Ka'au Crater Boys biography
From the vibrantly produced debut album, Tropical Hawaiian Day, to the magical sounds of their fourth release, "Making Waves", the Ka'au Crater Boys have become one of Hawaii's hottest duos in contemporary Hawaiian music.
The Ka'au Crater Boys distinctive and appealing sound reflects their love of Hawaii and of their favorite non-musical activity, surfing -- creating a new breed of Hawaiian music. They've formed a fresh blend of guitar and ukulele completely different from other contemporary local artists, sparking a new artistic style where the original material is insightful and more reflective of the Hawaiian lifestyle. Cruz's powerful easy rhythms and Fernandez' distinctive ukulele technique, make for a truly magical sound. Their songs are a mixture of Hawaiian standards, country oldies, pop, reggae and their own originals.
Their debut album, Tropical Hawaiian Day, garnered a strong local following. Their second album, Valley Style, served notice that Cruz and Fernandez were outstanding artists as they were honored with the 1994 Hoku for Contemporary Album of the Year (Hawaii's Grammy equivalent). Fernandez' "Surf" was a highlight on this album and is still a favorite among their fans. Their third album, On Fire!, won them the Contemporary Album Hoku for the second year in a row. Their recording of "Opihi Man" a catchy ode to challenging and sometimes life-threatening work of the opihi pickers, earned Big Island composer Craig Kamahele "Song of the Year" honors as well. Their fourth release, Making Waves brings their two loves together, music and surfing. It offers two renditions of "Makaha", one representing the Ka'au sound, while the other hints of rock that could be called Hawaiian Rock.
Skilled at playing bass and acoustic guitar, Cruz is the son of famous Hawaiian musician Ernie Cruz, Sr. and brother to popular solo entertainer, John Cruz. Fernandez, a master on his ukulele and bass, performs with wizardry and vitality. He has become a key figure in the resurgence of interest in the ukulele, causing such a stir among young kids that like the old days way back when, it's not uncommon to see kids playing ukulele as they stroll down the street or make their way between classes at school.
Raised in the verdant valley of Palolo on Oahu, the Ka'au Crater Boys began their musical roots in Palolo Housing. The Boys are an inspiration to local kids hanging out with idle time and uncertain futures. The Boys drive home the lesson that an inexpensive guitar or ukulele can be the key to a positive and productive life. A new generation of aspiring musicians now turn up at Ka'au Crater Boys concerts to watch and learn from them. "Most of our songs, anybody can do 'em" We tell the kids that," says Fernandez. Cruz emphasizes simplicity: "People like simple things if they're done right."
Ka'au Crater Boys . . . local boys who love music, surfing and Hawaii. A simple combination, done right!