The crinkles at the corners of his eyes that appear with every burst of laughter speak of the decades Danny Kaleikini has spent as an entertainer.
But in every story that provides a glimpse of his showbiz memories lies the magnetic personality that prompted former Gov. John Waihee to proclaim him “Ambassador of Aloha” in 1988.
“I can honestly say because of aloha, and because I was involved in music, I got to see the world,” he says.
These days, Kaleikini spends his spare time at Mike Sapp Fitness, where he has been exercising for 12 years, three days a week.
“I think it’s important for everyone, that way you keep yourself fit,” he says. Kaleikini first appeared on MidWeek‘s cover in December 1984, just months after the paper’s launch, and most recently the Sept. 16, 2009, cover, when he and five other seniors were recognized for their dedication to community service. It is a passion that continues to fuel Kaleikini, who is participating in this year’s Kupuna Power.
Being held today (April 16) from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the state Capitol Rotunda, Kupuna Power, helmed by state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, aims to provide answers to any questions seniors may have.
“I was very honored to be asked to be a part of it,” Kaleikini says.
Unlike other educational seminars, the event intends to create a unique, lowkey atmosphere by melding exercise, information and entertainment provided by Kaleikini, Marlene Sai and Da Bruddahs’ Tony Silva.
Approximately 31 organizations will participate, and topics of various sessions include “avoiding identity theft” with deputy prosecuting attorney Scott Spallina, “long-term insurance” with Pamela Cunningham and more.
Attendees are encouraged to come prepared with any questions they may have about any subject. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make poi, learn how to cook a pig in an imu or find out which bait will catch you the most fish, Kaleikini says the kupuna are there to answer.
“I think we can all come together as one ohana, as one family,” he says. “And I think if you have questions, this is the time to bring it, because you’re going to get the right people to hear the right answers.”
Kaleikini himself, for example, has honed his talents from the kupuna who have enriched his life.
“If it wasn’t for them, I would have no idea of how to play a nose flute,” he says.
As someone who has benefitted greatly from kupuna, Kaleikini also encourages youths to participate in Kupuna Power, where they may gain the knowledge kupuna have to share.
“I’ve always said that we live in the greatest place in the world,” he says. “And what makes it successful and so different and unique from any other places (is) we have that magic word: A-L-O-H-A. But most important, aloha is the one thing that keeps us together, keeps us going.”