Showing posts from October, 2018

Original art, apparel, and accessories of Hawaii and Asia by Rob Kajiwara

Jess Kajiwara, Angel Unaware

It pains me to report that last night my grandfather passed away suddenly after a fall in our home.

My grandfather, Jess Kajiwara, was a troubled and conflicted man, but he was also very nice, particularly towards children and pets. He and I were very close. He helped raise me. He was also the source for my song, "Angel Unaware."

"You should always be nice to people," he said, "You never know when they might be an angel unaware."

I love him and miss him.

Rob Kajiwara is an Asian/Native American - Hawaiian composer, writer, visual artist, professional baseball player, and human rights activist.

Asadoya Yunta - English Translation

Available on Amazon, iTunes, and most online music download and streaming platforms.

Background: Asadoya Yunta is a popular Ryukyu folk song dating back to the 17th century. It originated from the island of Taketomi, and tells the true story of a young woman named Asado Kuyama, who was said to have been very beautiful. A corrupt government official from the capitol was stationed on the island and requested her hand in marriage to be his 'local wife.' She declined the proposal, which was considered a very brave thing to do. Tales of her courage made their way across Ryukyu, and are still told to this day.

Today, however, due to the ongoing Japanese colonization of Ryukyu, which includes the suppression of the Ryukyu languages, the song is usually sung in Japanese, rather than in its original language of Yaeyama. The Japanese version of the song tells quite a different story from the original version, and is more of a simple love song. The heroics and bravery of Asado Kuyama ar…

Before the Night is Through - Lyrics

Before the Night is Through

Words and Music by Rob Kajiwara

It's a little funny Every time I hear you say my name I only hope You understand It could never be the same

So let your hair hang down Your arms around me Don't need to make a sound But I'll say it anyway I think I'll fall in love with you Before the night is through

And people talk About how love grow Then slowly fades away Well let them talk 'Cause they don't know That ours is hear to stay

So let your hair hang down Your arms around me Don't need to make a sound But I'll say it anyway I think I'll fall in love with you

Maestro Nelson Del Pino

Today I'd like to tell you about my producer-manager, Nelson Del Pino, and the role he has played in my music career.

I first started songwriting at age 17, but I didn't start learning to sing and play piano and guitar until around the age of 18 or so, and when I first started I was really bad at it. Most people start singing and/or playing an instrument as kids or young adolescents, so starting at age 18 made me late to the game. I started off self-studying, but my family was pretty discouraging and made fun of me. I tried taking lessons from music teachers, but they were only used to teaching children or young teenagers, and they had no idea what to do with me. They thought I was chasing some sort of pipe dream in trying to pursue music at such a "late age" and were quite discouraging. (In actuality, 18 is still really young. In fact, I think anyone who wants to start learning music at any age should definitely go for it, and not let anyone stop you!) One teacher e…

The Story Behind the Song - "Before the Night is Through"

I first got the inspiration to write "Before the Night is Through" a long time ago. I think it was around 2007. (Click here for lyrics.)

This might disappoint you, but there's no romantic love story behind the song. There was no person who inspired it. Rather, it was simply my effort to write something I hoped people might like, and I know people tend to like love songs. So I decided I wanted to write my own Savage Garden-type of love song.

Realizing that Savage Garden tended to use block piano chords in their songs (see "Truly Madly Deeply"), I sat at my piano in Waipahu, Hawaii, and pounded out a few chords - A, E, G, D.
I thought it sounded pretty good, and had the makings of something interesting. As is a common practice of mine, I decided to think of some random words or phrases to help me remember the song so I can continue to work on it going forward, and because this was supposed to be a type of love song / ballad, I was trying to think of something tha…