Kaiao 4:30-6:30 pm
Brother Noland 7-9 pm
Kaimi Hananoeau 4:30-6:30 pm
Nathan Aweau 7-9 pm
Keauhou 4:30-6:30 pm
Maunalua 7-9 pm
Kunia Galdeira 4:30-6:30 pm
Kupaoa 7-9 pm
Mele Mei (actually, Mele Apelila, Mei, and Iune - April, May, June) is upon us, and there will be lots of events happening! Back this year is Mele Mei Sundays at Kani Ka Pila Grille in the Outrigger Reef. Hereʻs the schedule, mark your calendars!
Kaiao 4:30-6:30 pm
Brother Noland 7-9 pm
Kaimi Hananoeau 4:30-6:30 pm
Nathan Aweau 7-9 pm
Keauhou 4:30-6:30 pm
Maunalua 7-9 pm
Kunia Galdeira 4:30-6:30 pm
Kupaoa 7-9 pm
Awards season is in full swing! The GRAMMYs® are on Sunday - best of luck to Hawai'i's own Kalani Pe'a, who's nominated in the Regional Roots catgeory! The Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (Hawai'i's GRAMMYs®) are in May - but here are some upcoming Nā Hōkū-related dates you need to know:
If you are not a member of HARA (musicians and qualified music-related industries), you must apply for membership no later than February 14 in order to vote on the preliminary ballot. You can apply for membership on the HARA website here.
If you are a former voting member or need to RENEW your membership, the deadline is February 17 (in order to vote on the preliminary ballot). You can renew here.
Hawai'i musicians! Did you release music or a music video between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016? Then it's time to submit your work to the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts for consideration in the 2017 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards! Deadline to submit is 4pm on January 20, 2017.
New this year are some rule changes and clarifications, a new (additional) form, and a submission fee. Please be sure to read the submission guidelines carefully - here is the link.
You may submit your entry(s) either online or by hard copy. My advice? When submitting on behalf of my clients, I always print a copy of the form and fill it out by hand, then use that information to submit online. (It's easier to have everything I need at hand in one place, rather than clicking back and forth through the various online pages.) Click here to download and print a hard copy of the submission form.
Here is the link to the online submission form.
There is also a new form required this year: a "Documentation of Release and Commercial Availability". Click here to download and print.
Also new this year is a $10 processing fee for each submission, which may be paid online when you submit your entry, or by enclosing a check or money order payable to the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts when you submit the copies of your recording(s).
Good luck to all who enter!
In a departure from his usual, award-winning slack key guitar style, multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner and singer-songwriter Kawika Kahiapo is releasing an album featuring 'ukulele and just a few acoustic instruments. Says Kahiapo of the album he entitled "Uke and Call Me Cousin", "I wanted to approach this project old-school style... with a casual, easy-going tone, just like the good old days, jamming with the cousins. These songs and their essence speak for themselves: a little nostalgia and a lot of soul."
Indeed, "Uke and Call Me Cousin" is reminiscent of the casual “garage parties” that are common in Hawai'i to this day. Held at the Kahiapo family home when Kawika was growing up, the parties were frequented not only by family, but by artists such as the world-renowned slack key master Gabby "Pops" Pahinui - and you never knew what song someone was going to play next. In keeping with that style, the album is a blend of songs from a wide variety of artists, with a few original songs thrown into the mix. From classics like "Teach Your Children" and "The Sound of Silence" to Hawaiian favorites like "Kaneohe" and "Kaulana Nā Pua", Kahiapo's smooth vocals and beautiful arrangements make you want to lean back, relax, and just listen. His stripped down version of his award-winning hit song "Life in These Islands", originally released by his former group Kaukahi, will instantly transport listeners to Hawai'i regardless of where they are when they listen to it. His song "Another Time" is especially poignant, given the recent loss of his dear friend and fellow musician, Palani Vaughan.
Kahiapo is the winner of numerous awards, including both Island Music ("Ku'u 'Āina Aloha") and Slack Key ("Ho'omaluhia") Album of the Year at the 2015 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards; three Nā Hōkū Awards in 2007 for his former group Kaukahi's debut album "Life in These Islands" (Song and Group of the Year), and the Ki Ho'alu (slack key) Award; and he was featured on the GRAMMY® award-winning album, "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key".
Produced by Kahiapo and Imua Garza, "Uke and Call Me Cousin" was recorded, engineered, and mixed by Garza at his Zeo Music Studios. Kahiapo plays a KoAloha tenor 'ukulele and a Kanile'a baritone 'ukulele. Garza plays upright bass, banjo, cajon, and keyboard.
The release date is set for December 23, 2016. The CD will be available at Me Ke Aloha, and digitally online at CD Baby, iTunes, and other standard sites. Wider release through other retail outlets will follow.
Continental U.S.A.! Are you ready for some award-winning Hawaiian music in 2017? Nathan Aweau, Kawika Kahiapo, and George Kahumoku, Jr. are headed your way! Here's the schedule - get your tickets before they sell out!
