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Stars to perform at Kaanapali Fresh

By Staff | Jun 19, 2014

HAPA and Kamakakehau Fernandez are confirmed to perform at this year’s Kaanapali Fresh Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, Aug. 30. PHOTO BY JESSICA PEARL PHOTOGRAPHY

KAANAPALI – This is not your mother’s background music. This is a rockin’ concert under the stars – with mega stars! The Kaanapali Fresh Food & Wine Festival 2014 announces a stellar entertainment lineup – HAPA and Kamakakehau Fernandez – for the festival’s signature culinary event on Saturday night, Aug. 30.

The evening promises to be one of exceptional delights as Kaanapali Fresh, from Range to Sea, unwinds on the lush green of the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course’s scenic third hole.

Headlining is HAPA, one of Hawaii’s most exciting supergroups. The duo’s first album released in 1993 was the biggest-selling CD by a group or duo in the history of recorded Hawaiian music.

Ask any Maui resident what they listened to for that entire year, and “HAPA” would likely be the response. You couldn’t escape the sweet sounds of “Olinda Road” or “Ku’u Lei, Ku’u Ipo” floating from every restaurant doorway on Front Street, or spilling out the windows of cars heading up Haleakala Highway.

But the duo was only beginning their musical journey. Hapa, meaning half, was co-founded by Barry Flanagan; over the years, the other half of the pair changed several times, resulting in new styles and sounds – yet always maintaining that unmistakable liquid guitar and poetic lyricism in both English and Hawaiian.

Singer-songwriter Ron Kuala’au is the new Hawaiian half of HAPA – creating a “reunion” of sorts, as Kuala’au was one of Flanagan’s first Hawaiian music teachers and a huge inspiration for his music.

Flanagan remains the heart of the group, a masterful guitar player and renowned songwriter with a passion for Hawaiian art and culture.

Another lifelong student of all things Hawaiian, Maui’s own Fernandez will perform with his celebrated trio.

Fresh off his win at the 2013 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Fernandez gained an even broader fan base for his inspiring rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the awards show.

Performed with singer Sunway, his Hawaiian language version mesmerized the audience, resulting in such demand for the song that Kamaka and Sunway recorded a single in both English and Hawaiian (donating all proceeds to Aloha United Way).

Fernandez is a fluent speaker of the Hawaiian language, having been immersed in the culture since he was adopted and brought to Maui as a six-week-old infant.

His talents in the art of leo ki’eki’e (falsetto) singing won him the Richard Ho’opi’i Falsetto Contest in 2003, and his vocal range and ukulele prowess took the Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search on Oahu by storm in 2012.

At Kaanapali Fresh Food & Wine Festival from Range to Sea, Fernandez and his trio will perform traditional and contemporary Hawaiian favorites, as well as songs from his award-winning debut solo album, “Wahi Mahalo.”

The marvelous musical performances will be the delicious icing on an already-towering cake. The evening’s “range to sea” culinary journey follows the ancient Hawaiian model of the ahupua’a, bringing together Maui farmers and chefs in a showcase of culinary sustainability.

Grass-fed beef, heritage pork and lamb, island fish, ripe fruits and vegetables all combine to create a magical taste experience. The chef-created masterpieces will be expertly paired with boutique wines from the world’s leading vintners.

Kaanapali Fresh from Range to Sea will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $185 for this age 21 and over event.

It’s just one of a series of amazing experiences lined up for Kaanapali Fresh, the signature event of the Kaanapali Beach Resort Association.

The celebration spans three golden days – Aug. 29, 30 and 31, 2014 – of fun, food and wine on the famed crescent beach against the backdrop of Pu’u Keka’a (Black Rock).

For more information, visit the Kaanapali Fresh Ho’ike (information booth) in Whalers Village, which will be open daily from Monday, Aug. 25, through Friday, Aug. 29. For a complete schedule, visit kaanapalifresh.com.