Melissa Moniz
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Friday - November 23, 2007
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The 411


It’s been a gratifying 11 years for Nathan Aweau since the release of his first album, Center Stage, in 1996. And what better way to look back on all that’s he’s done musically, individually and with the group HAPA, then by releasing an album that pays homage to the place where music first became part of his life - Kaneohe.

“The whole idea of the album came to be when on one of my flights home from a tour, and I guess because of the wind that day,we flew over the Koolaus. It was the first time I’ve seen Kaneohe and Kailua from a different perspective and it was kind of an overwhelming feeling,” says Aweau, who lived in Kaneohe until he was 11 years old. “From there I thought it would be a good idea to put together a CD and keep it about the area where I grew up.”

Growing up in a musical family, Aweau says that he knew from when he was a little kid that he was going to be a musician.

“My father was a music teacher, my mom played piano, both grandmothers played piano, my grandfather was a musician - so that was my destiny,” says Aweau, a Farrington grad. “I fell in love with it and even until today I like getting up in the morning and listening to music and grabbing my guitar..”

Aweau’s newest album, Kaneohe, is a collection of original music, mostly Hawaiian language with a few instrumentals and a couple English songs - all written, arranged and performed by Aweau himself.

“I tried to give it a little more up-tempo feel, added in a lot more percussion instruments, mainly Polynesian instruments,” says Aweau. “We used the ipu and a whole bunch of implements.”

When he’s not on tour, Aweau has ongoing weekly gigs on Friday night from 7-9 p..m at Chai’s Island Bistro and Wednesday from 7-9 p.m. at Neptune Garden and Pacific Beach Hotel.

For more info on Aweau’s upcoming performances or to listen to a sampling of the new album, visit www.nathanaweau.org

Nathan Aweau
Nathan Aweau

Who or what inspires your music?

Because I listen to a lot of styles, it can be anything really. But at this point I have to say that my favorite artist out there is Chick Corea. He’s an incredible arranger and songwriter.

What has been most challenging about doing music professionally?

Basically making sure that I can support myself and my family. It’s so interesting that Hawaiian music is like the only genre that if you want to make a decent living ,you have to go elsewhere. It’s really hard in Hawaii. I stopped kind of thinking about that. I can’t remember who told me, but I was told that if you focus really hard on what you’re doing and just perfecting your music, that the other stuff will fall into place and come.And that’s true.

What else do you want to accomplish musically?

For the past few years I’ve been working on a symphony. I’m writing a piece and arranging it.The whole idea is what would be the score of a movie about when the original settlers in Hawaii came from Tahiti? So that has been the whole thing that I’m fantasizing about. So I’ve been working on that slowly and hopefully I’ll be finished in a few years.

What advice would you give to the generation just entering the music business?

Practice your craft as hard as you can. I hear people say, ‘Don’t let anybody stop you,’ but that’s just part of it. I think too many young people get the stardom in their eyes too fast. They’re thinking about the result and not thinking about the steps in-between.

Besides music,what else are you passionate about?

I love golf, I love playing tennis with my daughter - I’m not good at it, but

I love doing that. When I’m on the road I like playing tourist. There’s something about seeing nature in different places. Anything to do with water,I just can’t help myself, I like to just stop and stare. There’s something serene about water that I love.

Is there a song that brings you back to your childhood days?

Yes, it’s E Apo Mai, which was on my last album. That was meant for my family. It was a tribute to my cousins because I had a really good childhood. Everyone took care of each other and we all got along, and I just had so much fun with my cousins.

Where has been the most amazing place that music has taken you?

Everywhere. For example, when I go to L.A. the sound is so different from say New York.It’s interesting going from place to place.Each place could be playing the same song, but just the influences and the styles are so different.


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