Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho
Friday - September 19, 2008
Longtime friends Daniel Ho and Tia Carrere recently teamed up with song-writer and professor Amy Kuuleialoha Stillman to honor their local upbringings with a playful Hawaiian album that releases this month.
The album, ‘Ikena, is the result of two years of long-distance songwriting collaborations between Daniel in California and Amy in Michigan.
“It was a unique artistic experience with a new set of parameters,” says Daniel.
“Every song was a lesson for me in Hawaiian language and tradition. I learned so much from Amy through these collaborations (she has a Harvard Ph.D. in ethnomusicology, specializing in Hawaiian music and culture) and she didn’t even charge me tuition.”
Daniel further explains, “the melodies, harmonies, rhythms and lyrics found their roots in Hawaii’s traditional music and dance, then we took it a step further.
“For example, we have a song called Hula in Seven with seven beats in a measure. Usually it’s four or eight or something even.”
And when Tia heard the creative songs, including one called The Spam Song (Daniel’s personal favorite on the album), she and Daniel hit the studio to recording the album’s 11 tracks.
“Tia was over rehearsing one day and I played her a demo version of Welo, the first song Amy and I wrote, and she liked it,” says Daniel. “I asked if she would consider singing on the record with me. I’m so happy she did - her voice is magical.”
For the two, working together in the studio is quite a familiar task, since Daniel produced Tia’s first musical effort, Hawaiiana, last year, which was nominated for a Grammy.
As Amy explains in the album’s liner notes, “this collection of original Hawaiian-language songs represents the serendipity of unexpected journeys. We each planted seeds of ideas and made our way down the paths that converge in this album. Each of us has demonstrated commitment to our Hawaii roots in our own ways.”
And the result is an album that Daniel, Amy and Tia hope will not only do right by Hawaiian music, but also contribute to its continued growth.
“I hope people feel the passion with which we created ‘Ikena and the fun we had making it,” says Daniel. “We did our best to make every note sound beautiful and every word meaningful.”
Tia and Daniel will be back on the island early next month and are scheduled to perform at the Saint Louis Distinguished Alumni event Oct. 9, and the Sacred Hearts Gala Oct. 10.
To find out more about the album, the artists or upcoming performances, visit www.danielho.com.
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