Feb 06 Triple Door, Seattle, WA, Tickets
Feb 07 Triple Door, Seattle, WA, Tickets
Feb 08 Triple Door, Seattle, WA, Tickets
Feb 09 Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, OR, Tickets
Feb 11 Humboldt State University - Center Arts, Arcata, CA, Tickets
Feb 15 Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis, MN, Tickets
Feb 16 Folk Alliance International, Kansas City, MO Info
Feb 17 Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL Tickets
Feb 18 Club Passim 1st Show, Cambridge, MA, Tickets
Feb 18 Club Passim 2nd Show, Cambridge, MA, Tickets
Feb 19 George Flynn Concerts, Clinton, CT, Tickets
Feb 24 UF Performing Arts, Gainesville, FL, Tickets
Feb 25 The Barns at Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA, Tickets
Feb 27 St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Chatham, NJ Tickets
Mar 01 Weis Center for the Performing Arts, Bucknell University,
Lewisburg, PA, Tickets
Mar 03 California Center for the Arts, Escondido, CA, Tickets
Mar 04 South Broadway Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM, Tickets
Mar 05 James A. Little Theater, Santa Fe, NM, Tickets
Mar 08 Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, CA, Tickets
Mar 10 Harris Center, Folsom, CA, Tickets
Mar 12 Kuumbwa Jazz, Santa Cruz, CA, (Tickets available soon)
Mar 15 Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA, Tickets
Apr 08 Musco Center for the Arts , Orange, CA, Tickets
Apr 09 Campbell Hall, UCSB, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA,
Known locally in Hawaii for performing a version of the hit song "Fish and Poi" in a Burger King commercial, and nationwide for his performances as part of team Adam on The Voice, singer-songwriter Duncan Kamakana (Osorio), will release his original single "Midnight Stones" on Friday October 21. The son of Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner Jon Osorio ("Hawaiian Eyes", "Hawaiian Soul") and brother of celebrated slam poet Jamaica Osorio, both of whom chant and sing back-up vocals on the song, Kamakana says he wrote Midnight Stones as a song of hope, one that he hopes will help unify the Hawaiian people. Says Kamakana, "As we as Native Hawaiians continue to find our place in the current state of Hawaii, it is important that we continue to imua (go forward) together."
Despite growing up surrounded by music, until he entered his 8th grade year at Kamehameha Schools Kamakana was more interested in sports (he was honored for his prowess in soccer, basketball, and football). There, for the first time, he picked up a guitar and discovered a passion for singing and songwriting. He was accepted into the prestigious Concert Glee Club as a bass, and the high caliber of the musicians there encouraged him to express himself musically.
With his song "Midnight Stones", which Kamakana said seemed to just write itself, he explores the effect of war on people. The first verse is a loosely translated version of King Kamehameha's famous speech “Imua e na Poki'i”, written during his quest to unify the islands and depicting the march to battle. The second verse is about beginning the journey home after the battle has been fought, and references Hawaiians as a voyaging people. It is also is meant to acknowledge the important work being done by the Hokule'a. (With the ugliness of war behind you, the horizon line is all that's left for you.) The third verse describes the soldiers returning home from battle, searching for comfort in their journey.
Although the lyrics are primarily in English, they incorporate many aspects of Hawaiian writing, including the idea of "kauna", or hidden meaning. Says Kamakana, "Every line in the song is a reference to more than one idea, and like a lot of my favorite Hawaiian songs, "Midnight Stones" says a great number of things while using just a few words."
"Midnight Stones" was produced by Shawn Pimental, and engineered by Pimental and Michael Grande of Studio Ala Moana. It features Kamakana on guitar and vocals; Pimental on bass, drums, and percussion; and Grande on piano and organ. Kamakana sings lead vocals, Jon and Jamaica Osorio sing backing vocals and chants.
The single will be available in digital format only on iTunes and at other outlets. In the mean time, here's a behind-the-scenes look at the making of "Midnight Stones":
Up-and-coming Hawaiian slack key guitarist, singer/songwriter and composer Aja Gample has released her debut album entitled, Huaʻi (to uncover, to break forth, to reveal), a title which seemed befitting to her as the concept for her debut CD. Huaʻi is a collection of four original songs and three cover songs for which she wrote new arrangements. Included on the album is "Pua Mai Ka Lani", the first song Aja ever wrote. It was inspired by a dancer she admired, and talks about the way she dances, the grace, beauty and prowess that she possesses as a dancer, and what Aja thinks all dancers strive to portray when sharing a story. Enchanted when watching her dance for the first time, Aja she tried to capture that moment in song.
Born and raised on the island of O'ahu, Aja began playing ʻukulele at age six and guitar by age ten. Her grandfather began teaching her kī ho'alu (Hawaiian slack key guitar) when she was 12, and it quickly became her passion. Continuing to learn and be mentored by renowned Hawaiian musicians, the talented young artist has been increasingly asked to share her music, and in addition to her solo performances, has become a regular performer at slack key festivals. Hoping to one day share her culture with the world through her passion for kī ho'alu and Hawaiian music, she says she recently learned something very important: “Pono au kekuleana a e hoʻomaukaʻōlelohawaiʻi no ka mea he hawaiʻi au.” ("I have a responsibility to perpetuate the Hawaiian language because I am Hawaiian.") Taking this to heart, she set about composing more stories and songs, and the release of this, her debut album, has put her further down that path.
In keeping with the concept of Huaʻi, Aja wanted to showcase not only her ability to compose original songs, but also to arrange existing works such as "ʻĀ ʻOia!". Written by John Kameaaloha Almeida, "ʻĀ ʻOia!" is a song that pays homage to her roots. Aja wrote her own arrangement of the song, creating an introduction that is a short medley with "Take The A Train" which quickly transitions into "ʻĀʻOia!"
Hua'i was recorded primarily at Blue Planet Sound in Honolulu, with the exception of "Hula Blues" and "Mele Moemoea", which were recorded at Rainbow Studios in Burbank, CA. Aja sang all vocals and played guitar. Guest artists include: Daniel Gibson (percussion); Chris Kamaka (bass); Kapō Ku (ʻukulele); and Joe Lamano (bass).
The CD is currently available at Me Ke Aloha online, and at Na Mea (Ward Warehouse). Download versions are available on CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.
Here are a few clips from the album:
The First Round online entry process to submit entries for the 59th annual GRAMMY® Awards is now open!
Recordings released from October 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016 are eligible in this first round. (Note: only recordings that were COMMERCIALLY RELEASED and available nationally in the United States are eligible for consideration, meaning they are available at a brick-and-mortar store, or online at CD Baby, iTunes, or one of the other commercial outlets. Recordings that are only available on a record company's or musician's website - or at their performances - are not eligible.) The first round entry period ends July 20, 2016 at 6pm PST.
