Archive for March, 2016
Monday, March 7, 2016
I am so excited to share the news:
Our album, MELE O HĀLAWA, has made it to the preliminary ballot for the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards!
(Note: This isn’t the final ballot. This is the BIG ballot, the preliminary one, that has hundreds of entries. Hopefully enough folks will vote for it and it will appear on final ballot. At that point, we can consider ourselves official “nominees.”)
During the first discussions we had about the documentary SONS OF HĀLAWA, we talked about the necessity and the challenge of incorporating music into the film. That can be a difficult-to-navigate area, a full-time job. I was naive. I was optimistic. I said to Matt Yamashita, the filmmaker, “Why don’t I just write songs for the film? Then you can have them and we’ll be good to go.”
It never dawned on me that writing songs might be, um… a bit challenging Ha! As soon as I realized what I’d said, I knew I was in for a wild ride!
Thankfully, the soundtrack for the film included music by other folks as well. Pops, an accomplished haku mele (songwriter) contributed two songs to the album. And Molokai’s own amazing musician/producer, Lono, contributed two songs. With my own two compositions, we had six original tracks and we used traditional music from Molokai to round out the album. Each song was chosen for its own special reasons, making it a deeply personal collection of heart-filled songs from Molokai.
One of the greatest things the album offers is a rare glimpse into the rich and diverse musical landscape of Molokai and Hālawa Valley. Some of these songs on the album have never really been heard outside of the valley! It’s intense!
We recorded the tracks in marathon-style when I was on island for a week. Lono put together beautifully layered instrumental tracks. Pops and I sang our faces off in the studio. And then Lono finessed and produced the finished musical project in time for the songs to be woven into stunningly beautiful documentary, SONS OF HĀLAWA.
What started out as a soundtrack for the film has become a legacy album–a way for future generations to hear, study and (most importantly) enjoy the music of one of Hawaii’s most beautiful and remote islands.
It’s such an honor to see the album’s journey and the film’s journey, reaching audiences we never dreamed of.
And it’s a blessing to know that future audiences, future generations, will be able to witness it all, too.
If you are a HARA member, please consider voting for our “little album that could” in the following categories:
Group of the Year: Pilipo and Jason with Lonomusic
Island Music Album of the Year: MELE O HĀLAWA
Favorite Entertainer of the Year: Pilipo and Jason with Lonomusic
Album of the Year: MELE O HĀLAWA
Who would have thought that a kupuna (elder) from Molokai’s remote Hālawa Valley and a dude from New York City (along with the always-amazing Lonomusic!) would record an album together?
MELE O HĀLAWA is a dream come true.
Mahalo. Thank you.