After being behind the scenes working on projects for Oprah Winfrey, Willie Nelson, members of Aerosmith, and others, Maui's Halemanu has released his new album, So the Story Goes. Since its release in January 2018, his album has been nominated for two Na Hoku Hanohano awards—Island Music Album of the Year and Most Promising Artist of the Year. Over half of the eleven tracks are originals that depict memories of his life growing up on Maui, from days spent at the beach (Fun in the Sun), car rides to Hana and back (Ala Kahiko A?o Ha¯na (Old Hana Road), and his "grown-up" years, including a song about a dancer expressing his music through her hula interpretation (The Story of Her Dance), getting lost in his music as he performs for an audience (I?m Gonna Play My Music), and even a Rockabilly-style song about sitting in traffic on his way to Lahaina (Carweelah Ride). Other songs on the album include his take on the late Palani Vaughan?s Ka?a Ahi Kahului, a version of Pandanus that he grew up hearing his father and uncle play, and Waiulu, a song that his grandmother loved that he included to honor her memory.
Halemanu grew up playing music, picking up the ?ukulele at age 5 with the support and encouragement of his father, who played Hawaiian and popular music for 30 years. He performed at local events, talent shows, and parties, eventually studying guitar and recording engineering at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA, devoting time to perfecting not only his skill as a musician, but learning everything he could about the technical side of music production, which had first piqued his curiosity at an early age. He also studied music theory with Dick Grove, founder of the Dick Grove School of Music. He has since become a sought-after music producer and engineer, working on hundreds of musical and media projects that have appeared all over the world. Also an accomplished vocalist, ?ukulele player, and guitarist, he has thousands of live and studio performances to his credit.
So the Story Goes was recorded and engineered by Halemanu, who also sings and plays ?ukulele, bass, guitar, and keyboards. Guest musicians include Paul Marchetti and Reece Perry (drums), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Kalei Jaramillo (hula implements), and Lisa Villiarimo (background vocals). Because Halemanu believes in giving back, a portion of the proceeds from the album and concert sales will be donated to non-profit organizations that support women and children.
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