Hapa-25 Years Of Memorable Music©2008JCMarion


The musical duo named Hapa was formed in 1983 and consisted of Keli'i Kaneali'i and Barry Flanagan. The word "hapa" in Hawaiian means "half " and in slang means ethnically mixed. Kaneali'i , a Hawaiian native, and Flanagan originally from New York, then New Jersey, but a resident of Maui since 1979, created a playlist of songs incorporating Hawaiian, Polynesian, and pop music sounds and rhythms. They played acoustic instruments-Flanagan the standard six string guitar and Keali'i on the twelve string using elements of slack key and Hawaiian patterns. After a decade of defining their sound and style, they released their first album in 1993 called simply enough "Hapa". The album was a huge seller in the Hawaiian music field and earned the duo six Na Hoku Hanohano awards. They were for album of the year; duo or group; engineering; contemporary album; most promising artist; and song of the year for "Lei Pikake" written by Flanagan. Other songs were "Haleakala Ku Hanohano" and "Kaopuiki Aloha". In 1995 the twosome recorded a Christmas album called "Holidays" which included seven instrumentals and the tune "It's Christmas Day". Two years later two albums followed - "In The Name Of Love" featured "Lelehua", "Europa" and "The Waiki Beachboy Song" with Don Ho. "Surf Madness" which recalled some sixties surf tunes such as "Wipeout" and "Walk Don't Run" and "Hawaii Five-O". At public appearances the duo often included Charles Ka'upu who joined the group in 1993 and specializes in Hawaiian chants and also translates Flanagan's lyrics into Hawaiian.

In 1999 the album "Namahana" was released which included four instrumentals. The following year "Collection" included songs such as "Lei Pikake", "Moana In The Rain", Pu'uanahula", and "Pride (In The Name Of Love)". After seventeen years with Barry Flanagan, Keli'i Kaneali'i left the duo to go out on his own as a solo artist in 2001. Flanagan looked for a replacement to keep the spirit of Hapa alive. He found that new member in Nathan Aweau. Nathan was a well studied musician in composing, arranging, instruments, and voice. He was a member of both Ka'eo and The Ali'is, and worked with Don Ho for close to fifteen years. He has been an accompanyist for Nohelani Cypriano, Loyal Garner, Gabe Baltazar, and others. A group called Mele Hula came together to tour the Far East in Hapa's stead. Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom was included in the group during the successful tour. In 2005 Hapa released "Maui" in both audio CD and video DVD. Some songs featured were "Slacking Off", "Haleakala", and "Tahiti Manahune". The cd was rewarded with three Na Hoku Hanohano awards for album of the year, comtemporary album, and graphics. In 2006 another direction for Hapa was the release of the cd called "It's A Slack Key World" whose title is self explanatory as it features that most Hawaiian style of guitar playing. Some of the guest artists on this album are Gaylord Holomalia, Shawn Ishimoto, and Ernie Cruz Jr. Hapa kept the music coming in 2007 with "Hapa Live, The PBS Hawaii Sessions" with songs such as "Olindo Road", "Anjuli", "Lei Manoa", "Twinkletoes" and "He'eia".

Hapa has been a fixture on the Hawaiian music scene now, for a quarter century of excellence. They embody the inventiveness, adventure, and tradition, of all that is desired in the music of the island state. May Hapa continue for another quarter century - and beyond.

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