Joseph Recca, Iconic Waikiki Artist and Cultural Historian, Dies

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaiian cultural historian, entertainer and performer Joseph Recca has died, according to the nonprofit Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association and Tihati Productions.

Recca was Waikiki’s example of the consummate performer, emcee, storyteller, performing at just about every hotel that had a stage and entertainment.

One of his first public appearances was when he was in 7th grade. He danced the hula and won second place.

One of Recca’s teachers in the Kamehameha schools was the late Sen. Daniel Akaka.

He also worked with Haunani Kahalewai in Waikiki where he opened at the Halekulani Hotel in February 1977, sharing the stage with Marlene Sai and dancer Beverly Noa.

Later that year, he would record the album “A Child of this Land” on the Mele Records label.

He has been scouted by national TV shows and has appeared on shows like the Dinah Shore Show.

Recca also worked for Tihati Productions for years.

He was also well known for his walking tours, learning about Oahu’s rich history.

His passing takes with him an immense knowledge of Hawaii’s past, but also of his personal contributions to Waikiki, visitors and kamaaina, and leaves a lei of aloha to all who were lucky enough to enjoy his warmth and talents.

Recca is survived by his longtime wife, Kumu Shirley Recca. He has two daughters, Elan and Delys Recca, and a grandson, Andrew.

He was a mentor to those in the business of public speaking in Hawaii — and was the master of ceremonies for masters of ceremonies.

James C. Tibbs