Final Round submissions (for recordings released from August 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016) open August 10, and close August 24, 2016. (And yes, if you release an album after the final submission date and up to September 30, you must still submit your GRAMMY® entry by August 24 at 6pm PST. I know, I know - confusing, yes? But I didn't make the rules!)
You or your record or media company must be a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS - or "The Academy") in order to submit. I am again submitting on behalf of eligible clients (and a friend or two), so if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me!
NOTE: IF YOU RELEASED AN ALBUM IN THE HAWAIIAN MUSIC GENRE, PLEASE SUBMIT AN ENTRY! One of the reasons we lost our own, separate Hawaiian Music category several years ago and were rolled into the Regional Roots category is that there weren't a sufficient number of entries each year to warrant keeping the Hawaiian category. If we are ever to get our own category back, we must increase the number of entries!
Kahala Mall will be featuring a variety of musical entertainment this summer, from traditional Hawaiian to Pop, Indie, Folk, and Jazz. The concerts will take place every weekend from now through July. All performances will be held at Center Court (unless otherwise noted), and are free.
June 25: Kapena 12-1pm; Kamakakehau Fernandez 2-3pm
June 26: Chris Salvador 12-1pm; Jeremy Cheng 2-3pm
July 2: Kupaoa 12-1pm; Hoku Zuttermeister 2-3pm
July 3: Sean Na'auao 2-3pm
July 9: Melaniie 12-1pm
Jason Laeha 1-2pm
Simple Souls 2-3pm
Evan Khay 3-4pm (Macy's Wing)
July 10: Sean Cleland 12-1pm
Wood & Stone 2-3pm
IZIK 3-4pm (Macy's Wing)
July 16: Ben and Maila 12-1pm; Yoza 2-3pm
July 17: Randy Allen 12-1pm
July 23: Keilana 12-1pm; Duncan Kamakana 2-3pm
July 24: Jessica Joy & Shay Marcello 12-1pm; Izik 2-3pm
July 30: Randy Allen 12-1pm; Jason Laeha 2-3pm
July 31: PaizLee 2-3pm
The mall is located at the corner of Waialae and Kilauea Avenues.
Hawai'i's popular live music TV show Pakele Live is holding its annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards preview show on Thursday May 26, featuring 2016 nominees Chad Takatsugi (for his debut solo album "Ahuwale"); Nathan Aweau (for his album "'Āina Hānau"); Natalie Ai Kamauu (for her album "LaLaLaLa"), and Sean Na'auao (for his album "Lehua Beauty"). All four artists are prior nominees and winners (Chad when he was with the popular group 'Ale'a) and they continue to record albums that delight audiences, critics, and radio program directors alike.
Beginning at 6:30pm, the artists will perform 30 minute sets in the following order (also listed are the categories in which they or their albums are nominated):
Chad Takatsugi - Ahuwale
Hawaiian Album of the Year
Haku Mele (3 nominations in this category!)
Hawaiian Language Performance
Nathan Aweau - 'Āina Hanau
Male Vocalist of the Year
Album of the Year
Single of the Year (for "In the End - HI Sessions")
Song of the Year
Instrumental Composition of the Year
Island Music Album of the Year
Natalie Ai Kamauu - LaLaLaLa
Female Vocalist of the Year
Album of the Year
Single of the Year
Song of the Year
Hawaiian Album of the Year
Sean Na'auao - Lehua Beauty
Male Vocalist of the Year
Album of the Year
Hawaiian Album of the Year
The show will take place from 6:30-8:30pm at the Willows Restaurant (901 Hausten St., Honolulu), and is free to the public. If you would like to make a reservation, please call (808) 952-9200. The show will be streamed live .
Pakele Live is filmed live on Thursdays from 6:30-8:30pm at the Willows Restaurant (901 Hausten St., Honolulu, HI). It is also streamed live, and edited for later airing on Oceanic Time Warner TVʻs OC16. Check TV listings for times/days. The public is welcome to attend the live show free of charge.
Singer-songwriter Blayne Asing, whose debut album “Young, Old Soul” quickly sold out of its first printing and is nominated for two 2016 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (Hawaii’s GRAMMY® Award), is releasing a new single on April 22, 2016 inspired by his love of the island of Molokai. Written for his Molokai family, “Molokai On My Mind” expresses his experience living the Molokai life, with references to family, fishing, hunting, beautiful landscapes, and unforgettable people.
Asing has spent the last few years traveling back and forth between Oahu and Molokai, finding it increasingly difficult to leave the beautiful, unspoiled island with each trip. What were supposed to be two day trips stretched to five. One week trips stretched to two. Says Asing, “There is a mana about the island that most people disregard or cannot connect to. As the saying goes, “if you know, you know...” His lyrics reflect his longing to stay on an island heavily steeped in Hawaiian culture and natural beauty (“Should I stay or should I go to find my heart”), and the traditional Hawaiian way of life (“The ocean brings the taste of supper time...”)
Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, Asing had no formal music training. He credits his ability to play with having a natural ear for learning. He taught himself how to play guitar by watching YouTube videos. He began playing ʻukulele at age eight; singing in the Kamehameha Children’s Chorus at age nine; playing guitar at age 14; and playing percussion in the Kamehameha Schools marching, concert, and pep bands from ages 12 to 18. Although he grew up loving the music of popular Hawai’i artists such as Ernie Cruz, Jr., Brother Noland, Gabby Pahinui, Olomana, and more, his own music is heavily influenced by country and folk music artists such as James Taylor and Jackson Browne.
“Molokai On My Mind” was produced by Bailey Matsuda (with Executive Producer Darren Tsuchiya), and recorded, engineered and mastered by Milan Bertosa at Island Sound Studios. In addition to his vocals, Asing played acoustic guitar and dobro. Guest artists include Bailey Matsuda (piano), Noel Okimoto (drums), and Mark Tanouye (bass).
