Wailuku, HI - Kumu Hula, GRAMMY® nominee, and two-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Male Vocalist of the Year Kamaka Kukona will release his third album, Kahekeonāpua, on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2020. The album is a collection of some of his most favorite songs, including many new originals and some classic covers, all of which are aimed at one's deepest emotions. It opens with keiki from Kukonaʻs Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua chanting in the background as he speaks, and closes with the keiki joining him as they alternate between his voice and theirs - a beautiful testament to both his love of and devotion to hula and to guiding and nurturing his young haumana (students).
The original mele (songs) on the album include the hit single Lovely 'Ala Mēlia, released in August 2019 and written to honor his late mother, Lovena "Ala" Pagay Vise; Kamakaokeliʻi - Murray Boy's Lullabye a song written for his beloved dog; the title track Kahekeonāpua, a new composition honoring Queen Liliʻuokalani and the resilient kūpa’a (loyal) aloha ‘āina of the Hawaiian people; and Sailing Away From Me, a song previously released as a single and one that is a departure from Kukona's usual style, and where the catchy, upbeat tempo decries the pain behind the lyrics.
Among the classics chosen for the album are Kui Lee's Lahainaluna; Lena Machado's Kamalani O Keaukaha; Sam Liʻa Kalainainaʻ Hiʻilawe; and Ray Charles' You Don't Know Me.
In addition to being an award-winning Kumu Hula, Kukona won Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (Hawaiʻiʻs Grammy) for each of his first two albums, Hanu ʻAʻala and ʻAla Anuhea. Hanu ʻAʻala was also nominated for a 2015 GRAMMY® Award - the only Hawaiian album in the category that year.
Kahekeonāpua was produced by Kukona, Michael Casil, and Wailau Ryder, and recorded at I-Vibe Studios. Guest artists include Wailau Ryder (guitar, ʻukulele, electric bass); Michael Casil (background vocals, drums, percussion); Kaniala Masoe (background vocals, Lahainaluna); Josh Hearl (guitar, You Don't Know Me); Kana Pikini (bass, Sailing Away From Me); Paul Bunuan (saxophone); James De Bos (trombone); Rona Landrigan and Ae Kyong Yoon (violin); Teresa Skinner (viola); Cheryl Lindley (cello); and Sal Godinez (keyboards/piano, Kamalani O Keaukaha).
The album is currently available for presale on iTunes, and will eventually be available on all digital outlets. The CD and will be distributed in Hawaii by Island Heritage.
Here are some song clips: