Strummin’ Soul

May 6, 2014 | By Jason Black

Kainalu is the perfect soundtrack to an idyllic Hawaiian sunset.

When you come to Hawai‘i, one thing you must do while you’re here in paradise is to take in a romantic sunset on Waikiki Beach. Imagine soft music, strong, slushy Mai Tais, a warm off-shore breeze of sea, salt and plumeria fragrance, and of course, that special someone alongside. It’s intoxicating and unforgettable.

One of my personal favorite places to share a sunset with both residents and visitors alike is the Sunrise Pool bar at The Modern Honolulu. It’s the perfect way to end the day in a romantic tropical setting before heading out for the night.

Over the past two years, 28-year-old guitar soloist Kainalu Busque (named after the Hawaiian word for “sea wave”) has been holding down Saturday evenings poolside at The Modern from 5 to 8 p.m. and savoring every minute of it: “I love that the audience is always so diverse, different people from different places, some local and others visiting. It’s always fun to read how the crowd is enjoying my music.”

Photo: Alex Kim

Photo: Alex Kim

If you go, grab a signature cocktail at the bar or tableside, and enjoy the festive al fresco ambiance. Musically, you can expect a mellow mix of soulful love songs like “Everyday” and “Sunset Song” combined with timeless covers of master singer-songwriters, including James Taylor, John Mayer, Ray LaMontagne, Bill Withers, among others. “Once in a while, I’ll throw in something new that I’m working on at the moment,” he says. “And, as for my performances, I’d describe them as honest and intimate.” Sounds perfect.

When he’s not lighting up the Pacific night sky with his soft strumming and intense tenor, creating lasting memories for those imbibing around him, he’s in the studio recording his own heartfelt tunes. Actually, in 2011, he released his debut album, Kainalu, that was nominated for two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawai‘i’s equivalent of The Grammys). Now he’s poised to return to the studio and craft some new material soon.

“Right now, I’m set to get back into the studio to start recording my next album. I’m really excited about my new music, and I know people are really gonna love it.”

Sunrise Pool bar at The Modern Honolulu
Saturdays 5-8 p.m.