“Molokai On My Mind” is available in digital format only, currently at Me Ke Aloha and soon on iTunes, CD Baby, and other digital outlets. Here is a preview:
The finalists were announced today for the 2016 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. Ballot sheets will be mailed to voting members tomorrow, and the Awards will be announced May 28th at the Hawai'i Convention Center.
Click on "download file" to open the list of nominees, or see below... (most readers will need to click the file link)
Good luck to all the nominees!
`UKULELE VIRTUOSO HERB OHTA, JR. RELEASES 12th SOLO RECORDING
The year 2015 marked 25 years in the music industry for multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano and Hawai‘i Music Award winner Herb Ohta, Jr. In celebration of that achievement, on April 1, 2016, he released My ‘Ukulele World - an album containing both original material and a variety of songs written by others, including Queen Liliʻuokalani, John Piʻilani Watkins, and more. He also includes vocals on two songs (‘Ulupalakua and Noho Paipai) – something he rarely does, but that is always requested by his fans.
Citing ‘ukulele masters such as his father (Ohta-San), Eddie Kamae, Lyle Ritz, Byron Yasui, Benny Chong and more for paving the way for the ‘ukulele players of today, with this album Ohta, Jr. hopes to not only continue following in their footsteps but to create new paths for the younger musicians who look up to him as he looks up to and has learned from the masters. Of the four original songs on the album, Ohta, Jr. includes Paradise, written about how lucky he is to be from Hawaiʻi; and Lēʻahi Morning, about his regular visits to Lēʻahi Hospital to perform for the senior residents. He dedicates the song to the residents and staff of the hospital.
Now a master in his own right, Ohta, Jr. began playing at age three and teaching at age nine. He was a member of the prestigious Honolulu Boy Choir, the Honolulu Children’s Opera Chorus, and the University High School Select Choir. Although influenced by Jazz, R&B, Latin, and Brazilian music, some of which is evident in his recordings and performances, Hawaiian music remains his favorite. He began his professional career in 1990, when his father featured him on one of his recordings. In addition to his solo albums, Ohta, Jr. has released twelve duets with artists such as GRAMMY® Award Winners Daniel Ho and Keoki Kahumoku, as well as Bryan Tolentino, Tony Conjugacion, and multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner and former Pure Heart front-man Jon Yamasato. He has also contributed to more than 40 other recordings. John Berger of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser once said of him, “For ʻukulele fans who prefer unpretentious technical proficiency over theatrics, Herb Ohta, Jr. is the undisputed master ʻukulele instrumentalist of his generation.”
Produced by Ohta, Jr. and DJ Pratt, My ‘Ukulele World was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Pratt at Blue Planet Sound Studios. Guest artists include: Randy Aloya on bass; Jeff Au Hoy on steel guitar; Garin Poliahu on drums; Jon Porlas on percussion; DJ Pratt (guitar solo on “Shore Break”); Halehaku Seabury (Hawaiian language consultant and guitar solo on “Noho Paipai”); and Jon Yamasato (guitar and background vocals on “ʻUlupalakua”).
My ‘Ukulele World is available on Herbʻs website, and will be available soon at Me Ke Aloha , and other retail outlets.
Honolulu, HI – Award-winning Hawaiian recording artist Keale has released his 2014 album Aina Kaula: Motherland on vinyl; one of the first musicians in Hawai’i to embrace the growing trend. "Aina Kaula" means motherland, but it has a few deeper meanings as well: one is a reference to the island of Kaula, which is a sacred destination of Niʻihau kāhuna (priest, keeper); another is "prophetic land" or a land which speaks to its people in powerful, spiritual depths.
Hawaiian music with a distinctly "cowboy/paniolo" feel, the album’s arrangement was influenced by Keale’s country upbringing in California’s San Joaquin Valley as a "seed of the dustbowl," as well as the sounds of his late uncle Moe Keale, the early Makaha Sons of Ni’ihau (with his first cousin, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, also known as Bruddah IZ), bluegrass, cumbia, and ranchera music. It includes four original songs that were either written by Keale or derived originally from chants and then put to music. Palani Vaughan’s “Kamamakakaua” and the classic “Hiʻilawe” have been arranged in a Mexican corrido style. Queen Lili’uokulani’s “Manu Kapalulu” was arranged in the bluegrass style.
Of Cherokee and Hawaiian ancestry, Keale’s recording projects are always a reflection of his latest intellectual, spiritual and ‘āina (land) stewardship pursuits. He says his #1 rule is “immersion before composition,” and that only after he feels totally present in a place will he attempt to write for it. In Aina Kaula: Motherland, he has chosen to “sing through” all the places he would call “Motherland”: Planada and the San Joaquin Valley/Indian Country; Niʻihau-connected places, and the sky & land he inhabits.
Of his decision to release Aina Kaula: Motherland on vinyl, it appeals across all age groups and demographics, and the demand for the format saw a resurgence in 2008 and has risen sharply ever since - with sales of over 9 million copies in 2014.
Produced by Keale and recorded and engineered by Chris Lau at his Rhythm and Roots studio, the album features Keale on vocals, ʻukulele, 4-string cuattro/requinto, and Cherokee flute; Bill Griffin on mandolele, mandolin and octave mando player; Chris Lau on upright bass and accordion; and Stephen Inglis on acoustic guitar. Guest vocalists are Paula Fuga and Emma Mix. Additional guest musicians include Paul Cartwright (Fiddler from the Walking Dead HBO series); Mike Witcher (dobro player from Peter Rowan's bluegrass band, Nickel Creek); Jeff Dayton (acoustic guitar out of Nashville); and Don Kaulia (slack key guitarist).
The album is available is available in both vinyl and CD format at Keale’s website .
Keale will be appearing on Pakele Live Thursday January 14th to perform songs from Aina Kaula: Motherland and talk about the vinyl release. The show will be broadcast live online from the Willows Restaurant (901 Hausten St., Honolulu) from 6:30-8:30pm HST on www.pakelelive.com.
