Tue, 4 November 2014
He was an account executive and tour director for Hawaiian Airlines. Then he was a radio personality for KCCN 1420AM, KCCN FM100, and Hawaiian 105 KINE. He served as chairman for the Democratic Party of Hawai`i in 2004. Then for a very short while he was a consultant. Then he became the Hawai`i State Senator representing Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka`ako, McCully, and Mo`ili`ili.
And somewhere in between he was a professional musician and singer. And, I mean, a really mean guitar player and a damned good singer. So good, in fact, most of us have forgotten that Brickwood Galuteria won the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Male Vocalist of the Year in 1985 for his LP entitled Brickwood Style.
Having attended Kamehameha Schools (where music is a staple of the curriculum and which is famed for its annual song contest), and being son of a renown contralto and nephew to none other than Richard Kauhi (arguably the most revolutionary musician in the history of Hawai`i, infamous for blending Hawaiian music with jazz and R&B), it was inevitable that Brickwood would at least have an avocation in music. But for a while it was his (as they say in the music business) full-time gig. Galuteria up and quit the comfort of Hawaiian Airlines and struck out as a professional musician – performing at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for three years with the venerable Marlene Sai before forming his own group, No`eau. Then in 1985 he self-produced his first – and still only – full-length LP with the assistance of such fine musicians as Paul Martinez on `ukulele, Sean Naleimaile on bass, Dean Slocum on keyboard, Kahale Moore on percussion, Bruce Hamada on drum programming, and the vocal arrangements of Imaikalani Young.
And the record truly was a winner – not merely at the Hōkū Awards – for it held in store something for every type of fan. It offered traditional Hawaiian standards in the Hawaiian language as well as slightly more modern fare including one original from Brickwood’s own pen. The set opens with the original, “Sommer Girl,” which Brick wrote for his then five-year old daughter. (The keyboards and drum machine are our clues that this was definitely recorded in the 80s.) Then the group rips through slightly more traditional numbers arranged in the jazzy style of Uncle Richard Kauhi – “Kuwili” and “A`oia” – on which Brickwood shows off his guitar work and where you can also really appreciate Imaikalani’s vocal arrangements.
I have a special place in my heart for Senator Galuteria… When I first participated in the Aloha Festivals Falsetto Contest in 2003, they decided that year that each contestant would have their own celebrity announcer to read their bio and introductions. And mine was Brickwood. I think I made an impression on him since every time after when I competed again, Brickwood would give a shout out and “good luck” to the “guy from New Jersey” on his morning drive radio program. It is with tremendous pleasure that I resurrect this classic recording from one of the classiest guys I know.