Crossing Rain on Hilo’s weekend radar

Photo courtesy Crossing Rain/Karl Sakamoto/TIRZAH Entertainment Crossing Rain, a six-member Hawaii boy band, will be in concert 7 p.m. Saturday at the Palace Theater in Hilo. The members are (clockwise from bottom left): Monarch, J, Asher, Devin, Shotaro and Haru.


For five members of Crossing Rain, Hawaii’s burgeoning boy group, Saturday evening’s concert at Hilo’s Palace Theater is a foray into uncharted territory. But for Jorden Kealoha-Yamanaka, it’s a triumphant homecoming.

Kealoha-Yamanaka, who’ll soon turn 21, has borne witness to musical success all his life. His father, Mark Yamanaka, is an A-list Hawaiian music star, having won 14 Na Hoku Hanohano awards, Hawaii’s equivalent to the Grammys.


His maternal grandfather, Tosh Kealoha, was a founding member of the band Ehukai, which won Hoku statuettes for Song of the Year and Single of the Year in 1997 for “Moloka‘i Slide.” In addition, the late Kaulana Pakele, Ehukai and Mana‘o Company lead singer, was Kealoha-Yamanaka’s uncle — and popular island reggae artist Dillon Pakele is his cousin.

“I was surrounded by a musical family growing up,” said Kealoha-Yamanaka, who goes by the single-letter moniker “J” in the group.

Crossing Rain, or “XR” for short, won its own Hoku award this year for Favorite Entertainer of the Year, which is voted for by the fans instead of members of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.

“It does feel special to bring home another Hoku. And also, it feels great to get one that my dad has never won,” Kealoha-Yamanaka said. “I’ve always wanted one; it was a goal. To go there, to win one and perform with my brothers — and to go up on that stage at the end and sing ‘Hawaii Aloha’ as a winner … after looking up to all those artists on stage with me for so many years was such a blessing.”

Mark Yamanaka is thrilled by the success enjoyed by his son and Hawaii’s first breakthrough boy group.

“You know, he’s doing what he loves, which is entertaining,” Yamanaka said. “He had to get used to the dancing, but he had performing arts at Kamehameha Schools, so it’s kind of stuff that he’s been doing. His having some success, basically, within a year is exciting, and I can’t wait to see where this goes.”

J is the lead singer in the six-member vocal group, whose ages range from 12 to 21. The others are Wyatt Keola Dean Kaneshiro, aka “Monarch,” the group’s leader and rapper; Evan Harutoshi Doria, aka “Haru,” a dancer, vocalist and choreographer; Asher Morgado, a dancer and choreographer; Devin Teruya, a finalist for an international audition for a K-Pop mega group; and Shotaro Takasawa, a native of Japan who contributes his own style of music and dance — some of which he has gained from his father, who was a member of the Japanese band TOKIO.

The band’s best known song off its first album “DREAMS” is “Come Back 2.0,” penned by Jason Blume, who wrote for the Backstreet Boys, and Chris Sernel.

Kealoha-Yamanaka wrote “Water” and he and Kaneshiro co-wrote “Not My Type.” “SHINE” was co-written by TIRZAH Entertainment CEO Susan Kitsu — who scouted and signed the group’s members — in collaboration with Pali Kaaihue and Matt Honda.

“It’s very fulfilling, doing what we love — singing, dancing, performing and writing. It’s also very fulfilling to interact with our fans,” said Kaneshiro, who noted the band’s fans are collectively known as “Thunder.”

“Our fan base is the best,” Kaneshiro said. “They actually make us gifts and write us letters. I’m actually wearing a bracelet, right now, that a fan made me. Devin is, too. They’re always very excited to see us, but they’re also very respectful.”

In addition to their performance at the Hoku awards ceremony, Crossing Rain also has played concerts at the Blaisdell Concert Hall and Hawaii Theater in Honolulu. Their videos and live performances have drawn numerous comparisons to international K-Pop sensation BTS. As it turns out, that’s an apt analogy.

“We, as a group, have studied them and take inspiration from BTS and groups like that,” Kealoha-Yamanaka said. “Because we want to bring that experience and concept to every performance and every music video that we put out.“

While most of the members have some dance experience, and at least a couple have musical theater experience, mastering strong vocals while busting moves was a crucial element of the group’s initial learning curve.

“It definitely takes a lot of discipline,” Teruya said. “We do a lot of training, a lot of dancing to get into condition where we’re able to dance for long periods of time while singing, because we do pride ourselves on being able to sing live while performing. And we want to be able to give a full performance and a live performance to our fans.”

Doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday. Showtime is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45 general admission, $60 VIP, and $25 students with ID, available at Admission prices are $5 more on Saturday.

“We want everyone who comes out Saturday night to see us having fun on stage and have fun with us,” Doria said. “And we’ll have fun seeing the fans, seeing their reactions, hearing their cheers and feeling their energy.

“That, honestly, just brings us to life on the stage.”

Email John Burnett at

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