Mele O Hālawa, the sound track to Matt Yamashita’s beautiful documentary film, “Sons of Hālawa”, about the life of Molokai’s Pilipo “Pops” Solatorio, was recently released in limited quantities.
The film documents 'Anakala (Uncle) Pilipo and his life on the island of Molokai. He is the last to hold the cultural traditions, music, and stories of the sacred Hawaiian valley of Hālawa - home to his family for hundreds of years.
At age five, Pilipo was selected by his adopted grandfather to become the cultural practitioner for his family, and was given the responsibility of perpetuating the traditions of Hālawa Valley. But growing up in the isolated community was not easy and Pilipo, like most others of his generation, left Hālawa vowing never to return. However, when he got married and started a family, the valley and the teachings of his grandfather called him home to fulfill his destiny. The film follows Pilipo as he guides and talks with his son, Greg, and his two hanai (adopted) sons (Josh, a taro farmer, and Jason, a musician from New York). Which one will take on the responsibility of carrying the traditions forward? Or will all three play a role? If Pilipo doesn’t succeed in finding a successor, generations of knowledge will be lost forever.
Comments from actor Jason Scott Lee (Dragon-The Bruce Lee Story, Jungle Book, Rapa Nui, Lilo & Stitch, etc.), who is also a hanai son to Pilipo: "Matt Yamashita and crew have created something very special with Pilipo "Pops" Solatorio's life story. Taking us on a ride back in time on one of our most cherished islands, Molokai, we experience hardship, history, and Aloha through the voice and eyes of Pops. This heartfelt, graceful portrayal allows us a well-deserved "Ha" (Breath of Life) as a break from the fast-paced, hectic, techno world most of us live in.”
About the film and the CD, Jason Poole had this to say:
“The songs included on the CD are really special to ʻAnakala Pilipo [whom Jason calls Pops]. They are a link to the past, his past. Growing up in Hālawa Valley, he heard these songs sung by his relatives and neighbors. Without television and other “modern day” devices, music was a huge part of the daily life in the valley. He says that he’s the oldest living descendant of his generation still living in the valley. (Note: He may be the oldest living Hālawa native in the valley—maybe on the whole island. I would have to verify that.)”
“He was so excited to share them with me. And I was so excited to learn them!”
“Music was my way in when it came to all things Hawaiian. I fell in love with the music first. And when I went to Molokai to spend time with Pops back in 2007, my goal was this: to learn some songs that were “standards” on the island of Molokai. (I secretly hoped that he would share songs that were from Hālawa Valley, but I wasn’t sure.)”
“And now we have a recording of both Molokai standards as well as songs specifically from Hālawa Valley.” [Six of the songs on the recording are original compositions by Pops, Lono, and Jason]
“Lei Hālawa has become a theme song for me. It’s the song I use to open a concert or a talk-story session. It’s an instant connection to Molokai, to Hālawa Valley and to Pops, himself. I only know of one other recording (recorded by the Molokai Trio on their album Aloha Molokai) that features the song. I was so excited to hear it, sure that it would be an instant favorite. I was so wrong! It took a long time for me to cleave to it. But now it’s a favorite, for sure. The lyrics are based on a traditional oli that describe some of the sites in Hālawa Valley. The melody was borrowed from a Christian tune composed by James McGranahan. The same melody was used for Rev. Lorenzo Lyon’s song Hawai’i Aloha.”
“I know that ʻAnakala Pilipo feels the need to leave a legacy for future generations—especially because he is the only one who is living in the valley and perpetuating the cultural traditions he grew up with. This recording is a way to preserve that mana, that energy that’s been gathering for centuries.”
“I love the scene in the documentary when Pops hears the CD for the first time. He and Lono are sitting in the valley in ʻAnakala’s hale ʻike (learning house). The music fills the air and ʻAnakala’s eyes fill with tears. It’s like he’s listening to his ancestors singing again.”
“Being a part of this project is one of the greatest things I’ve done in my life. I see this as a way for ʻAnakala Pilipo and I to be connected forever. Our voices weave in and out of each other on the CD. Sometimes it’s even difficult to discern who is singing what. And for me, being an outsider who has been lovingly brought inside Hawai’i—inside a Hawaiian family via hānai—it brings me into this legacy. And it brings me in through a door that I’m familiar with, a medium that I trained in.”
“As a Kumu Hawai’i in this line of teachers, it’s an honor to be a part of this island’s (and this valley’s) rich musical tradition. An honor to be a carrier of its traditional songs, as well as link in the chain of the island’s (and valley’s) composers.”
The CD is available online at Me Ke Aloha while supplies last. The film has been shown at the Hawai’i International Film Festival, with screenings on the islands of O’ahu, Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Maui, and of course, Molokai, and the producers are hoping to enter it in other film festivals on a wider scale.
Below is the film’s official trailer, the music video for Jason’s original song “Healing Waters”, and some song clips from the CD.
Just in time for holiday giving, multi-talented, fourteen-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner Nathan Aweau has released yet another all-original album. ‘Āina Hānau is filled with songs inspired by his beloved Hawai’i, and his first grandchild, Queen Lili’uokalani, Tahiti, and Nagaoka, Japan (Honolulu’s sister city).
Known for his hauntingly beautiful vocals (he’s won Male Vocalist of the Year honors three times – more than any other artist), especially when singing leo ki’eki’e (Hawaiian falsetto), Aweau’s songs on this latest album range from expressing his sudden awe at the beauty of Kahakuloa, Maui as he stood at the top of a ridge looking down on the valley at a place where time seems to have stood still (I Ka La'i O Kahakuloa); to a fun song about traveling to various places in Hawai’i (Ho'ole'ale'a); to the title track, which is a metaphor that describes Hawai'i as Heaven. The melody to Mo'i O Lili'u was written after Aweau dreamt he was standing in front of Iolani Palace with thousands of others on the day Queen Liliuokalani was arrested and imprisoned. The Queen looked at him as she passed and said, "Don't worry about me, take care of each other".
