NOVEMBER 1, 2023
Honolulu, HI - To celebrate 15 years of making award-winning music together, the men of Waipuna (Kale Hannahs, Matt Sproat, and David Kamakahi) have released a new album entitled Uluwehi, a collection of songs that celebrate the beautiful flowers, scents, and lands throughout Hawai'i. The album features songs from renowned composers such as Queen Lili'uokalani, Edith Kanaka'ole, Johnny Almeida, Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, and Puakea Nogelmeier, as well as several original songs. Sprinkled throughout are a number of guest appearances by award-winning artists, including Weldon Kekauoha, Wailau Ryder, Jake Shimabukuro, Streetlight Cadence's Jonathan Franklin, and more.
Waipuna has consistently won accolades from fans and critics alike, beginning with their first critically acclaimed release Mana'o Pili, with critics praising their strong performances and their ability to honor the past while bringing a contemporary feel to the music. Their somewhat divergent backgrounds blend well: Kale is a strong vocalist and bass player, and was a founding member of the award-winning group 'Ale'a; Matt, from the famous Sproat family, won the Big Island falsetto competition; and David, son of the late Dennis Kamakahi, one of Hawai'i's most prolific songwriters and slack key guitarists, learned 'ukulele at a young age from masters such as the late Eddie Kamae and won Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards both on his own and with his father - before continuing that streak with Waipuna.
Uluwehi was recorded at ʻAuwaʻa Studios with their long-time engineer Kale Chang. Guest artists include Jeff Au Hoy (steel guitar), ʻIwalani Hoʻomanawanui Apo (piano), Wailau Ryder (guitar), Seann Carroll (percussion), Jonathon Franklin (fiddle), Jake Shimabukuro (ʻukulele) Kale Chang (strings arrangements and background vocals), and Weldon Kekauoha (vocals). Producers were Lea Uehara of Tropical Music (executive producer) and Waipuna.
From light-hearted melodies to songs dedicated to majestic cliffs and waterfalls, searches for love, and memories of times spent all over the islands, Uluwehi offers a beautiful lei of thanks and tribute to Hawai'i's composers, past and present. The album is available on all digital outlets, and the liner notes and translations will be available on the band's website (coming soon).
Here are a few song clips: