Thought you might like to see the people behind UkeSA Hawaii. Pictured below are Master Luthier Alvin “Popaloha” Okami and his wife of 52 years, Pat “Moms” Okami from the Island of Oahu, and Ed Fiscella, from the Island of New Jersey. Alvin and Pat are the founders of KoAloha Ukulele, and Ed is the founder of Mainstage Center for the Arts, in Gloucester Township, New Jersey. How these three got together will be featured in a number of upcoming posts.
Pops is the creative genius at UkeSAHawaii.com. Moms handles the business, and Ed is the online guy for all communications and sales.
Pops says, “My talent, gift or whatever anyone might label it, is that the reason ideas come effortlessly in my brain is simply because my brain contains NOTHING! If my mind was filled with so many other things, ideas that wanted to come into my mind would have such a difficult time trying to squeeze itself in to get my attention. With a mind/brain that is empty, it would be a snap for any ideas floating around to see an empty brain and welcome itself right in without hardly exercising any strenuous effort.
Ed, you and Trish are the “brains” and I am the “brainless”. What a great team we make:))))))”
Here is a video from Pops while at home in Honolulu as our nation, and the world, tries to cope with COVID-19. Pops wanted to get a positive message out and thought of a song he had written in 2011 for the Japanese Tsunami. He and a number of KoAloha factory guys harmonized and broadcast via J WAVE RADIO this song, YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU TRY, to the people of Japan in that difficult time. The song is in Japanese and English.
So with the above as background material, here comes the crazy idea that came to him. “There seems to be such a close parallel between what happened in 2011 and what’s happening now all over the world. Nations are distressed, people are terrified, this dreaded virus could go on beyond our expectations. With all of this taking place, there has to be something that can bring a ray of hope to the confused and bewildered masses of not only our country but other countries as well. Just like the nation of Japan heard the song and people were compelled to call J Wave headquarters to voice their feelings about the song, wouldn’t it be more than incredible if this encouraging song could help in bringing a ray of Hope to cling on to during this horrific time in this period of human history.”
“My whole life has been occupied with trying to solve problems and perhaps that is why I have developed the ability to create and solve a multitude of problems that I have been constantly beset with. There is a singular word that is at the root of everything that I undertake to try and reconcile. I tend to think that the beginning syllable of my first name (Al) was somehow destined to become the last part of the word that is the epitome of my existence. I will always be able to keep my nose to the grindstone because this word is like an encouraging voice that whispers in my mind “Survive Al” or simply combined SurvivAl. So as long as I’m still breathing, I believe that this inner voice will continue to stir and encourage me to continue pressing on.” — Pops