Aweau was born into a musical family, and his early years consisted of piano, guitar, and ‘ukulele lessons, followed by saxophone, percussion, and bass. He began his professional career in college, accompanying such well-known performers as Gabe Baltazar, Henry Kapono, Loyal Garner, and Nohelani Cypriano. He was also a member of the award-winning groups Ka'eo, the Ali'i's, and HAPA, and played with the legendary Don Ho for 16 years. His passion for the electric bass led to his decision to make it his main instrument, which ultimately resulted in his 2005 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Jazz Album of the Year for his CD Bass Etude – just one of the many music awards he’s won.
Music critic Wayne Harada of the Honolulu Advertiser said of Aweau, “Nathan is that distinguished rarity…a jack of all trades, master of a wide domain”. The New York Times opined, “Nathan has an in-depth understanding of orchestration, and his singing style is effortless”.
As is the case for all of his solo releases, ‘Āina Hānau is 100% Aweau. He sang all the vocals (including background); played all the instruments; wrote and arranged all the songs (although Kimo Armitage wrote the lyrics for Mo’i ‘O Lili’u and Ai Ishida wrote the lyrics for Inori); and recorded, mixed, and mastered the album at his In My Bathroom Studios.
The CD is currently available at Me Ke Aloha. Wider release through other online and retail outlets will follow.
(Note about the track Nathan wrote for his new granddaughter (Lilia): he said that when his daughter told him and his wife that she was pregnant, he was not a happy camper (he wasn’t ready to be a GRANDPA!), but his wife was really excited, so what he thought didn't matter – ha! But when Lilia was born she totally melted his heart. He forgave his daughter.... )
Postscript: I'd like to say a very special thank you to Nathan for using one of my photos as the cover art for this album. I am so incredibly honored!
On the heels of his 2015 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards for Island Music Album of the Year (Ku'u 'Aina Aloha) and Slack Key Album of the Year (Ho'omaluhia), Kawika Kahiapo has released Kawaiola (Living Water), an album of inspirational and spiritual songs that are close to his heart. A combination of original songs, including “First Christmas,” which was recorded by Na Leo in 2001, classics such as an instrumental version of “Amazing Grace” (Lokomaika’i), and several medleys, including "Hawai’i Aloha" with "I Left It All With Jesus", the common thread throughout the album is Kahiapo’s deep spirituality.
A professional musician since the age of 17, Kahiapo is also an ordained minister who has officiated at weddings in addition to performing at them. His love and devotion to his friends and family, and to Hawai’i’s people, land, and culture are evident not only in his songs, but also in how he lives: he volunteers for countless projects and he sits on the governing boards of a variety of organizations; from PBS Hawaii, to the North Shore Community Land Trust, to Jack and Kim Johnson’s Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, and more. Musically, he has contributed his talents to over 80 recording projects, and has collaborated and performed with artists from the internationally acclaimed Jack Johnson to fellow GRAMMY® Award winner Cyril Pahinui; the Sunday Mānoa’s Palani Vaughan, and many more. He is a fixture at slack key festivals all over the U.S. and abroad, and the demand for both his slack key and vocal talents has expanded to include the recording of numerous jingles and theme songs for radio and television ads.
Kawaiola is a reflection of his gratitude for all he has and has accomplished; his values; and his heart.
Produced by Kahiapo, the album contains tracks newly recorded and engineered by Chris Lau at his Rhythm and Roots Recording studio, and tracks previously recorded by Pierre Grill at Rendezvous Recording Studio and released on Kahiapo’s “Alana” and “One Heart, One Voice” albums. Guest artists include Jesse Rivera (backup vocals on “Aloha Kaua”), Kelly Boy De Lima (backup vocals on “Glorify Thy Name/Come Oh Lord”), Leon Siu (slack key guitar on “Amazing Grace”), and Kumu Hula Chinky Mahoe doing the opening chant and ‘ōlelo (Hawaiian language) scripture reading on “Pule”.
The CD is currently available at Me Ke Aloha. Wider release through other online and retail outlets will follow.
(Note: the painting used for the cover art is by Hawai'i's nature artist and environmentalist Patrick Ching.)
Five-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winners Waipuna (Kale Hannahs, David Kamakahi, and Matt Sproat) will be embarking on a quick, what I like to call “all over the place” tour of the mainland next month, including a few stops in cities they haven’t visited on prior tours.
The tour begins October 15th in Chicago, then moves to Northern California the next day, followed by a stop in Southern California and then up to Seattle – or as Kale says, “traveling 10,000 miles in 7 days”! (See the poster for complete tour information.)
The group began in 2007 as a collaboration between two talented musicians - Kale Hannahs and Matt Sproat – who were looking to create a fresh, new sound in Hawaiian music after many years on the Hawaiian music circuit. In 2011, Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner David Kamakahi joined the group, adding a fullness to Waipuna’s already-distinctive sound.
Kale is a veteran of the music scene, earning a reputation as a steady bass player and vocalist. A former vice president of the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) and founding member of the award-winning group 'Ale'a, he has played and recorded with many of Hawai'i’s talented musicians including Napua Grieg, Robi Kahakalau, Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole, Weldon Kekauoha, Sean Na'auao, Cody Pueo Pata, Aaron Sala, Hoku Zuttermeister, Holunape, Maunalua, Nā Palapalai, and more.
Although born and raised on O’ahu, Matt is from the famous Sproat family of North Kohala on Hawaiʻi Island. He began his music career playing Hawaiian music in Waikiki and on the cruise ship S.S. Independence, and in 2003 won the Big Island falsetto competition and was featured in the “Aloha Festivals Falsetto Winners Volume 5” CD. He, too, has performed with some of the best musicians Hawaiʻi has to offer, and has dedicated himself to mastering his craft as a Hawaiian musician specializing in the art of falsetto singing, continuing his family’s tradition of perpetuating the Hawaiian culture through music.
