some. Dog wanting fish was something I was unfamiliar with but I gave her some anyway, she smacked her chops and wandered on. Several hours later, after we’d been in the water for a while, I sat down on a nice lava stone and grabbed the uke and started strumming a few tunes overlooking the lagoon toward the tikis of the City of Refuge there. While playing, I heard some local guys talking behind me. They were sharing some ‘Nati Light and I thought they might be laughing at the huge haole crunching up a perfectly good ukulele. I didn’t mind if they were, so I kept on playing and singing. The sun was setting soon and the water was now void of people except for this one older gentleman who was patiently fishing with a small cast net. He was standing ankle-deep in the water on a lava formation and casting into the deeper water just beyond his arm’s reach; tossing the fish into the bucket with a nice rhythm he’d obviously been practicing for years.

This day was truly a highlight of my life. It was the last day I was to spend with my wife before heading out on a difficult trip I was convinced was going to end tragically.

The next day couldn’t have been worse. One of my best buddies, musical soulmate and someone I was certain was going to be an important part of my life, Russ Harrison — Rusty Key, had passed away.

When I landed in Manila I got the news. His mother and all our friends understood that there was no way I could come back for the funeral, but my being away just added to the sorrow. I should have been there. I shouldn’t have gone on this trip. This was all wrong.

A few days of shooting in Manila and I ended up with lifelong friends, Chuck and Sherry Quinley and three of their lovely daughters and a couple I had just met, Tom and Kuulei O’Dowd. My video crew and the families made for a big table full of people at a local Thai place and after dinner, Brooke and Julia wanted me to play the ukulele and ran out to the car to get it. I started thinking about Rusty while strumming and didn’t really feel like continuing for long. So I didn’t. Kuulei came near and said “You sing Hawai’ian beautifully, you know that’s where I’m from.”

“Really, what island?”

“The Big Island.”

“Oh man, I was just there with my wife and fell in love with it.”

“Oh, where did you go?”

“Well, all over really but my favorite place was the City of Refuge.”

“Haha, wow, that’s where I grew up. That’s my home.”

I thought she meant - around there - that side of the island - whatever.

I continued; “Yeah, we loved it. We had a little picnic under the shelter there and there was this little dog that came up to eat fish — I never saw…”

She interrupted me; “Oh, yeah — she’s my dog.”

I’m thinking — ok, she’s mistaken…or possibly insane.

“So, I started playing the ukulele and these guys came down and started drinking…”

She interrupted me again; “…’Nati light, yeah — those are all my brothers and family.”

Now I was getting chills from this blast of serendipity.

“Yeah…they were — uh — drinking…that and…oh yeah, I watched this older guy fishing with the cast net off the shore and he…”

She pulled out her camera — thumbed through a couple of pictures and held it up to me.

“Was it this man?”

There in that photo was the same gentleman, with the same net, from the very same vantage point I had watched him.

“That’s the guy,” I laughed.

“Yeah…that’s my dad. I was just there a few weeks ago and shot these pictures of him.”

(As a Christian, I believe that I received a “hand on the shoulder,” a loving gesture, that in the midst of the loss of such a great person in this world and a man I loved very much, it was all under control and I was absolutely doing the right thing by continuing this trip. I was right where I was supposed to be.)

After our surprise about all of this, I asked Ku’ulei to listen to a little of this song which was far from finished. I strummed a few bars and sang the first verse and chorus. She was most gracious in her response that I really had a Hawai’ian’s heart (the greatest compliment I’ve ever received) and seeing those mountains as sisters was the way a Hawaii’ian would see them.

I sure hope she likes this song and I hope you do as well.

- pablus

We Spread Aloha

Ken Kanaka: Fluke 16-fret Low-G Concert Ukulele, Harmony Baritone Ukulele low-GCEA, Lead Vocal
pablus: Island Ukulele, Vocals, Bongos
Koka Nut: Vocals
Tommy Wanalikilei: Yamaha Drums
Doc Tiki: Martin Acoustic Guitar
Mr. Ho: Percussion
Kanekila: Ibanez Electric Bass


Click a song title to hear sample tracks from the new album.

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