Remembering a beloved brother and musician

Photo: Roland Cazimero
Roland Cazimero. – Photos:

Roland Cazimero – 1950-2016

So many have expressed their thoughts about my brother, eloquently and in pidgin – or paid regards through music, including Roland’s own – that I have difficulty knowing where to begin, except at the beginning.

Roland and I were born September 6, 1950. Everyone except Mama thought she was having one big baby. But she knew there were two of us, and so did Tutu, who in a dream named us Kanoemaileokalani and Kanoeokalani – Maile, feminine for me. Since birth we were nearly inseparable and always unique.

We were typical kids in many ways, always kolohe, fighting, laughing, teasing and playing around. But we did it together: sticking up for one another, crying, hiding when one or both of us did something wrong, and even taking the blame for each other.

Photo: Roland Cazimero with his wife
Kanoe and Roland Cazimero.

Roland was street smart and intuitively smart but didn’t put a lot of stock in book smarts.We helped each other through all of it. He was a natural musician.Like our dad, my brother played guitar, bass, ukulele and tried his hand at Daddy’s steel guitar, banjo and piano, which led to a bit of keyboard. It’s funny, though, that his first formal instrument in band was the tuba. When it came to singing, Roland was a bass. Yet he had an incredible vocal range. People said Robert had the golden voice that lilts with natural and trained ease. But on everyone’s favorites, such as “Kaena,” it was Roland who hit those higher harmonies.

Photo: Roland Cazimero
Roland Cazimero and Cyril Pahinui in 2014 at the Gabby Pahinui Waimānalo Kanikapila. – Photo: Blaine Fergerstrom

Roland was the kindest person I ever knew. He went out of his way to do what he felt was right. Many people, and you know who you are, were beneficiaries of his kindness. If Roland were a plant, he would be bamboo – strong, able to endure even the harshest of winds because his resilience would stand him upright again and again.

We were inseparable until Roland went to the mainland to enlist. Out of high school and on to careers, new interests and relationships, we became separated physically but never in spirit or intent of doing what felt right and good. Life would bring us together in so many incredible ways. And incredibly, the one gift with which I was given at birth would be a lasting gift. Life fashioned us as twins. Thus I am you, you are me and forever we will be.


A celebration of life for the late Roland Cazimero will be held Oct. 8 in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s Monarch Room, where he and his brother Robert headlined as the Brothers Cazimero from 1982 to 1994.

Visitation is from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by music until 7 p.m. Robert Cazimero will be among the performers offering songs and reflections.