A master ʻukulele player, David’s ʻukulele and his vocals add a richness to Waipuna’s music, and his addition to the group created a fullness that added even more depth to what was already a unique, exciting sound. Like Kale and Matt, David is a Kamehameha Schools graduate, where he won the Pono Beamer Award for Excellence in the field of Hawaiian music. He studied with ʻukulele grand master Eddie Kamae, and was a featured artist and vocalist on a number of albums from the age of 15. He, too, has performed and recorded with many of Hawaiʻi’s greats, including his late father Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, and Mike Kaawa, Herb Ohta, Jr., Jon Yamasato, and many more. He won a 2005 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for his debut solo album “Paʻani”.
Waipuna released their first album ("Mana’o Pili") in 2009 as a duo. David’s addition to the group in 2011 helped add that extra something to the group’s sound that contributed to the recognition their second album ("E Ho’i Mai") received at the 2012 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, where they took home three awards, including Group of the Year. Their 2012 single “Merry Christmas Darling” was awarded Single of the Year honors, and their 2013 EP “Nāpili” garnered two more awards. They released their third full-length CD "E Mau Ke Aloha" in 2014.
The trio is in great demand by various hula hālau (groups) all over Hawai’i (and Japan) to perform at events such as the prestigious annual Merrie Monarch Festival and the Keiki Hula Competition, and they travel frequently to Japan to perform for thousands of loyal fans all over that country. Their prowess in performing Hawaiian music, as well as their beautiful harmonies, make them instant fan favorites wherever they go, so if you live near any of the cities where they’ll be performing on this tour, don’t miss your chance to see them live!
Here is a video of them performing "Kamehameha Trilogy" – an instant hit from their “E Ho’i Mai” album - from an appearance on Maui in 2013.
ʻUkulele virtuoso Andrew Molina, a finalist in the 2014 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards' ‘Ukulele Album of the Year category for his debut album “The Beginning,” has announced a west coast tour beginning September 24 in San Diego.
From the island of Maui, Andrew began playing the ʻukulele when he was 13 years old and hasn't looked back. His love and passion for the instrument shows in his playing, and he composed eight of the 11 songs on his debut CD. He is always trying to find a way to take the ʻukulele to the next level, playing a mixture of pop, Hawaiian, rock and a little bit of jazz. He plays regularly at a variety of venues on Maui has appeared on the TV show Pakele Live, at the Gabby Pahinui Waimānalo Kanikapila, and more. Don't miss this talented, up-and-coming musician! For more information, visit his website.
Barry Black, Loa Greyson (Tini Grey), and Joe Tolo, contestants on NBC's The Voice in seasons 5, 7, and 8 respectively, have a common bond other than being contestants – they are all of Samoan ancestry. This, and their love of music, drew them together to form a lasting friendship, which ultimately led to the idea of coming together to do a three-city tour. Although they met with varying degrees of success on The Voice, they have each continued their musical journeys: pursuing music full time, or on a part time basis worked around school and day jobs; writing and recording albums, singles, and EPs; making music videos; playing live gigs.
Their short tour, set for October 8, 17, and 21 and centered in or near where each member of the trio currently lives, will consist of separate sets wherein each will perform their preferred style of music, with Black concentrating on the soul and R&B for which he is known throughout Las Vegas; Greyson, the smooth folk/pop that has made him a staple at venues like Downtown Disney in Anaheim; and Tolo, the pop and R&B he loves so much. The three will join together at the end of each concert to perform a traditional island song, taking them back to their roots.
Born in American Samoa, Barry Black (Amisone) grew up in Las Vegas and began making a name for himself as an up-and-coming soul and R&B singer while still in college. The singer-songwriter was soon playing all over Las Vegas, both solo shows and with his band, and opening for the likes of John Legend. His music is influenced by his Island roots, but he also loves jazz, reggae, and other genres. His duet of “I Wish It Would Rain” with Preston Pohl during the battle rounds on The Voice was a fan favorite. He has released an EP, “Lost and Found,” and is working on a full-length album.
Born into a musical family – his father is the revered Samoan folk/pop artist Jerome Grey and brother Taumata Grey is a member of the group Common Kings - Loa Greyson, under his nickname “Tini” Grey, began his music career in Hawaii with the popular Polynesian R&B vocal group “Reign,” with whom he released one album in 2001. Influenced not only by his father, but also by a diverse list of R&B, Motown, Soul, Folk, Hawaiian, and Pop artists, Greyson created his own blend of all of those genres, with some acoustic rock and Polynesian added to the mix. A full time musician, the singer-songwriter has released an EP and two full-length albums to critical acclaim, as well as several singles and music videos .
The youngest of eight children, Joe Tolo and his family moved to California from Samoa when he was four years old. His entire family sang and played instruments, so it was only natural that Joe follow in their footsteps. After studying nursing for three years at CSU Hayward, he took a year off to pursue his music dreams and participate on The Voice. His soulful performance of "To Love Somebody" during the Blind Auditions earned him a chair turn by Christina only 15 seconds into the song (followed later by Blake). He recently returned to college to complete his degree, but has also written the songs he plans to record on his debut EP.
The 2015 Beyond The Voice Tour schedule is:
October 8 – San Francisco, CA, Neck of the Woods (406 Clement St), 9pm (21 and over)
October 17 - Las Vegas, NV, The Olive Hookah Lounge (3850 E. Sunset Rd), 9pm
October 21 – Carson, CA, Sol Venue (313 East Carson St), 8pm
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through Greyson’s website at: http://loagreyson.com/beyond-the-voice-tour
In support of their first duet release “ʻUkulele Friends,” Bryan Tolentino and multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano and Hawai’i Music Award winner Herb, Ohta, Jr., along with Halehaku Seabury of the multi-Nā Hōkū Award winning group Nā Hoa, will be touring California next month. (Bryan will also teach two ‘ukulele workshops, and Halehaku will give a solo performance in San Jose.)
