Thursday, July 14, 2016

Waika Up: Hapa and "Waika"



Today's song, Waika, takes us to a lazy evening in the islands and is performed by Hapa, whose name means "half," and refers to the fact that one of the members, Barry Flanagan, is a white guy from New Jersey who is currently paired up with Hawaii native Ron Kuala'au. Flanagan has been a consistent 30 year member of the duo. He started out partnering with Keli'i Ho'omalu Kaneali'i. Following Kaneali'i, Flanagan teamed with Nathan Aweau, who eventually left for a solo career. Flanagan then partnered with Hawaiian chanter Charles Ka'upu, who described Hapa's goal as helping revive the Polynesian language and to totally change the way the world perceives Hawaiian music. Unfortunately, Ka'upu died suddenly and unexpectedly in his early 50s in 2011. In its new incarnation Hapa continues to draw from jazz, folk, blues, bluegrass, Latin, flamenco, rock, Irish music and slam poetry as well as traditional Hawaiian music. Hapa's debut CD in 1995 became the biggest selling album ever by a Hawaiian group, and they have since released eight albums. Waika can be found on Hapa's 2013 album Malihini.