Riley Lee Temple

September 9, 2017

It was a hot and humid evening with very little ventilation coming through the open windows. The temple staff distributed hand fans that were used throughout the performance. People were fanning themselves furiously as you can see in the video. I can only imagine how warm it was for the three performers. Passing sirens from ambulances and police cars added to the ambiance.

They played a total of 12 pieces, most of which were composed by one of them, and each performer was highlighted throughout.

The performance ended with a tribute to Roland Cazimero by playing their version of Kawika from the Guava Jam album (remember that one from back in the day?).  Their hana ho song was E Ku'u Morning Dew, and they received a standing ovation from a most appreciative audience.

In the end, their performance definitely outweighed the warm setting and made it a truly an awesome performance.

Established in 1915, the Hawaii Shingon Shu Temple is one of the most eleborate displays of Japanese Buddhist temple architecture in Hawaii.

The round tomoe at the top of the entrance roof represents the cycle of life. The carved phoenix represents death and rebirth, and the carved dragons represent both power and good fortune.

The Fujin (Wind God) and Raijin (Thunder God) statues, depict the Hawaiian prevailing trade winds with Fujin, and an appreciation for the power and force of nature in Raijin. Each is over ten feet in height and weigh over 2800 pounds apiece. Constructed of Japanese Cypress, they are the largest depictions of the Wind and Thunder Gods outside Japan.

On the inside it is a dizzy feast for the eye.

Recently, my husband  Alan, our friends Gary, Chris (McKinley '69), Bobby (Kalani '69) and I were treated to the sounds of Island Breeze, a trio comprised of our own Riley Lee, Jeff Peterson and Kenny Endo.

The performance was one you would expect to see it in an air conditioned and sound proofed venue. But it was held in in the Shingon Shu Hawaii Temple on Sheridan Street, just Makai of King Street.

It was here that RHS'69 grad Riley Lee and Island Breeze performed.

Riley is a RHS '69 grad is well known for his musical talents. He is a shakuhachi master (dai shihan), attaining the rank as the first non-Japanese.  

Jeff Peterson is a master slack key guitarist, and Kenny Endo is a master of taiko.

Each is incredibly accomplished in their own right, and they combined their talents and artistry to produce a very entertaining evening.

It was a very unique mix of the three talents and different styles.

We got to chat a short time with Riley afterwards, and he was happy that his reach out to us via Facebook on the RHS group brought in fans.  

He will be back here the second week of December to teach an AB class (absolute beginners) in shakuhachi (so, get ready, Vincent) as well as to do a concert at Orvis Auditorium.

Read Jo Ann's other blog, co-written with Dayle Hoopai: Marcus Mariota and Us

Everyone calls Jo Ann Oshima "Joda". That's because in school her maiden name was Oda. It just went together. This, of course, is why Jennifer Lopez got named "J-Lo".

Anyway, that has nothing to do with her and some friends taking in a concert by RHS'69 grad Riley Lee.

Video and some photos by Bobby Imoto