The album has been very well-received by fans, and recently received a favorable write-up by long-time music critic John Berger of the Honolulu Star Advertiser. (Please see my April 10 article for more info about the album, plus some sound clips.)
Don’t miss your chance to see these three über-talented artists in person!
Sept. 11: Gardena, CA, HAPPA Restaurant (tix www.honeebeeproductions.com)
Sept. 12: National City, CA, AMSD Concert Series, Sweetwater Union High School (tix www.amsdconcerts.com)
Sept. 13: Huntington Beach, CA, Island Bazaar (tix 714-843-9350)
Sept. 14: Santa Cruz, CA, Pono Hawaiian Grille (831-426-7666)
Sept. 15 & 16: San Jose, CA, ʻUkulele Workshop with Bryan Tolentino at Yu Ai Kai Center (call ʻUkulele Source 408-998-2640)
Sept. 15: San Jose, CA, Hukilau, (Halehaku Seabury solo) (call 408-279-4888)
Sept. 17: Santa Clara, CA, Santa Clara University Music Recital Hall (tix www.honeebeeproductions.com)
Sept. 18: Concord, CA, Live at the Cue (tix Rockin Robbies - East Bay Music 925-687-4220)
Sept. 19: Roseville, CA, The Strum Shop (tix: 916-787-8786)
Having successfully completed a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a video earlier this year, Loa Greyson (a.k.a. Tini Grey) released the completed video today for his hit single Waiting For Me on the Shore. Written by Chris Gelbuda (Meghan Trainor) and GRAMMY® Award winner Tim Fagan (Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, John Mayer), Greyson is the first artist to record the song, traveling to Nashville to work with Gelbuda at The Green Room recording studio (Rascall Flatts, Lady Antebellum, Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn).
Greyson released the single following an eventful year which included an appearance on NBC’s hit show “The Voice” – an appearance that resonated with young musicians, particularly islanders living far from home, who contacted him to say he had inspired them to do things they never thought possible. As an islander living away from home himself, Greyson felt an instant connection to Waiting For Me on the Shore, which evoked both memories of his island home and the excitement of returning there. He wanted to make a video to accompany the song in hopes that it would encourage all people, especially islanders, to embrace their culture, family, and community, particularly in times of hardship and doubt.
The video focuses on a Polynesian man (played by Stephen Seanoa) who has lived away from his island home for many years. Married and a father, life is good, but there are struggles as well. The video shows some of the sacrifices he makes for his family and the conflicts he encounters mentally, physically, spiritually, and culturally, and shows him both at his best and during moments of defeat.
Anaheim Studios’ Daley Hake and Aaron Huisman (best known for his work with superstars Michael Bublé and Josh Grobin) produced the video, which was shot at Anaheim Studios and on the rooftop of Hollywood Audio Lab (Marc Solomon). Dancers from Lokelani's Rhythm of the Islands, Isle Entertainment, and Tupua Productions also appear.
Son of the late Pete Seanoa (a pioneer in Polynesian Entertainment in Southern California), Stephen Seanoa immediately came to mind for the lead role when Greyson first started brainstorming the concept of the video. Just as Greyson is following in his father’s footsteps musically, Seanoa followed in his own father’s footsteps as leader of Tupua Productions, and he was able to portray precisely what most Polynesian men living away from home feel at some point in time. His family joined him in the video, in the rooftop scenes at the end.
The single is available on iTunes . Here is the video:
It’s been eight long years since crowd favorites and multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winners Maunalua (Bobby Moderow, Jr., Kahi Kaonohi, and Richard Gideon) released their last album, but on July 17, 2015, fans will be rewarded for their loyalty and patience with the release of the group’s highly-anticipated fourth album, He Inoa.
He Inoa (“We Are” Maunalua) was so named because it introduces the group’s newest member; vocalist and ʻukulele and guitar player Richard Gideon, who joined the group in 2009. The album continues Maunalua’s tradition of blending unique harmonies, kī hōʻalu (slack key) guitar, and ʻukulele, and features a blend of traditional Hawaiian songs such as “Hilo One” in a medley with William S. Ellis’ “Hula O Makee”; hula standards such as “Pua ʻAhihi” (a trademark song of the Kahauanu Lake Trio); and several original songs, including one by band member Bobby Moderow (“Spirit of Hawaiʻi”) and another by the award-winning Kumu Hula and multi-Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner Manu Boyd, who composed “Maunalua He Inoa” especially for them.
The album also includes fan-favorite “He Is the Only Reason,” with a twist suggested by the group’s award-winning producer Dave Tucciarone, that adds a whole new dimension to the song – that of Denny Hemingson’s (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) pedal steel guitar, which gives it a bit of a country gospel feel and elevates the song to a whole new level not previously heard in the group’s live performances. Other guest artists include Casey Olsen, who plays steel guitar throughout the album; Hoʻomanawanui Apo who plays piano on “Ke Aloha”; and Keo Skudlarick on percussion for “Ke'Ala O Ka Rose”.
He Inoa was produced by Maunalua and Dave Tucciarone, and recorded at Tucciarone’s Seventh Wave Productions studio. It features all three members of the group on vocals, with Bobby Moderow, Jr. (who was recently awarded the Kī Hō‘alu Foundation Legacy Award) on slack key guitar, Kahi Kaonohe on electric bass, and Richard Gideon on guitar and ʻukulele. The album will be available in both digital and CD format at a variety of retail outlets.
A pre-CD release party will be held the night before the official release date at Pakele Live at the Willows (901 Hausten St., Honolulu) on July 16, 6:30-8:30pm, and live streamed at https://livestream.com/pakele/maunalua . The album will be available for purchase for those who attend.
Below are a few sound clips from the album...
Originally from California, Iʻve lived on Oʻahu for a number of years. Music has always been my passion and Iʻm fortunate to be able to work with and support many of Hawaiʻiʻs musicians. For such a tiny speck in the middle of a very large ocean, we have an amazing wealth of talent here!
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