Hilo native Kalani Pe'a, currently a Hawaiian resource coordinator at Kamehameha Schools on Maui, will release his debut album E Walea on August 5, 2016. The album is both a celebration and validation of just how far the singer-songwriter has come since being diagnosed with a speech impediment at age four. E Walea features seven haku mele (original compositions written in the Hawaiian language) and five of Pe'a's favorite cover songs, including "Always and Forever" and "You Are So Beautiful", to which Pe'a added Hawaiian lyrics.
At age 33, Pe'a devotes his efforts to perpetuating Hawaiian language through music and visual arts, and with this in mind, created E Walea (literally "relaxing at ease with the gentle voices of the birds"). He recorded the album with multi Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning producer Dave Tucciarone, who said Pe'a totally commits himself to every song, and is able to deliver with much passion using his wide vocal range. The passion with which he sings can be traced back to his introduction to music at age four, when his mother began teaching him to sing after speech therapy failed to help him overcome a speech impediment. Singing and music helped him pronounce words, and as Pe'a became more proficient his parents encouraged him to take vocal lessons and join a choir, and then began entering him in talent competitions. He won his first competition at age eight, and went on to win more, including Hawai'i's prestigious Brown Bags to Stardom, and the National Association Teacher’s of Singing Competition. After the struggles in his earliest years, Pe'a blossomed through music and sings everything from classical to musicals, ballads, R&B, soul, and Hawaiian.
E Walea was recorded at Dave Tucciarone's Seventh Wave Productions and features a number of guest artists, including: Kamakoa Lindsey-Asing, Devin Kamealoha Forrest, Kalehua Simeona, Kapono Na?ili?ili, Casey Olsen, Iwalani Ho?omanawanui Apo, and Nani Lim Yap. Music reviewer John Berger of the Honolulu Star Advertiser writes: "This debut album by Kalani Pe'a... is the latest to show that the traditions of modern Hawaiian music are alive and in good hands for the future. From the first brisk bars of ?He Lei Aloha - No Hilo,? ... Pe'a honors these traditions and brings them forward beautifully."
Digital pre-sales of the album began July 8. The official release date is August 5, but fans can purchase a copy at Pe'a's CD release party, to be held at Pakele Live at the Willows (901 Hausten St., Honolulu) on August 4 , 6:30-8:30pm.
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