Jeneʻa de Castro
Jeneʻa started taking Hawaiian dance lessons in her teens from Aunty Arlene Laimana, and later by her daughter Debbie Laimana Vavao. She started dancing professionally right away at Tikiʻs Don the Beachcomber (shes says, "even though I wasnʻt ready").
From there, she proceeded to tour across the country and abroad – she trained with Kumu (teacher) Rolanda Reese to prepare for her US tour, Hawaiʻi on Ice, and trained with teachers Vailili Manai and Runi Tafeaga for her tour in Canada.
She was able to study in the studio of Nonosina and meet Riki Nonosina, as well as a handful of masters as she continued her dance and cultural training (O Tahiti E Tahitian Dance Conservatory, Aunty Linda Wishart of the Tribe Tainui, and even more – listed below).
Her extended travels to the islands of Samoa, plus the encouragement of friends Hans Wendt and Bonnie Kiaha, then catapulted her drive to develop Westwind Productions Professional Entertainment – who began their performances with the group, Prince Peleʻs Polynesian Revue and John and Blessie Fuata at Latitude 20 in Torrance.
From there, she and Gregg then developed Kamakani Komohana.
"Now when we perform we not only entertain, but we also try to educate and tell stories from our experiences in the islands as well as the stories and legends of Polynesia.
I LOVE what I do and I love to see our haumana grow and take into life what they learn and experience from Kamakani Komohana."
Gregg de Castro
Gregg – singer, song writer, teacher – was born one of 9 children in Boca Raton, Florida. Coming from a very musical family, by 15 Gregg was performing professionally for the USO in Long Beach California.
He has worked with world-renowned music professionals such as Don Ralke and Murray Wilson (Beach Boys father and producer), Grammy Award winning producers Johnny Mandel (Theme from MASH and Shadow of Your Smile) and Maurice White (Earth Wind and Fire). He has also opened for Don Ho and sung the National Anthem at the LA Staples Center for the Lakerʻs Organization.
In 1977 he wrote a number one international hit, The Valentino Tango, recorded by Helen Schneider. It was one of the first American Pop Songs performed behind the Berlin Wall. Greggʻs songs have since been published and recorded in 4 different languages.
Jeneʻa and Greggʻs extended honeymoon took them to Puna, Hawaiʻi – where he learned his first slack key guitar – and then to the village of Solo Solo, Western Samoa – where he learned his first Samoan songs from the children in the village. He then went on to write his own songs in the Samoan Language (Manatua Samoa, O Motu O Fiafiaga) which became renowned in both Samoa and the West Coast. In addition, he performed 3 musical tours throughout the villages of Samoa and Tonga.
Gregg received his music education at Mount St. Mary's College, UCLA, and Boston University with studies in theory, orchestration, and voice. He received his voice teaching certification from world renowned vocal instructor, Seth Riggs. From 2011 to 2014 he was a faculty member at the Orange County School of the Arts, teaching the Commercial Voice Classes.
Today Gregg continues performing, composing, recording and teaching. Aside from his private classes in voice and instrument, his great joy is teaching Polynesian Music each week to the students of Kamakani Komohana.