‘An evening with Hapa’

It’s been a little over a year since award-winning musical group Hapa visited the Garden Isle, but founding member Barry Flanagan says he’s looking forward to entertain Kauai residents and fans at Kauai Christian fellowship on Aug. 20.

“There’s a vibe on Kauai that’s different from anywhere else,” Flanagan said. “It’s almost like a shared thing with everyone over there that attitudes shouldn’t change because things change. That’s what I love most about Kauai.”

An Evening With Hapa, which starts at 7 p.m., will feature material from the group’s self-titled CD, “Hapa,” when the group featured Kauai native Keli‘i Kaneali‘i.

Flanagan said fans can expect to hear recent pieces about his current residence: Manoa.

“As far as new material, there’s going to be two new songs: one called ‘Kahalaopuna’ about the princess of Manoa and another about her mother entitled, ‘Tuahine.’”

Performing with Flanagan will be vocalist Ron Kuala‘au, bassist and singer Tarvin Makia and hula will be performed by Radasha Ho‘ohuli.

Flanagan said Hapa has come a long way since the group was first formed in 1983.

The group’s name, Hapa, which means half in Hawaiian and is also a reference to a person with dual ancestries, reflected on Flanagan who is from New Jersey and Kaneali‘i who is from Hawaii.

The music of folk music icon Gabby Pahiniui drew Flanagan to Hawaii in 1979. He moved to Maui and was influenced by his neighbor, Jimmy Kaopuiki.

“Jimmy and his wife Ardell became my extended family,” he said. “The song on the first Hapa CD was called ‘Kaopuiki Aloha’ because that was first first aloha I experienced family wise in Hawaii.”

That same year, he met Kuala‘au.

“I really ophi’d myself to Ron, and he really helped me get a grip on thinking that James Taylor, Eagles, Kenny Loggons guitar sound could be mixed in with Hawaiian singing,” Flanagan said.

Short on cash, Flanagan saved up and raised $125,000 for 10 years to produce the group’s first, award-winning album, “Hapa.”

“That first CD is the reason you and I are talking,” Flanagan told The Garden Island. “As far as the vocals being the focus of that half vocal, half instrumental album, you and I wouldn’t be talking if it wasn’t for Keli‘i Kaneali‘i.”

Tickets for “An Evening With Hapa” are $30 in advance and $40 at the door. They are available online at Kauaichristian.com and Kalaheo Coffee Company, Studio 203, The Wine Shop and Scotty’s Music.


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