Hawaiian musician Frank Palani Vaughan Jr. was born on May 27, 1944 in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawai’i. Palani grew up in a musical family and began pursuing an interest in playing music while attending Kamehameha Schools. Performing as a duo with a fellow classmate, Sam Kapu, Jr., legendary Hawaiian entertainer Don Ho noticed Vaughan’s musical talents. Ho encouraged Vaughan to take his music career seriously and to form a group playing Hawaiian music.
While studying at the University of Hawai’i in the 60’s Vaughan met another musician named Peter Moon in a Hawaiian art history course. Vaughan and Moon decided to form a band recruiting fellow Hawaiian musicians Cyril Pahinui and Albert “Baby” Kalima; founding members of a group named The Sunday Manoa. Their debut album entitled “Meet Palani Vaughan and The Sunday Manoa” was released by Hula Records in 1967. Promotion of The Sunday Manoa’s landmark album was halted, as the Vietnam War was taking place and Vaughan had joined the Hawaii National Guard. The group reformed with brothers Robert And Roland Cazimero.
Completing his military service commitment, Vaughan returned to his passion for Hawaiian music forming the “King’s Own”, and began to study, compose, publish, record, and perform tributes to King David Kalakaua and Hawaii’s Monarchy Period. Vaughan was an authority on King Kalakaua. Palani Vaughan and The King’s Own recorded four albums in the 1970’s and early 1980’s in honor of King Kalakaua.
When the Na Hoku Hanohano awards were founded in 1978, Vaughan was honored with the first Hawaiian Album of the Year award for Volume III in his “Ia ‘Oe E Ka La” series. In 1981, he won Male Vocalist of the Year for Volume IV. The revered musician was also bestowed with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Vaughan was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 2013, he was the first among several Hawaiian musicians from the Hawaiian Islands who appeared in the Project Kuleana video of “Kaulana Na Pua,” a mele of opposition to the U.S. annexation of Hawai’i Kingdom.
Frank Palani Vaughan Jr. passed away December 8, 2016 at the age of 72… Aloha ‘Oe.