Na Palapalai And Kupaoa’s New Label
Friday - April 14, 2010
Four friends, Kuana Torres Kahele of Na Palapalai, Lihau Hannahs and Kellen Paik of Kupaoa and Marc Turner, artist/owner of Bethel Street Gallery, have combined their knowledge and experiences in the music business to create a new independent record label, Hulu Kupuna Productions.
“Kellen and I had released our debut album on our own, and the reason is because we wanted ownership over our music and original songs,” says Hannahs. “One of the things we found out quickly is that people don’t take you very seriously, and we found out there were limits to promoting ourselves. We knew to achieve our goals was to change something about the formula.”
Hannahs and Paik weren’t willing to compromise ownership, and in talking with friends Torres Kahele and Turner, they once again revisited the brash reality that most artists are dealt - compromise ownership or representation.
“We decided that between the four of us we also really saw an opportunity for creating a record label that would give musicians control over their music and also one that valued the Hawaiian language performance of the music. We want to empower artists as we want to contribute to the perpetuation of Hawaiian language.”
The name Hulu Kupuna refers to the distinguished ancestors and elders. As Hannahs explains, “The reason we chose that name is because we’re trying to honor the people who are hulu kupuna to us.”
Each individual in the foursome brings distinct skills to the fledgling label: Torres Kahele, a 17-year veteran in the Hawaiian music industry, steers the musical production. Hannahs, a licensed attorney with an MBA, oversees administrative and legal affairs. Paik, who haas a M.A. in Hawaiian language, balances the accuracy of Hawaiian language pronunciation with the music quality. Turner runs marketing and public relations.
“What we’re trying to create with Hulu Kupuna Productions is essentially a network of friends,” says Torres Kahele. “It is our intention that all artists under our label will support each other in every way possible.”
Na Palapalai’s recent release Nanea was the first project released by the label. Forthcoming releases include: English Rose, Kupaoa’s second album, scheduled for release June 2010; the debut solo album of rising Tahitian music star Mevina Liufau in fall of 2010; Hilo native and falsetto vocalist Mark Yamanaka‘s debut solo recording in 2011; and the long-awaited debut solo release from Na Palapalai’s Torres Kahele in 2011.
For distribution, Hulu Kupuna sought out a company that was equally aligned with its mission and thought of no better company to partner with than Keali’i Reichel‘s Punahele Productions and Warner Music.
For 14 months, Keola Beamer and Raiatea Helm have taken to the studio to create what some are calling “pure magic.” Next month marks the culmination of all that time and hard work with the album Keola Beamer and Raiatea.
The project weaves their traditional and contemporary Hawaiian musical styles that have earned them world-renowned attention. Beamer’s slack key guitar stylings and Raiatea’s pure vocalizations are highlighted in the CD’s 11 tracks: Ina, Where I Hold You, Our Time For Letting Go, You Somebody, Hilo Hanakahi, I Kilohi Aku Au (When I Look In Your Eyes), Ka Makani Ka’ili Aloha, Ke Kulu O Ke Au (Who Knows Where The Time Goes), Ke Ali’i Hulu Mamo, Days of My Youth and Kimo Hula.
“Mountain Apple is thrilled to present Keola Beamer & Raiatea, two beloved artists who have come together to make the most beautiful music,” says Jon de Mello, founder, Mountain Apple Company Hawaii. “With the international popularity of the slack key guitar, there are many artists who have been called masters. In our opinion, Keola Beamer is a true master. And, Raiatea, who is at the top of the industry at such a young age, grows with every new song and never ceases to amaze us.”
Beamer’s talent goes back five generations, part of one of Hawaii’s most illustrious musical families. He has also recorded and produced more than a dozen albums, winning numerous Na Hoku Hanohano awards.
Raiatea has a few of those awards as well, and even managed to earn two Grammy nominations for her albums Sweet and Lovely and Hawaiian Blossom ...
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