Keli’i Ho’omalu Kaneali’i, Nathan Kawai Aweau, Ron Kuala’au, Charles Ka‘upu, Kapono Na’ili’ili, and of course, Barry Flanagan… HAPA.
Hapa is a Hawaiian and contemporary music group from Hawai’i, promoted as a “half-half” music duo. The word “hapa” means half or part in Hawaiian; also meaning, of mixed heritage. Barry Flanagan, the haole (white) part of the duo is the founder and anchor of the internationally acclaimed, award winning, multi Na Hoku Hanohano Award recipient, World Music group HAPA.
The Hawaiian and American singer-songwriter Flanagan was born in New York City, and raised in New Jersey. He was living in Colorado when he heard recordings of Hawaiian Slack Key icon Gabby Pahinui. In 1980 Flanagan was so inspired by the music it led him to visit and eventual move to Hawaii. He studied and explored the Art of Kiho Alu, or Slack-Key Guitar, and Haku Mele, Hawaiian poetic song composing. Flanagan is known for his guitar-playing skills, vocal performances and ocean awareness projects.
Hapa’s debut album, self entitled (HAPA) was released in 1993. Flanagan, along with Keli’i Ho’omalu Kaneali’i set a new standard in Hawaiian music with it’s harmony and guitar work. Their first album was the top selling Hawaiian music album in the history of Hawaiian music.
In 1997 Hapa released it’s second album “In the Name of Love.” By that time Hapa had reached international status. Their perfectly blended velvet harmonies and liquid guitars reached the boundaries of world music.
Other successful CD albums released include Namahana – 1999, Collection – 2000, Maui – 2005, Tuahine – 2013.
HAPA, the group has seen several member changes all of which are on the Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander part of the half-half duo. The vocal harmonies and slack key sounds to include instrumentals still reign supreme.
With it’s ever changing faces on the Hawaiian side, Hapa’s international success has never skipped a beat. With Barry Flanagan’s love and desire of Hawaiian and slack key music and encouragement from his wife, Leslie, Hapa has endured many years of the industry’s changing demands. Hawaiian musicians Nathan Kawai Aweau, Ron Kuala’au, Charles Ka‘upu, have all shared time and success with Barry Flanagan as the Hawaiian part of Hapa. Kapono Na’ili’ili is the current member.
As for that haole boy from New Jersey, he is… 100% Hawaiian. HAPA.