Hawaiian musician Nedward "Nicky Boy" Kaapana, fraternal twin brother of slack key master Ledward Kaapana, died April 3 in Honolulu. He was 66.
Ledward Kaapana announced his brother’s death on Facebook.
"It is a sad time for me since I’m on tour and far away from my family," Ledward wrote. "I jus want all my ohana be strong and support each other. It is sad when you lose someone in the family…RIP brother Ned. Mahalo Ke Akua God is love."
The twin brothers spent their early years apart. Nedward was raised by their grandfather in Pahala. Ledward grew up with their parents in Kalapana. They worked together as professional musicians in their mid-teens and played at the Islander Inn in Hilo and at the Kona Inn Hotel. They also lived for a while in California and played music there with their cousin, Kalei Kaluna, in Los Angeles.
Back in Hawaii the brothers teamed up with another cousin, Dennis Pavao, and a new trio jelled. They called it Hui Ohana ("Family Group"). Hui Ohana spent several years working in Waikiki and recorded seven albums between 1972 and 1977. Hui Ohana broke up in 1978, but reunited for a series of concerts and two more albums in 1987.
Nedward released a solo album 1996 and an album with his oldest brother, George "Keoki" Kaapana Jr., in 2002. Nedward played bass with Hui Ohana but played guitar and ukulele as well on his solo albums.
Makana recalled Nedward as "one of the Hawaiian music greats."
"Mahalo for your unique, crazy finger style that always made for fun listening. I’ll always remember you with joy and gratitude."
Dennis Pavao died in 2002.
Hui Ohana received the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 for the group’s achievements between 1972 and 1978, and for their 1987 reunion.
In addition to his brother, Ledward, Nedward is survived by his wife, Lianna Kaapana, his son, Kalae Kaapana, and by his four sisters, Lei Kaapana Aken, Lehua Kaapana Nash, Trudy Kaapana Kuilipule and Rhoda Kaapana Kekona. George Kaapana, two other brothers and another sister pre-deceased him.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.