Melissa Moniz
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Friday - May 02, 2008
| Del.icio.us

A true class act: Kekoa Kaluhiwa, Kanai’a Nakamura and Kama Hopkins, collectively known as Holunape, have just released their sophomore album, Ahea? Ano!, which they say is a good mix in feel, variety and sound.

“We’re known for having a good mix in our repertoire of Hawaiian music,” says Hopkins.“So it’s consistent in the sense that we feel it has a good mix of songs and different in the sense that I felt a lot more comfortable with this project, and it comes out that way. I feel even better about this album.”

Kaluhiwa adds, “I’m very happy with this project. The first one took us almost three years to record. This one took us one month. And as Kama said, it was very comfortable for us. This CD catered to each of our interests and strengths. Its shows where each of us comes from musically. It’s still backyard Hawaiian, but slightly more varied.”

Just as they do on stage, with this CD the guys kept it fun, mixing it up with three hapa-haole tracks, six originals tunes and each of the guys choosing four of the 12 songs on the album.

“We sort of had a diplomatic approach with Ahea? Ano!,” says Kaluhiwa. “Each of us chose four songs, but we did want a mix of originals and pre-recorded.”

The track list includes: Ahea No Ho’i La? Ano!, Ohai Ali’i Kaluhea, E Maui E, Lanikuhonua, Na Mele Paniolo, Pakalana Ke Aloha, Holunape, Hula Lady, Ka’ena, Wai’anae Hula, Ua Like No A Like and Operator.

Their debut album, He Olu, garnered the guys great success at the 2006 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, where they took home honors of Best Use of the Hawaiian Language, and also were named the 2006 Group of the Year. The album also received recognition for Best Traditional Hawaiian Album of the Year at the 2006 Hawaii Music Awards.

Holunape: Kekoa Kaluhiwa, Kama Hopkins and Kanai'a Nakamura
Holunape: Kekoa Kaluhiwa, Kama Hopkins and Kanai’a Nakamura

The past few years have been a whirlwind for the group. They’ve been busy juggling the night and weekend gigs, traveling, recording, family life and their day jobs (Kaluhiwa works for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, Nakamura works for PBR Hawaii and Hopkins works for trustee Robert Lindsey at OHA).

“With the career, family and music, it’s been a learning process in balancing my time,” says Nakamura.“I think I figured it out and it is getting smoother as it goes along. But it makes life interesting and worthwhile at the same time.”

This month is also huge for Kaluhiwa as he graduates with his master’s in public administration from UHManoa. The guys joke that their upcoming CD release party at Gordon Biersch on Sunday, May 25, is also his graduation party.

Happening from 5 to 9 p.m., the celebration will include the talents of Ale’a, Pili’oha, Manoa DNA and Holunape. The party is free and open to the public.

If you can’t make it down, Holunape performs weekly at The Willow’s Restaurant Kapa’akea Room from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday. For $15, guests are treated to an allyou-can-eat pupu buffet accompanied by music by the guys.

To find out more about Holunape, visit www.holunape.com


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