LAHAINA – The Maui Jam Band hums and tunes with sweet melodies on their latest release, “Aloha Ku’u Hawai’i Aloha E.” The special 12-track mele ki ho’alu (slack key guitar) is guaranteed to soothe the effects of Covid stress – like slipping into a cool mountain stream on a hot summer day in the middle of a global pandemic .
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The connection of the performers is an envelopment of harmonies and instruments. Their rich and well-practiced voices blend together – an exciting mix of Island artists with an innate talent for sharing their love of Hawaiian culture through music.
They are Lance Tokushima, Sharon Balidoy, Jon Toda, Geronimo Valdriz, Konapiliahi Lau, Wayne Purdy, Al Nip and Patti Kuwaye.
Al Nip is the leader of the group.
It was recorded at the Carl Langes Studio, mainly during the pandemic.
Retired educator (Lahainaluna high school), Nip plays ukulele, guitar and bass on the album.
“I was influenced by my brother and his friends jamming on our patio in Palolo Valley on the island of Oahu” Nip told the Lahaina News.
“While I was at university at UH-Manoa”, He continued, “I had the pleasure of working with and having as my Kumu Larry Kauanoe Lindsey Kimura and Ho’oulu Cambra, and it had a major impact in my life playing Hawaiian music.”
Music has been a mainstay for Nip throughout his life.
“Limited to surfing and diving, and working on our Kahakuloa property, practicing and improving my skills on the steel guitar has kept me in a good state of mind throughout this crisis” he advised.
Fortunately, continued Nip, “We were able to perform safely during the pandemic at the Maui Coffee Attic in Wailuku once a month.”
Born and raised in Kuli’ou’ou, Oahu, Lance Tokushima, now of Peahi, is the band’s ukulele lover.
“The people who influenced me by playing Hawaiian music were Sterling (Kootchie) Lau, Walter Kawaea and Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero. Of course, last but not least, Al Nip for giving my wife and I the opportunity to play music that we both love.
“Playing Hawaiian music gives me something to look forward to in these days of COVID-19” Tokushima said.
Wayne Santiago Purdy, 71, from the legendary Ulupalakua Purdy ‘ohana, adds his talents to the CD by working on his four-string electric bass.
His performance career began when he was young, playing at parties and restaurants with his mother, father and cousin.
Sharon Balidoy’s Hawaiian roots run deep in Lahaina. She is the granddaughter of the Front Street Uncle Ned and Aunt Pua Lindsey family. Her parents are Roselle and Jim Bailey. She is the kumu hula of Hula Alapa’i i Malu Ulu O Lele and the founder of the Lae’ula O Kai Canoe Club.
Balidoy is passionate about the genre.
“The music transports me to different places on the island, in the world. To different environments, sounds, scents and people. (It is) an invitation to recall other moments, memories / memories, (and an) ability to travel when not physically able to do so.
“Music can certainly cheer you up” the cultural practitioner continued with verve, “Make you play while you work at home.” And for those mele that reminds me of people who have passed away, it makes aloha cry.
Jon Toda is the manager of Seabury Hall. He was born in Oahu and raised in Maui. On the CD, he plays ukulele, bass and guitar.
His voice is also an instrument.
“Practice harmony with my voice” he observed, “Has helped achieve harmony in my life because it teaches you to listen. Listen carefully to what others are saying, then think about what I can add to complement what they are doing to produce a whole greater help in all areas of life.
Other talents of the Maui Jam Band are steel guitarists Geronimo Valdriz and Konapiliahi Lau and bassist Patti Kuwaye.
The title song has special meaning for Nip.
“Aloha Ku’u Hawai’i Aloha E” was composed by Shelbi Kealohaoku’upu’uwai Shimazu from Ni’ihau and Nip.
“My paternal grandparents operated an 18 acre kalo, rice and banana farm in Damon Tract on the island of Oahu. Growing up I had the opportunity to wander and play in the patches, and in doing so, I enjoyed the benefits of fresh water springs, flowing streams and seeing sea fish at one. kilometer from the ocean in the streams.
“All this no longer exists”, Sadly added nip, “Because our family farm is now covered with asphalt and concrete. This scrum is about everyone’s responsibility to preserve and show aloha to what we have left, which relates to all of the other musical choices on this CD as we try to preserve traditional Hawaiian folk music with four original scrums including this song.
The album can be purchased on mele.com or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Aloha-Kuu-Hawaii-%C4%92/dp/B093XJF5F2/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords= maui + jam + tape & qid = 1630612867 & sr = 8-6.
A schedule of their monthly live shows at Maui Coffee Attic is listed on their Facebook page.