English Rose

As many have come to know, Kūpaoa means filled with sweet and heady fragrance. Līhau Hannahs and Kellen Paik personified that name when their interwoven voices brought a new, fresh essence into the field with their debut CD, Pili o ke Ao. The talents they brought to bear were many - vocal, lyrical, instrumental and conceptual - set together like a well-crafted bouquet. And like a windborne fragrance, Kūpaoa’s careful blend of skills continues to emanate, wending their way through new territory with the touch of English Rose.

The title of this CD conjures up the image of a fresh, voluptuous flower blossoming out from old rootstock. It’s an apt reflection, as each song unfolds like its own petal of a larger bloom. Most are new originals, but with the familiar depth of an older lyrical and musical foundation. There are traditional favorites spiced with lively twists, and English songs, both light and loving. Each piece, each petal makes the collection bloom bigger and brighter.

This young duo loves to make music, and they have fun at it. Līhau and Kellen’s own compositions celebrate life’s varied delights, and those by other composers blend well with their own. Clearly, they enjoy what they do – expressing their appreciation for the whole sphere of Hawaiian music with meaningful lyrics, creative melodies, fine musical ability, and thoughtful presentation. Layered like petals, these aspects make English Rose into a luxurious blossom with an essence that one can’t help but enjoy. Inhale deeply — it’s Kūpaoa.

— Puakea Nogelmeier

English Rose (CD) $15.00 English Rose (Digital Album) $9.99