Dennis Pavao

Dennis Pavao, (1951 – 2002) “The Golden Voice of Hawai’I” is special to me because it was his music that got me interested in Hawaiian music.  In February, 2001 my younger daughter and I were in Lahaina, and I asked the person working at a street music kiosk to sell me the most beautiful rendition of Aloha ‘Oe she’d ever heard.  She immediately slapped down and a copy of Dennis’s Sweet Leilani album.  I took it home, listened to Aloha ‘Oe over and over (and cried every time, as I believe it to be the prettiest song ever written, bar none.)   Dennis was one of several Hawaiian musicians who during the 1970′s led a Hawaiian music renaissance, reviving Hawaiian music. Along with his cousins, Ledward and Nedward Kaapana, he started the famous group Hui ‘Ohana. Hui ‘Ohana became the premier falsetto group in Hawai’i. After the breakup of Hui ‘Ohana, Dennis went on to record solo.  When I “Googled” Dennis to learn more about him after our return from Maui, I was devastated to learn that he had died just a few weeks prior, of am aneurysm.  He left behind his wife Leialoha and six children.

Jerry Kunimoto, one of Dennis’ close longtime friends once said, “Dennis’ recordings over three decades will be sung for generations; he’s one of those performers. If our lives can be measured by the number of people we can touch in a positive way, then Dennis is in a place we all aspire to.”

I want to share two quotes with you regarding Dennis’s passing:

The first is from Rich Shipley, who runs www.hawaiianrainbow.com: “Brother Dennis touched each of us in some way and will continue to do so.  Aloha ‘oe Dennis. We will miss you. And we thank you for the many gifts you leave with us.”

And the second is from an internet posting that simply said “…the angelic voice of Dennis Pavao now sings with the angels…”

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