Lifestyle

Aloha Got Soul Reissues Album

November 20, 2018, 11:44 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 3:46 PM
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Aloha Got Soul is reissuing another lost gem of music from Hawaiʻi’s past. Lead Me to the Garden by ̒Āina will be released digitally on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2018. Physical copies will be available in February 2019.

The story begins in 1977 when two young men met out west in the town of Mākaha, on the Island of O‘ahu. Howard Shapiro and Michael Joao loved living in Mākaha with its beautiful surf, uncrowded beaches and homegrown music. They also discovered that they shared a passion not only for music, but for issues like environmental protection, human rights, Native Hawaiian rights, and hunger and homelessness.

Together they formed the band Earth, which they soon changed to ‘Āina, meaning land or earth in the Hawaiian language.

‘Āina performed throughout O‘ahu at various gatherings that addressed environmental protection and Native Hawaiian rights. In 1978, ‘Āina recorded a seven-inch single for Greenpeace, entitled “Greenpeace: To Save the Whales”.

In 1980,  ̒Āina entered Honolulu’s Audissey recording studio and soon released their only LP, Lead Me to the Garden. The resulting album is a pleasant, uplifting spiritual journey of album oriented rock (AOR) and soft rock with samples of Hawaiian music.

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Working directly with Shapiro, Aloha Got Soul has updated the release with three new songs from Shapiro’s solo catalog to complement the album with timely messages of Native Hawaiian activism.

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“Silent in the Night” was written for the majestic mountain Maunakea, where the controversial TMT telescope will be built against the desires of many Native Hawaiian people. “Ka ҅Āina” expresses a close connection to the earth and being in harmony with all life. “Family of Abraham” describes how Christians, Muslims and Jews, all from the same family, have created divisions between their religions.

A number of the songs on Lead Me to the Garden are reminiscent of those by Hall & Oates, Seals & Croft and America. The album includes well-known Hawaiʻi musicians Dennis Graue, John Tsukano, Walter Rickard and Roscoe Wright along with vocalist Nohelani Cypriano providing backing vocals on “Your Light” and “Lead Me to the Garden.”

From his home in Volcano on Hawai‘i Island, Shapiro reflected on the re-release of the album: “Today we live in a fragmented world where we divide ourselves by race, religion and nationality. We need to begin to heal the hurt between all the people of our planet and we need to insure the basic necessities of life; food, shelter and clothing to all the world’s people. We also need to heal the rift between us and Mother Earth so that this beautiful garden that we’ve been given will continue to grow and thrive.”

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Sadly, Joao never achieved his full creative potential, passing away unexpectedly in the early 1990s.

Following the production of Lead Me to the Garden in 1980, Shapiro continued to write, record and perform original music which contributed to many environmental and social causes in Hawai‘i. In 1986, while living on Kauaʻi, he helped to create Performing and Fine Artists for World Peace, a non-profit organization, whose work was recognized with a United Nations Peace Messenger Award in 1987. Under his Kumanu Music record label, Shapiro recorded and released several albums addressing topics such as substance abuse and addiction, environmental protection, and human rights.

The digital release of Lead Me to the Garden will be available to download on Nov. 21, 2018. Physical copies will be arriving in February 2019 and are now available for pre-order. Highlighted songs include “Your Light”, “Many Roads”, “Path of Heart” and “Silent in the Night.”

For more information or to make a pre-order, go online.

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