In Loving Memory of Chino Montero – One of Hawaii’s Finest Musicians

A salute to one of the finest musicians ever~

A good friend of ours passed away today. My dad was especially close with him and so I asked him to share some of his thoughts.

For many years Chino has been a part of our life here at Ko’olau Pono Guitar and Ukulele. Just three days ago he was here at our shop in Wahiawa, and seemed to being doing good. His enthusiasm and big smile was always welcome.
As usual he seemed excited about his next gigs in foreign and exotic lands.

This is all shocking because things can change fast. Death takes our friends away. No matter what our various beliefs in “afterlife” it still hurts when our family and friends die.

He and I used to discuss the importance of professionalism in the music industry, and how so many talented musicians just “throw it away” with substance abuse and promiscuous lifestyles.
But Chino was a pro. He took his business serious. How many musicians practice each day between gigs. Chino not only practiced what he had written out on volumes of sheet music, but did so several hours each day.

Besides performances, I often asked him about what’s going on in the studio, and he would say “I’m working on it, it’s gotta be right”

From the standpoint of musical instruments, Chino was certainly not easy to please. He drove us nuts needing his guitars and ukuleles set up perfect. He knew what he needed. But I looked at it as challenge.
And every time I heard him play, I thought “anyone that can play that good deserves to be picky about his instruments.”

Besides being a good friend, it was an honor and privilege to make and repair his guitars and ukuleles. Chino was not just another musician from Hawaii. Actually he was one of the best musicians in the world.

They say “Rest in Peace” and it’s true, Chino is now in a state of rest. He and I used to discuss bible scripture together, that when we die, we will return again, to the earth. Yes, Chino will be back to play more beautiful music.

~John Kitakis

I would like to add, because it was not well documented, or not well enough, just how amazing Chino was with an ukulele. He was known for guitar but this was one of the most rippin’ uke players ever. What a loss.

Mahalo for stopping by. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Comments 2

  1. What a shock. Chino was great and always took a few minutes to show me some ripping guitar licks when he would stop by Koolau. What a tasteful player, sorry to see him go.

  2. Chino Was and Will always Be No Ka Oi…He Inspired Everyone Who Played with Him To Be Their Best …I believe He Knew he was the Best But Was So Humble he Was Happy to see Others Succeed before Himself…The Last time I saw him was Our Senior Year But I Know He Lived An Honorable and Love Filled Life…Aloha My Friend

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