Schonely Releases CD
Molokai musician Rick Schonely has recorded his first CD and recently went live on radio and performed a couple shows in Honolulu. Schonely, who retired with the Maui Fire Department, teaches at Molokai High, gives tours in Kalaupapa for the Molokai Mule Ride, is the sports reporter at The Molokai Dispatch, and plays music with several local bands.
“Music is life for many of us and we especially enjoy the local Hawaiian music,” he said. “And even more so the music of Molokai is special. Local Hawaiian music reminds us of our ‘ohana and our island and our kuleana to take care of the land the water and most importantly, each other.”
A musician all his adult life, Schonely said he got in the studio for the first time to record with Kapena Delima. His two-track CD, “Aloha from Molokai,” features his own version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “Molokai Cowboy,” written by Ernie Cruz Sr.
“Molokai Cowboy” is dedicated to Cruz and his ‘ohana,” said Schonely.
“I have been singing that song for over 30 years here on this island and I added a couple local versus to Ernie‘s original song,” he explained. “I spoke with him before he passed and he gave me his blessing to sing his song and it is my signature song and we have played it and people have enjoyed it for a long time.”
The CD is available exclusively at Molokai Car Rental across from Friendly Market Center. But Schonely said selling the CD wasn’t his main purpose in recording.
“The CD is my first ever end it is mainly for prosperity so that my great grandkids and the Schonely clan down the line can say that was my papa that who sang ‘Molokai Cowboy,'” said Schonely, who has four adult children and eight grandchildren. “Molokai style music in the heritage of our paniolos. Many here on our island embrace the paniolo culture and we have real Molokai cowboys in our midst.”
Schonely, a member of the groups Six Pak, the Mobettah Band and Eddie Tanaka and Friends, also plays with the Kalaupapa Backyard Band. The Kalaupapa group of seven accompanied Schonely to Honolulu at the end of last month, where they played at the Willows restaurant. He said the show is scheduled to air on OC16 in the future. They also played live on Hawaiian 105 KINE morning show.
A Molokai resident for nearly 40 years, originally from the Pacific Northwest, Schonely said he “fell in love with the aloha spirit…. [and] rural lifestyle here on Molokai.” Schonely first visited when his father, sports broadcaster, Portland Trailblazers announcer and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Schonely bought a condo on Molokai in the late 70s. Rick moved to the island a few years later and never looked back.