HAPA plays Kapaa Saturday

The annual Kauai Music Festival is still two months off. However, Saturday offers an opportunity for music lovers to get pumped and support the festival in advance.

Musical group HAPA, featuring Barry Flanagan, Ron Kuala’au and special guest Tarvin Makia, returns to the Garden Isle Saturday for a pre-festival benefit concert just a stone’s throw from the beach at the Courtyard Marriott Kauai in Kapaa.

Flanagan said HAPA performed at the original KMF and continues to be a big supporter.

“We support anything that has anything to do with inspiring songwriting for young people,” he said.

Founded in 2002, KMF is a nonprofit organizationwhich hosts educational, networking, and showcase events throughout the year, culminating in the signature 4-day KMF Songwriter Conference and Concert Series in July, according to its website.

Having just finished a two-and-a-half month tour, Flanagan said concertgoers can expect to see HAPA do what it does best ‚ “music witha lot of oomph in it.” Roughly half of the songs played at the event will be new material.

“We haven’t performed on Kauai for a number of years, so it’s going to be as new as it gets,” he said. “It’s really fresh and really new.”

Over the years, HAPA has received its fair share of glowing reviews. The New York Times called them “the most successful Hawaiian music group in recent history.” And the L.A. Times said the band was, “Powerful, urgent, compelling, muscular, hypnotic!”

Katherine Brocklehurst, secretary of the KMF, promised that those who attend Saturday’s concert are in for an amazing performance and fun evening.

“A lot of energy and virtuosity in their ability to convey the spirit and emotion of Hawaiian slack key,” she said.

Like Brocklehurst, Flanagan is glad to be coming back. His wife’s parents were both born on the island and he said he has developed his own personal connection with the island.

“Any chance to get to Kauai is always a yes, because we just love it over there,” he said.

Saturday’s concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott Kauai, 650 Aleka Loop. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 day of concert and at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.kauaimusicfestival.com.

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