Na Mele Moku O Keawe - Various Artists

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - August 31, 2007
Na Mele Moku O Keawe
Na Mele Moku O Keawe

After returning from a trip to Japan, Keoki Kahumoku and fellow Big Island musicians were inspired by the overwhelming support and interest of Hawaii music overseas. So beyond just producing a collaborative album of Hawaiian music, they decided to take it one step further, creating an album that embodies the place they call home, the Big Island of Hawaii.

The album, Na Mele Moku O Keawe, Songs from Hawaii Island, The Big Island, includes 11 tracks by Big Island musicians that honors all that is Hawaii nei.

“We wanted to do an album of songs of the Big Island that talks about different places,” says Kahumoku, producer and musician featured on the album. “I wanted to also include people who are working and are somehow connected to the community with their music, so a lot of the musicians either perform at the hotels or are known for their performing.”

The song list includes: Lei O Hilo Ka Ua Pe Ka Uahi, Hilo Hanakahi, Hawaii Island Is My Home, Kona Kai ‘Opua, Kealia, Saddle Road, Ka La Hui Pua’a, Kapapala, No Kohala, Pua O Ka Makahala and Ka Lei E.

Na Mele Moku O Keawe producer, Keoki Kahumoku
Na Mele Moku O Keawe producer, Keoki Kahumoku

Kahumoku says that recording was no simple task, having to work around schedules with each of the artists, who include Kekuhi Kanahele Kealiikanakaoleohaililani, Taupouri Tangaro, Kevin Kealoha, John Keawe, Marcus Wong Yuen, Keoki Kahumoku, Dana Leilehua Yuen, Daniel Kahikina Akaka, Jr., John “Keoni” M.K. Jenny, Mary Ann and Elmer Lim Jr., Darlene Ahuna and Diana Aki.

“We all got weird schedules, working until the wee hours sometimes, but we were able to get it done because everyone is so excited about the project,” says 36-year-old Kahumoku. “We hope to distribute this CD all around the world because it’s a good representation of Big Island music.”

A partnership with the Hawaii Island Visitors Bureau will definitely help in distribution numbers, as they not only have given their stamp of approval, but they are also taking an active part in promoting it.

“We’re just so grateful that the Big Island Visitors Bureau wanted to be a part of it,” says Kahumoku, a Kamehameha Schools graduate.“We’re also making extra copies to give to visitors who come to our island, it’s like our makana (gift) to them.”

A portion of album sales will support and perpetuate Hawaii music education. More specifically, proceeds will help fund workshops for the local community, provide scholarships for youths and assist in giving children access to Hawaiian music through the school system.

To celebrate the album’s release next week, the Big Island Visitors Bureau is having a dinner reception at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and Planetarium in Hilo on Sept. 6.

For more information about the album, visit or call 1-800-648-2441.


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