New CD Celebrates Hawaii Island Through Song

Kristin McGrath
Kristin McGrath
Keoki Kahumoku
Keoki Kahumoku

HILO (KHNL) - The Big Island Visitors Bureau announces that a new Hawaiian music CD released in early September exclusively features songs and musicians from the Island of Hawai'i.

The CD, titled Na Mele Moku 'O Keawe (Songs from Hawai'i Island), is a group effort between Keoki Kahumoku, Daniel Ho Creations and the Big Island Visitors Bureau. "Hawaiian culture is an oral tradition and oral tradition is passed down through speaking the language or singing the songs," says Kahumoku.

Proceeds from the CD, which retails for approximately $15, will be used to support Kahumoku's educations programs that perpetuate not only Hawaiian music on the island, but also Hawaiian culture."Cooking, lei making, lauhala weaving, Hawaiian language, ukulele, slack key guitar," details Kahumoku.

"I have always dreamed of bringing together our gifted musicians here on Hawai'i Island and creating a beautiful compilation of Hawaiian music, which tells the stories of our island," said George Applegate, BIVB's executive director.

BIVB will distribute copies of N? Mele Moku 'O Keawe to meeting planners, travel wholesalers and travel agents who are key to the vitality of the island's visitor industry.

"We are also excited to give back to the community through this project, by helping someone who gives so much to educate our island's keiki about Hawaiian music," Applegate said. "The funds raised will help Keoki share his passion for our heritage and music."

Three-time Grammy Award winner and Hawai'i Island resident Kahumoku, together with BIVB Senior Director of Marketing Kristin McGrath, and local boy-turned-Grammy Award-winning producer Daniel Ho, of Daniel Ho Creations in Los Angeles, teamed up to make the CD happen. The songs, which are as varied as Hawai'i Island itself, celebrate different regions of Hawai'i's largest, most geographically diverse island.

For instance, Saddle Road tells the story of the infamous high-elevation road between East and West Hawai'i, and was written and sung by Dana Leilehua Yuen. Ka La Hui Pua'a, written by Larry Kimura, is performed by Daniel Kahikina Akaka, Jr. (Kalahuipua'a, which translates to "Gathering of the Pigs," is the Hawaiian place name of Mauna Lani Resort, where Akaka works as director of cultural affairs.) And Kealia, the South Kona ranching district, was written by Lottie Koko'o Kahumoku, and is performed by Kahumoku, a master slack key guitarist, singer and 'ukulele player.

"Hawaiian songs boast about the beauty that surrounds us and experiences that tell stories of how we live as people," says Kahumoku. "Our hope is that songs such as these continue to inspire others to live with much aloha."

For more information and to purchase the CD, please visit Two of Ho's previous projects were awarded the Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album of the Year: Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume One (2006) and Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar - Live From Maui (2007).

The CD will also be available at most Hawai'i music and bookstores, including Borders.