Mike Kaawa is one of Hawai‘i's finest 12-string guitar players and is a highly regarded musician. He describes his music as “Hawaiian with attitude.” Mike began his musical journey at the age of 10 when he and fellow baseball buddies formed their very first band. His career has spanned nearly four decades and he has been an important member of some of Hawaii’s most popular groups, taking Hawaiian music from Hawai‘i to the mainland as well as internationally. Kaawa has captivated audiences with his stage presence and vocal abilities, strong instrumentation and distinct vocal expressions that come straight from the heart.
Mike is celebrating the release of his 3rd solo album "Kuapaka`a." 8 of 10 tracks on the album are new compositions. Kuapaka`a, Lapakahoe, He Ka`ao No Paka`a, Ka Ipu Makani a La`amaomao and Auhea Ka Wa`a were written specifically for Kaawa by Hawaiian music and chant master Kelii Taua. Kaawa and Taua performed together in the ‘70s as part of Na Keonimana and the Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning group Hokule`a. Taua writes a series of songs in remembrance of Hawaii’s father and son folk heroes, Paka`a and Kuapaka`a. The songs remind us of the simple lives Hawaiians once lived and of the rich traditions carried on from father to son.
Waiakeakua and Ho’i Ka ‘I’ini were written by Kaawa’s daughter Kini Kaawa-Wilson. Kini grew up attending Hawaiian Immersion schools. Her poetic skill with the Hawaiian language is showcased in her debut mele on this album.
While Taua and Kaawa-Wilson pen lyrics, Kaawa creates the music that brings the words to musical life. The results are infectious, often edgy and upbeat. With this new album, Kaawa proudly carries on a sound rooted in the traditions of Hawaiian music legends Gabby Pahinui and Eddie Kamae, The Hawaiian steel guitar playing of Paul Kim is a brilliant compliment to Kaawa’s new music.
Waiokeola is a name song written by Kaawa’s wife for Lance Waiokeola Kaowili. Lance was lost at sea during a large swell on the east shore of Oahu’s popular Sandy Beach. A man of god, family and the ocean, Lance will never be forgotten.
The last track, crowd favorite Holoholo Ka`a, features Slack Key Master Ledward Kaapana on 6-string guitar. Kaapana’s skillful and artistic finger picking gives this standard hula song a fun and playful, yet twisting ride.