Definition of the word HAPA :
1) Hawaiian word for “half”
2) A person of Mixed South Pacific Islander ancestry. If an individual has one parent whom is a South Pacific Islander, and one parent whom are of an ethnicity outside of Pacific Islander, they would generally be considered “Hapa”
3) A Musical Duo from Hawaii that consists of one member of South Pacific Ancestry and one guy from New Jersey.
Often encapsulated as the “Sound of Maui” or the “Soundtrack of Hawaii” the music and sound of the group HAPA evokes a place that many people have referred to as heavenly. The sound? Expect to hear hypnotic, liquid guitar runs woven around clear, tenor Hawaiian vocals and immaculate harmonies driven by poetic lyrics exulting the rapture of the Hawaiian landscape, History and Mythology. Just add to this a dose of American Folk-Rock, you have what has been described, as “the most exciting and beautiful contemporary Hawaiian music the world knows” (Maui Times). The overriding quality of their music is one of passion, beauty and serenity, found in the majestic tones of the oli (chant), mele (song) and the exhilarating innovative sounds of virtuoso Guitar performances. “Masterful” is how Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Stephen Stills describes the groups Guitar skills.
The group’s recordings have infused fearless and brilliant production while weaving unique, inventive elements of sound and textures into their intricate South Pacific tapestry. Over the years this has included adding such diverse instruments on their recordings as the Irish Uillian Pipe, Hawaiian Pahu Drum and the Electric Sitar. Guest appearances have included friend and Folk Rock icon Kenny Loggins singing in the Hawaiian Language; Internationally recognized Slam-Poet and Storyteller Kealoha; to the final recorded vocal performance by the “King Of Hawaiian Entertainment” Don Ho. “Complex, sophisticated and flawlessly conceived and engineered, HAPA concerts and recordings are as elaborate and visceral as today’s Hawaii” (Kauai Times) These disparate ingredients blended together musically in the Pacific emote the unique flavor of what Hawaii and HAPA music is: “Beautiful, fragile, spiritual, powerful” (Los Angeles Times).
Their music has appeared in countless National TV shows and feature films, and the group was showcased in a PBS Documentary hosted by Peter Fonda, who describes Hapa as “The music of my Bali Hai”. National Geographic kicked off their “Geo Sessions” music series with profiles on the group and Ben Harper. HAPA was the first Hawaii Musical act to be given to honor of being introduced and performed as themselves on the smash Television series, “Hawaii 5-0”, performing their song “Olinda Road” which closed the first season’s finale. An estimated 25 million viewers watched the show and its re-broadcast. “Since my initial move to Hawaii to appear on “Lost”, the HAPA song “Olinda Road” will always remain the Soundtrack for my Hawaii-life” (Daniel Dae Kim).