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Album Review

The duo known as Hapa got a perfect start to their career with their self-titled first album. Here are the pretty vocal harmonies and lush, twanging guitar sound everyone expects from Hawaiian music; here also is extraordinary instrumental prowess and a pair of singers who are impressive individual talents. The Hapa album is in fact a tour de force of harmonies, both vocal and instrumental. Even when joined for a guitar trio with guest artist Steven Stills, the style of each performer and voice of each instrument is distinct and fits perfectly into an interlocking composition. Those who appreciate Hawaiian music must have Hapa in their collection.

Customer Reviews

A Hawaiian Music Must-Have

Hapa is pidgin for "half", generally referring to one's ethnicity and being half haole (Caucasian); a fitting name for the group considering its two members. When they released their debut album, Barry Flanagan and Keli'i Ho'omalu Kaneali'i took Hawaii by storm. Hapa created a collection of songs that added modern flair to traditional Hawaiian music. A combination that eventually won them numerous awards and recognition. The opening track "Haleakala Ku Hanohano" gives you a taste of what you can expect from the rest of the album, but there are standouts like "Anjuli", "Lei Pikake", and "Ku'u Lei Awapuhi". Hapa's mix of instrumental and vocal pieces is well blended, showcasing both Kaneali'i's voice and Flanagan's slack-key prowess. The end result is an album that has become the number one selling album by a group in Hawaiian music history. Although the group has gone through some changes over the years, this remains as Hapa's best album and is a must-have for every Hawaiian music collection, especially if you enjoy slack-key guitar.

Rock and Roller Buys Hawaiian

When my wife and I were honeymooning on the Big Island in 1994 you couldn't find a building in Hilo that didn't have at least one poster of two shirtless guys called Hapa hanging on a wall. We didn't know what all the fuss was about until, while browsing in a bookstore, we heard this album playing. We've been big-time fans ever since, seeing at least one of their shows every year and waiting for each of their new albums to debut. This album, Hapa, is their first and also their best because it is so consistently excellent throughout. I'm an old rock and roller, but Hapa got me to buy Hawaiian.

i love this album

this album reminds me of hawaii. takes me back to a good time in life. just listen and you will feel the life that comes from hawaii and this album. a must for all.


Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The Hawaiian duo Hapa teamed singers/guitarists Barry Flanagan and Keli‘i Kaneali‘i, who first met in 1983; deriving their name from a pidgin slang expression for "ethnically mixed, " Kaneali‘i (a Honolulu native) and Flnagan (a product of New Jersey who relocated to Maui in 1979) then spent the next decade honing their distinctive sound, an update of traditional Polynesian textures and rhythms incorporating elements of pop and worldbeat. Building a devoted following throughout the islands, in 1993...
Full Bio
Hapa, Hapa
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: World, Music
  • Released: Jan 01, 1992

Customer Ratings