HAPA blends ancient Polynesian rhythms and chants with American acoustic folk/rock.
Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 8pm
Tickets: $36, $46, $100
Like the islands themselves, HAPA’s music is an amalgam of influences ranging from ancient Polynesian rhythms and chants to the strummed ballads of Portuguese fishermen and Mexican cowboys. Add to this a dose of American acoustic folk/rock, and you have what has been described as the “most exciting and beautiful contemporary Hawaiian music the world knows!” (Maui Times) These disparate ingredients, blended together musically in the Pacific, create the unique flavor of HAPA's music: “beautiful, fragile, spiritual, powerful….” (L.A. Times)
HAPA: 1: Hawaiian word for "half"; 2: Of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry. If an individual has one parent who is a Pacific Islander and one parent who is of an ethnicity outside of Pacific Islander, they would generally be considered “Hapa”; 3: A musical act from Hawai‘i that consists of one member of Hawaiian/South Pacific ancestry and one guy from New Jersey.
The HAPA name reflects the diverse backgrounds of its musicians and the mix of cultures that converge in Hawai‘i. Brilliant guitarist Barry Flanagan has been the guiding force of HAPA since its beginnings over 30 years ago. He is joined by Ron Kuala‘au, one of Barry’s first teachers in Hawaiian music and culture, and one of the early influences on the HAPA sound, and bassist and vocalist Tarvin Makia.
Often described as the “sound of Maui,” HAPA’s music evokes a feeling that many people at different times have referred to as “heavenly.” The overriding quality of HAPA’s music is one of beauty and serenity, found in the majestic tones of the ‘oli (chant), mele (song), at the elegant movements of the spiritual dance known as hula, and the exhilarating innovative sounds of the virtuoso slack key guitar. "Masterful" is how Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Stephen Stills describes the group’s guitar skills.
Founded in 1983, HAPA played over 500 live shows per year before releasing its benchmark self-entitled first recording in 1993, which still remains the number one selling recording by a group or duo in the history of recorded Hawaiian music; it swept all six categories for which it was nominated at the 1994 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammy’s. All follow-up HAPA recordings, 1997's In the Name of Love; 1999's Namahana; and 2005's MAUI debuted in the Top Ten of Billboard’s World Music Chart. HAPA also captured four Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards for its Maui CD.
HAPA's music was on the soundtrack for the Adam Sandler Movie Just Go With It. Director Dennis Dugan also featured HAPA as “the band” in the movie's supper club scene that was shot on Maui. HAPA’s music has also been heard on Hawai‘i 5-0. www.hapa.com
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Barry Flanagan (Guitar & Vocals). A prolific composer and performer, and one of Hawai’i’s most respected and celebrated recording artists and producers, Barry Flanagan has composed some of Hawai'i’s most popular songs of the last three decades. Flanagan is known for his guitar-playing skills, vocal performances and ocean awareness projects. Born in New York City and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, Flanagan came to the Hawaiian Islands in 1980 to study and explore the art of kī hō‘alu, or slack-key guitar, and haku mele, Hawaiian poetic song composing. Flanagan heard the recordings of Ry Cooder and Hawaiian slack key icon Gabby Pahinui while living in Colorado, which inspired Flanagan’s first visit and eventual move to Hawai‘i. Flanagan immersed himself in Hawaiian culture and art, seeking out native speakers, teachers and composers of Hawaiian poetry along with legendary Hawaiian slack key players, passionately studying all the indigenous art forms with Hawai‘i as the backdrop. An “eternal wellspring of inspiration for artists and writers from around the globe” is how Flanagan describes Hawai‘i.
In 1994, the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts honored Flanagan and Hawaiian language professor S.H. Kiope Raymond with the prestigious Haku Mele Award, an acknowledgement for Excellence in the Art of Song Composition in the native Hawaiian language. In 2004, Flanagan co-composed a song with friend Kenny Loggins for his Grammy-nominated release More Songs from Pooh Corner. The song, entitled “Hana Aluna Lullaby,” includes a chorus in the Hawaiian language, the first song utilizing Hawaiian lyrics to receive that distinction.
Ron Kuala‘au (Guitar & Vocals). Born in Honolulu and raised in Kailua on the windward side of O'ahu, Ron Kuala‘au's earliest memories are of large family gatherings with lots of music and singing. In the early 1980’s, Ron moved to Maui and began performing professionally, finding audiences resonated with his soulful vocals and beautifully penned Hawaiian songs. After releasing five full-length solo albums, Ron joined HAPA to the delight of founding member and HAPA's songwriter, Barry Flanagan. "Ron was one of my first Hawaiian music teachers and one of the main influences on the "HAPA sound" that we found in the 1980's," says Barry. "His harmony and guitar arrangements left an indelible mark on me and that inspiration can certainly be heard on our first self-titled HAPA release."
Both performers were equally inspired by each other's music. "Barry and I go way back, we have a 30-year friendship built on our music and our love for expanding traditional and contemporary Hawaiian themes. I think we influenced each other a lot early on in our careers. We stretched our creative boundaries and always experimented with instrumentation and arrangements.” Ron appreciates that HAPA reaches across world genres in creating their unique and eloquent artistry combining music, chant and dance. His goal is to continue HAPA's evolution in exploring new ways to express aloha through music.
Tarvin Lono Makia (Bass & Vocals). Born on the island of O’ahu, Tarvin Edwin Lono Makia now resides on the island of Maui and is one of Hawaiian music’s most respected bassists and musical arrangers. He began playing ‘ukulele at the age of five, and later turned down a football scholarship to launch his music career by accepting an offer to perform in Japan for several months in a Polynesian Revue. Upon his return from Japan, he formed a group called Da Guys and also performed with Braddah Iz and his brother Skippy, as well as Gabby “Pops” Pahinui. A few years later, he formed another group, Hau`ula, performing and recording their first CD, including their original popular song, “E Ku`u Pua.” Three years ago, Tarvin joined HAPA, giving him the privilege of traveling and performing all over the continental U.S., Japan and Canada.
Radasha Ho‘ohuli (Hula). Radasha Ho`ohuli, Miss Hawai'i USA 2006, is from Nanakuli, O'ahu and is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools. With guidance from late Kumu Hula (hula master), O'brian Eselu and training with his award-winning halau (hula group), Ke Kai O Kahiki, Radasha became a featured soloist at Paradise Cove Luau for nearly 10 years and continues to be a premier soloist in Hawai'i and abroad. She obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Communication from Hawai'i Pacific University and currently is a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines. Radasha has and continues to be featured in local, national, and international magazines, commercials, and productions and also continues to support local charities and organizations.
This concert is sponsored by:
The Richard & Elizabeth Steele Fund