Kelly Boy Delima: Kapena's Ukulele Virtuoso

Kelly Boy Delima is most associated with the band Kapena, recently made up with his son and two daughters. Kapena has released close to 20 albums over the years. The band is also notable for having toured extensively across the Pacific, with Delima’s family members doing everything from singing to holding down instrumental duties at their gigs. The "Original Kapena" was made up with Kelly Boy, alongside with brothers, Tiva and Timo Tatofi.


Kelly Boy Jamming


A little about Kelly Boy DeLima and Kapena

The music that Kapena writes and plays is distinctively Hawaiian and Reggae. It is contemporary, but retains the emphasis on ukulele playing and has other characteristics of the sound featured prominently, such as falsetto singing.

Kapena had been a working band for a long time before they received a great deal of recognition. When they did, however, the recognition came in the 1990s, when the band received awards from the Hawaiian Academy of Music. In 1998, they took home the awards for Contemporary Group of the Year and Album of the Year.

The band’s touring took them to Japan, Palau and Saipan. They also managed to expand their appeal to the mainland United States, and toured the West Coast, a practice that they continue.

Going Solo

“Jus Kelly Boy” is among Kelly Boy’s solo projects and is regarded as one of his best records. His band, however, has constantly expanded, as new family members came on board and started to take up more roles in performance.

Kelly Boy’s work ranges from very mellow, laid-back music that one would typically associate with Hawaiian music to quite driving pieces that get audiences moving. No matter how the music is influenced by other forms of music, however, it remains distinctively Hawaiian and is very true to the distinctive elements of island music.

Modern Virtuoso Influence

Kelly Boy is a very influential musician in Hawaiian music, as are the band Kapena collectively. His playing is appropriately defined as virtuoso, demonstrating a great deal of agility, ability to get different sounds out of the instrument and the ability to arrange ensemble pieces for the instrument with great skill. He’s managed to get on television and, of course, Kapena is a very well-known band in Hawaii and in the Pacific in general.

He is also notable for bringing some attention to the ukulele and for demonstrating to audiences what this instrument really can do. Fortunately for both the player and the public, at the same time that Kelly Boy Delima was already a well-established musician on the islands in the 1990s, the ukulele started to become very popular again. Music from him and other talented ukulele players help to not only keep the popularity of the ukulele growing, but to demonstrate to audiences that the instrument is capable of far more than most people likely think.

Kelly Boy Delima and Kapena offer an excellent blend of traditional Hawaiian music and modern influences that show that both Hawaiian music and the ukulele itself can grow and evolve. His musicianship is undeniably very impressive and this has helped many audiences across the Pacific come to appreciate the ukulele in entirely new ways.

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