Lifestyle

Hawai‘i-Based Blues Artist Set to Release Debut CD

September 2, 2018, 10:00 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 3:51 PM
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Paradise Blues album cover. Courtesy image.

Hawai‘i blues musician Taumea “Big John” Akapo is set to release his debut album Paradise Blues on Oct. 19, 2018, from Mensch House Records.

The new self-produced album features 10 tracks of contemporary blues and roots music from the American Samoan artist, who has a particular love for Delta blues. Seven songs are originally written by Akapo. He also included original takes on songs from his mentors including Robert Johnson (Ramblin’ on My Mind), Muddy Waters (I Can’t be Satisfied) and Tommy Johnson (Big Road Blues).

Akapo has played music since his youth, influenced by the touring musicians in his family.

“I would learn to play songs from watching VHS tapes or whatever I could get my hands on,” he said. “That was how I discovered Eric Clapton performing his MTV Unplugged set and my whole world changed. I was still too young to have known who he was or that he was even part of the British revival of the Blues. All I knew was I wanted more.”

Recording his own original music, Akapo began his professional career as a luau musician, bandleader, solo entertainer and more recently, a hip-hop producer and vocalist. When he sits down to write a song, it tends to be blues.

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“The blues fans that have seen me play appreciate the fact that I’m from Hawai‘i, yet I make them feel like they’re at home in the mainland,” Akapo said. “The blues is at home here in the Islands, and it’s nothing new. I think the entire blues scene could use some of this Paradise Blues.”

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