Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Bandmates From Hawaiian Renaissance Recall the Peter Moon Band

Tropical Storm.jpg
Panini Records

"Guava Jam" was that sweet spot where for a moment things came together. And it was 1969. The group, Sunday Manoa, helped launch the Hawaiian Renaissance with their first release, "Guava Jam." Members of that group were Robert Cazimero, Roland Cazimero, and ukulele player, guitarist Peter Moon.

"Peter Moon, he had this concept for Hawaiian music."

Bobby Hall was the quick, cordial, front man from the beginning with the Peter Moon Band. He says Moon had roots in Hawaiian music.

"Giving it the necessary respect that it has through history but just cranking it up enough to get more listeners to feel the music not just hear it," Hall said.

Bobby Hall Peter Moon Band
Noe Tanigawa
Bobby Hall, original member of the Peter Moon Band.

"He knew what he was doing. He knew what he was doing when he was learning and playing with Pops Gabby, Atta Isaacs in Waimanalo the early Sunday Manoa days. He knew what he was doing with Robert and Roland. Every one of his different groups or genres achieved a specific purpose. When he put together the Peter Moon Band, it was to just go any direction you like."

Recently, singer Bobby Hall and singer, guitarist Mark Yim, part of a later incarnation, recalled the Peter Moon Band's first release "Tropical Storm" in 1979.

"So here's the problem, the album wins five Hokus, how are we going to do this live?" asked Hall."Then we had to go find guys to help us do it live."

"It sold like a hundred thousand units," Yim added.

They took the islands by storm, touring and playing. They followed with a traditional Hawaiian album,

"And then 'Cane Fire.'"

"That exploded again."

"Boom, Boom."

Mark Yim and Bobby Hall on The Aloha Friday Conversation
July 30, 2021

Yim was charged with setting up Moon's instruments onstage, an ukulele and three guitars.

"One was tuned slack key to the C 6th tuning, one was tuned to the Wahine Taro Patch A tuning, and one was standard tuning. And there was always a spare guitar because by and large, we would always break strings onstage. And we play medium gauge strings, industrial strength," Yim said.

Mark Yim Peter Moon Band
Noe Tanigawa
Mark Yim, guitarist, singer with Peter Moon Band

"Peter did not like what they call bar chords, where you hold the whole neck of the guitar with one finger and then form, but it's kind of more muffled. One of the hallmarks was open chording, where you hear the guitars ring."

Hall said, "Not too many guys have tried to or can play what we used to play as a band."

"And it's very specific. Nothing was just pick up and go every song had an arrangement, every song had an intro, every song had a tag ending specific to that song," Yim added.

"You know, contemporary, progressive, rock and roll, borderline offensive kind of stuff," Hall said.

At a high level of musicianship. The discography lives on. Peter Moon, went on to produce important local music concerts, touring as a duo with Dwight Kanae, and teaching over the years. Moon passed in 2018. There's renewed appreciation for the band and its music.

Mark Yim performs currently on Sundays at Nico's and Dwight Kanae leads the roster at the 39th Annual Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival "Waikiki Style" at Blue Note Hawaii on Sunday, Aug. 8, from 12:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Noe Tanigawa covers art, culture and ideas for Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
Related Stories