Kupaaina: The Band 3

Kupa`aina: The Extended `Ohana

Lau Aloua

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.
Keao Cockett
Tunji Heath

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.

Kelli Heath

Anson Pang

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 his grandchildren.

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

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.

Kanalu G.T. Young 1954-2008


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 Island People.

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.

Eo Na Toa (UH Warrior theme)

Interesting (if slightly corny) interview


Kanalu Young

Kototama Productions LLC (our label), Brian Chun-Ming, Derek Kamiya, Kahiau Freitas and `ohana, Jamie Chang,  Makani Ortogero, Keola Nakanishi and everyone at Halau Ku Mana New Century Public Charter School, Na Lei Na`auao, students, parents and staff of Punana Leo O Kawaiaha`o, KEY Project, the Kokua Foundation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, St. Louis Heights Church of the Random Jam, Ka`ala Farms, Save Kaka`ako Park, The American Friends Service Committee, He`eia Fish Pond, Miki`ala Ayau, Vernon Ahmad and the Pu`ulu `Awa, Chiya Hoapili, Jeffrey Reiner, SEDA, Daniel Anthony, Percy Pomaika`i Kipapa (RIP), Ryan Look, Leandro Levinson, Kuulei Maunupau, George Brown, Michael Lum, Koryie Harvey, Kaleilehua Maioho, Jeremy and Janu Spear, Robert Pennington, Joy Boy Productions and the tolerance of the Morita family and Ahuimanu Valley.

Big mahalo to our musical mentors, conspirators and inspirators in Barry Flanagan, Ernie Jr. and Guy Cruz, Tracey Terada, Tyrone Wells, Kumu John Lake, Malama Minn, Mikala Canonigo, Maria Remos, The Girlas, Lopaka Colon, Kapali Keahi and Lahaina Grown, Paula Fuga and the One Love Band, Jon Osorio, Johnny Helm, James McCarthy, Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua, Solomon and Kamuela Enos, Kahua, G, Ooklah The Moc, Kamau, Oshen, Na Pali, Kamaha`o, Keahi Blue, Jay Jeffries, Jack Johnson, Y York, Margaret Jones, Bob Ostertag, John Vierra and JV Studios, Junk Music Studios,  and all present and future Junk jammers, the gang at Hale Noa and Diamond Head Cove Health Bar, Moemoea, Traditional Music, Inner Session, Jim On & Beerman attorneys-at-law, and all friends and family from the Eastern-Western-Northern and Southern parts of our islands, the continents and the world who have supported us and invited us into your homes, hearts, and ears.

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 world.

Less about the band.

Kupa`āina plays their signature tune Kupa`āina at the 2006 Windward Ho`olaule`a.

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