Hawaiian duo Hapa has been making music for many years but it got to a point where the group function was losing the strength that was once felt between everyone. Barry Flanagan has been the running force behind the group but after second vocalist Nathan Aweau wanted to start his own career as a solo artist and the death of Hawaiian chanter Charles Ka’upu two years ago, Flanagan thought that after 15 years and six albums, it was the perfect time to put the group to rest. (Original vocalist Keli’i Kaneali’i left the group in 2001.)
Fortunately, Flanagan found someone who wanted to share that passion of Hawaiiana and kanikapila with him, which is how he welcomed Ron Kuala’au into the group, who is actually an old friend and someone who was there when the idea for Hapa first started. On Thursday, Hapa did a performance on KGMB news and someone came along to hula to the song, news reporter Laci Deniz. She is a new addition to Hawai’i News Now and had did a traffic report by not being afraid to “brok’ da mout'” by talking in pidgin, which was helpful in showing the power of Hapa’s music and how it still moves people, figuratively and literally. The duo recently put together a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new album and it was a success, so new music is on its way in 2016.
From a song that was recorded after hours in a recording studio at 3am to one that has gained a life greater than the man who recorded this, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow continues to live on 23 years after it was recorded and now it hhas a renewed life through a remix by Ogun Dalka. You might be thinking “Israel… remixed?” It’s true and it works nicely. When Israel released his debut solo album (Ka ‘Ano’i) after his departure from the Makaha Sons Of Ni’ihau, it was nothing more than just new music from him in a new setting. 18 years after his death, he would’ve been incredibly proud to know his aloha continues to motivate others. If you like the track, you can download it for free below, while suppplies last.
Eat The Street is a food event in Honolulu that happens a lot with different topics each time, and along with the ono food offered are artists that play music for the people. This time, we have Sistah Robi Kahakalau playing with Jeff Rasmussen to do their rendition of a Hawaiian classic, “Henehene Kou ‘Aka”. The song refers to a number of different dishes in a number of spots in Honolulu, but you may say that the references to food may be on the suggestive side but regardless of what it is, it’s “he mea ma`a mau ia (always a good time)/for you and I”.
Love the Beach Boys but always wanted to hear their music played on an ‘ukuelele? How about two ‘ukulele? A young Hawaiian duo (they are teenagers) by the name of Honoka & Azita did a Beach Boys medley on January 18th at the Honolulu Night Market, and the crowd got into it quite nicely. You can hear more of their sounds by clicking to honokaandazita.com or checking out their Facebook page.
If you still think music played on an ‘ukulele is basic, you have not truly listened to the masters of the instrument and if you still think it’s something that’s stuck in the past, then you definitely are not familiar with Taimane Gardner, who has been getting attention for her style of playing and performances. This video popped up in my Facebook timeline, a performance at this week’s ‘ukulele festival in San Diego, a partial video but this shows how intricate the instrument has always been, going back to the days of Don Baduria, Herb Ohta, and Peter Moon.
Hawaiian singer and musician Kamaka Fernandez has been moving people with his sweet falsetto voice, bringing to mind of singers like Sol Ho’opi’i and Dennis Pavao, and Fernandez brings the traditions into the 21st century. He sat in on KITV-4 in Honolulu and performed the Johnny Noble/Abbie Kong standard “Kaneohe“. The performance was a tie-in with the KITV segment Where You Live, a great segment about the various neighborhoods of Hawai’i that gets in-depth about the background and sometimes-hidden histories of these towns and this week they covered the area of Kaneohe.
You can watch the Kaneohe segment of Where You Live, put together by reporter Brenton Awa, below.
Soul Sessions USA is a Hawai’i-based website and show dedicated to shining the light on Hawaiian and soul music from the Hawaiian Islands. On a previous website of mine, I called this “Altered Aloha” as a way to say that there is a lot of different music from Hawai’i that isn’t Hawaiian or reggae, but they need to be exposed to the world as well. Kevin Okimoto, who some of you may remember as a member of the Opihi Pickers, plays his music acoustically and show there is a subtle reggae and ska vibe to “Love Is Not A Game”, it actually is distinctively Hawaiian in the arrangement and vocal styling, and that is very much to my liking. He has a lot of other live performances available on YouTube, so do a search and give him a shot if you like what you hear.
The “loco moco” is comfort food in modern Hawai’i, and has been for decades. While its true origins remain unknwon, a loco moco consists of a hamburger patty layered over two scoops of sticky rice, with a fried egg laid over it, and then a nice layer of beef gravy layered over that. Some say that the dish was made for surfers in Hawai’i who had a long day out in the ocean and it was a nice and hefty “pick me up”. Because of its popularity in Hawai’i and the various Hawaiian communities along the West Coast, there are now many variations of loco moco to be had, including inclusions of Spam, chicken katsu, fried rice, whatever.
I found this loco moco recipe that happens to be vegan, and in place of a proper egg is something called “the vegg”. The recipe is work intensive and some might say “I’d rather eat a loco moco and deal with the consequences” but there’s a bit of science involved (no joke) so outside of being fun, it looks quite good. This video comes from the YouTube channel Veggietorials.
BTW: the 9-year old girl playing and singing in this is Malie Lyman, who is the great granddaughter of the legendary Hawaiian singer, Auntie Genoa Keawe. One article states that she only started learning to play three months ago but if she keeps up with it, she will be someone who will extend the traditions of Hawaiian music to the next generation.
Taimane Gardner, who goes by the name Taimane professionally, is an ‘ukulele player who has been playing since the age of 5. She has released a number of albums and has made many compilation appearances. This is her performance of “Jonathan” made for Soul Sessions USA and her style in this track is flamenco. If you have never heard the ‘ukulele sound like this, you’ll be pleasantly surprised, as it goes back to what Herb “Ohta-San” Ohta did in the 60’s and 70’s.