Pacific Poi Boys blend musical styles

Doug Cox and Anela Kahiamoe from the Comox Valley are bringing their unique sounds to Ladysmith's Concerts in the Park this Sunday.

Doug Cox (left) and Anela Kahiamoe are the Pacific Poi Boys. They will be playing at Transfer Beach this Sunday night for Concerts in the Park.

Doug Cox (left) and Anela Kahiamoe are the Pacific Poi Boys. They will be playing at Transfer Beach this Sunday night for Concerts in the Park.

One of them is a native Hawaiian who cut his teeth playing guitar for some of the legends of his beloved Hawaiian music.

The other is a Juno-nominated Canadian who has been blessed enough to collaborate on Dobro, guitar and mandolin with musicians of all styles.

Together, Anela Kahiamoe and Doug Cox have formed the Comox Valley-based Pacific Poi Boys. They’ll bring their unique blend of roots, blues and Hawaiian music to Ladysmith this Sunday for the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA)’s Concerts in the Park series at the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre.

The concert starts at 6 p.m. Admission is by donation to the LRCA.

Cox and Kahiamoe discovered their mutual love for all kinds of roots music when Kahiamoe married a Canadian girl and moved to Vancouver Island in 2007. Since then, this relaxed duo have begun to explore and enjoy each other’s past and present musical interests, leading into a new sound for both of them — part blues, part Hawaiian, part 1970s pop, part esoteric acoustic music, multi-instrumental and accessible with the odd vocal thrown in for good measure.

Cox fell in love with the blues while living in Alberta — bottleneck slide blues, to be precise.

One night, Cox saw Jerry Douglas play the Dobro. He went out and bought a Dobro the next morning and started teaching himself how to play. Twenty years later, that Dobro is still on his lap, and if you were to ask Cox today, he’d tell you he’s still learning.

From blues to new acoustic music to world music and Americana, Cox has made music with the likes of people from the late iconic British blues master Long John Baldry to India’s musical royalty Vishwa Mohan and Salil Bhatt, from America’s great songwriters like Chuck Brodsky to Austrian dub band Dubblestandart to guitar master Amos Garrett, as well as dozens of other musical collaborators.

Kahiamoe also brings decades of experience and varied influences to the Pacific Poi Boys.

Born in Honolulu, Kahiamoe has earned a living as a full-time musician since the age of 17, playing guitars of all kinds, ukulele and lap steel guitar.

Kahiamoe’s first success came with the group called Island Band. They were very successful from their initial recording in 1976 and opened for performers such as Elvin Bishop and Fleetwood Mac.

In the early 1980s, Kahiamoe performed regularly with the Island Style Band on the aikane catamarans, where he started working with the legendary Loyal Garner.

As a member of Island Style Band, Kahiamoe started a regular gig with Ali’i Kai Catamaran sunset dinner sail, where he worked until the mid-2000s. The Hoku Award-winning band Nightwing invited him to join them in 1991. Kahiamoe released his first solo CD in 1996.

During the early 2000s, Kahiamoe kept busy on the catamaran and with studio and convention work. In 2003, he also joined Tino and the Rhythm Klub. The band was invited to perform at the Venetian and the Alladin Hotel in Las Vegas, and they were asked to play for Wayne Newton’s daughter’s wedding in Hawaii.

— Submitted

Ladysmith Chronicle