Lau Aloua, a graduate
of Lahainaluna High School, is Kupa`āina's slack-key expert. Born in Tonga,
he started playing at hotels at the age of nine. He has lived in Maui, New
Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, and much of the East and West Coast. He also plays in
the Waianae band Kamaha`o. A former chef, Lau
still cooks for his wife and mother-in-law in their Waianae Homestead home,
when he's not supervising a landscape crew or doing TV commercials.
Keao Cockett, our original
multi-talented, keyboardist, guitarist, saxophonist, `ukulele player, and
vocalist. Keao is a teacher at Kapolei High School, and performs with his
own band, Inner Session. Their album, recorded for Immense and
Intense Productions, is now in stores. He also plays in his dad’s band Na Pali on Kaua`i. Check out www.myspace.com/innersession.
Babatunji Heath has filled in on drums with the band as well as Mr. Chang’s various and sundry WSUP (Whoever Shows Up) gigs. Tunji is a founding member of Kototama Productions and helped the band make its first album. Tunji is well
known for his old recording/practice space studio JUNK MUSIC STUDIOS where Kupa`āina and bands such as Red Session and Go Jimmy Go made
some of their first recordings. Tunji currently resides in Hong Kong with
his wife Maggie.
Kelli Heath is a
producer/engineer/ founding member of Kototama Productions, slack key guitarist
extraordinaire, a member of The Girlas collective, and a
solo artist in her own right. Kelli has played guitar on many occasions with the
band and helped us produce our first album. Kelli is becoming increasingly well-known in the local as an ace sound engineer.
Anson Pang, our original drummer, is a
Damien grad, an ex-Marine, Vietnam veteran, a retired bank officer and a
proud grandfather from Kāne`ohe. Anson now resides in Abilene, Texas with
Luke Solatorio, our first bass player and high school
classmate of Mr. Chang, still sits in with the band, even playing congas at Diamond Head Cove. He currently plays with the band Canoes For Rent when he has time between doing the sound at his church and working at sea.
Nakana Wong plays stand-up bass
and contributes vocal harmonies, particularly when the band is one of its "un-plugged" modes. He is full time member of the band Kahua, a mainstay at the Willows restaurant in Honolulu that plays
traditional Hawaiian music. He is also a
member of Keao’s band Inner Session and sits in as a member of WSUP now and then. Nakana makes a regular living as a science teacher in
the Hawaiian language at Anuenue.
Our friend, family member, band member, co-songwriter, co-inspirator and
provocateur Professor Kanalu George Terry Young passed away on August 31,
2008 surrounded by family, oli (chant) and the best music we could muster
under the circumstances.
Most of you who have never actually met the band may be most familiar with Kanalu from our album. He recited the poem “A Patriot's Heart” (under the
plumeria tree at his home in Kapahulu) which to our great surprise has
gotten radio play on indigenous radio stations and independent radio shows
nationwide. It is not often that a poem gets airtime on the radio. He also
wrote the liner notes and co-wrote the songs Pomaika'i, Overload on
Automation, Karl’s Lullaby, The Light, Kupa'aina, Kawaimalia and Simple
Terry was a professor of Hawaiian Studies at the Kamakakuokalani Center
for Hawaiian Studies at UH Manoa. He had been quadriplegic since the age
of 15 when he accidentally dove into receding waters at Cromwells (aka
Doris Duke Estate). (He recounted some of this story in Chicken Soup for
Hawai'i’s Soul). He chose the name Kanalu after his love for surfing, the ocean and his love/hate relationship with the way it had come to define
his life. Terry started out as a psychologist and disability activist at
the legislature, and disability athlete as well. Through self-searching
and inspiration he eventually found his true place as a public
intellectual in promoting dialogue and activism on Hawaiian issues and
rights. Known on KINE 105.1 as The Kapahulu Daktah, he was a composer and font of wisdom for the band.
He contributed extensively to the fields of Pacific Island
history and Native Hawaiian political and historical scholarship and
discourse. Kanalu also wrote songs with artists such as Jon Osorio and Pai`ea.
Bandleader Kevin Chang says, "I have known Terry for 13 years not as a student but as his primary caregiver for a good amount of time. I carried him onto cars and planes,
moved people and objects out of his way, woke him up and got him ready for
the day, threw him back in bed, sent him to emergency, argued over how to
cook rice and spread peanut butter, combed his hair, slapped his head,
broke his toe, put him in his place, brought him back to reality and
lectured in his classes among other things. Terry taught me immense
patience, though he could be quite impatient himself. He also taught me as
he did in passing that ALOHA (or love) is something you continually
progress on, it is not a state of being or an end goal, it is part of a
journey….that takes patience and willingness to sacrifice. Terry worked
hard at loving everyone, giving them the benefit of the doubt and always
finding ways to improve himself as a human being."
In life he inspired many, he walked further than most who could stand, he contributed immensely to current dialogue regarding Hawaiian self
determination music, local culture, humanity….and much more.
All those who care about this land and the
people of this land, who choose to give back to the environment, support
cultural survival and revitalization, cross cultural exchange and communion,
and further progressive change in multiple arenas in Hawai`i nei and the
Less about the band.
Kupa`āina plays their signature tune Kupa`āina at the 2006 Windward Ho`olaule`a.