Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
The Hawaiian duo Hapa teamed singers/guitarists Barry Flanagan and Kelii Kanealii, who first met in 1983; deriving their name from a pidgin slang expression for "ethnically mixed, " Kanealii (a Honolulu native) and Flnagan (a product of New Jersey who relocated to Maui in 1979) then spent the next decade honing their distinctive sound, an update of traditional Polynesian textures and rhythms incorporating elements of pop and worldbeat. Building a devoted following throughout the islands, in 1993 Hapa issued their self-titled debut LP; the record was an unprecedented smash, breaking countless sales records on its way to earning six Na Hoku Hanohano awards (the Hawaiian equivalent of the Grammys). The duo's popularity expanded beyond their home state as well, and they became the first Hawaiian act to appear at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival; a Christmas-themed release, Holidays, followed in 1995, and two years later Hapa returned with In the Name of Love, highlighted by a cover of the U2 hit which lent the record its name. Surf Madness, their second release of 1997, soon followed.