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That Hawaiian sound is just a start for Hapa.

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

The warmest waves on the West Coast on Saturday will be sound waves at the Shedd when Hapa, a duo from Hawaii, takes the stage.

Hapa performed in Eugene at the McDonald Theatre in February 2005, when slack-key guitarist and Hapa founder Barry Flanagan and vocalist Na- than Aweau were getting ready to release their first studio album, "Maui." The CD officially came out last March.

Hapa formed in 1993, but the original Hapa broke up when Keli`i Kaneali`i said he lost interest in the music business. Flanagan met Aweau in 2001 at a Don Ho concert to trigger the re-emergence of Hapa, which is pidgin slang meaning "half" or "ethnically mixed." (Flanagan is from the mainland; his previous partner, Kaneali`i, and Aweau are native Hawaiians.)

They waited to jump into the studio together until they had played upward of 100 shows to develop their sound.

"Maui" was a resurgence for Hapa, its first CD since 1999. It included a polished recording of original compositions, a cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" and some traditional Hawaiian tunes.

With three original Hawaiian songs in the Hawaiian language, Hapa has dubbed "Maui" "a soundtrack for 21st century Polynesia." The Hawaiian chants of Charles Ka`upu are sprinkled throughout.

The CD jacket for "Maui" is as much a piece of art as the music inside. For the cover package, Hapa was inspired by the Beastie Boys' 1998 release "Hello Nasty," according to an article in the Honolulu Advertiser. The pair opted for a five-panel fold-out with a rich watercolor image of the demi- god Maui by artist Solomon Enos.

Hapa.com states that the project is primarily a Hawaiian CD. "Hapa goes further, acknowledging the influence of modern culture on Polynesia by blending jazz, blues and even slam poetry influences into their Hawaiian based music," according to the Web site.

Flanagan says on the site Hapa was committed to spending whatever it took to produce a high quality project.

"Because CD sales in general are down, many artists are retreating by trying to spend less on their projects,' Flanagan says. `We believe that as an artist, we are now challenged to deliver a product worthy of people spending their money.

`We must produce a recording people will feel compelled to own and one that they must buy. I believe we've approached that with 'Maui.' '

Hapa's previous incarnation won many awards, sold out shows around the world and became known as the sound of Maui. Wayne Harada, entertainment writer for the Honolulu Advertiser, says in his review of "Maui" that Hapa is still "happening."

"Hapa ... has been a pioneering resource of Island sounds for years. In its current status, it also is a band with insight and vision, depending on cultural roots to set its foundation, but open to contemporary elements to forge ahead of the pack. ...

`Surely, the disc re-establishes Hapa as a contender for future laurels and an important conduit for Hawaiian culture."

Singer-chanter Ka`upu will join Flanagan and Aweau for the Shedd show, as will hula dancers Malia Ann Kawailanamalie Petersen and Naomi Pi`ilaniho`omalamalamaokalani Klein.

CONCERT PREVIEW

Hapa

What: Modern Hawaiian music

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Jaqua Concert Hall, the Shedd, 285 E. Broadway

Tickets: Reserved seats $30, $26 and $22, 434-7000 or (800) 248-1615

CAPTION(S):

Native Hawaiian Nathan Aweau (left) and New Jersey native Barry Flanagan play contemporary island music.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 10, 2006
Words:575
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