VIDEO: Ekolu Celebrates 7th Album Release at Mulligan’s
By Kristin Hashimoto
On Saturday April 9, the Hawaiian/Reggae band Ekolu is celebrating the release of their 7th album Ekolu: Simply for Love, at Irish pub, Mulligan’s on the Blue, in Wailea. According to Dar Keala, wife of Ekolu’s lead vocalist Lukela Keala, the day before the release party, the boys in the band were “working out the butterflies,” in preparation for their performance on Maui. “It’s our homecoming,” said Keala.
In 1995, Maui boys Lukela Keala, Akoni Dellomes, and Makapu Hoopii started jamming in their Baldwin high music class. They went from school room, to gigging, then to recording studios and finally tours that took them throughout the state of Hawaii, the mainland, and overseas to venues in Japan and Tahiti.
Maui has been missing its local boys, if ticket sales are an indicator. “We sold approximately 300 pre-sale tickets, and are expecting 500-600 people to attend,” said Keala. Pre-sale tickets were snatched up at $20. It’s $25 at the door.
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCxLw1p28Dk /]
Mulligan’s restaurant manager, Eileen Nic Shamhradhain, is thrilled to have Ekolu release their album of love-songs today at this decidedly family-friendly event. “We’re very fond of Ekolu; they performed here last year in August . . . they [Ekolu] attract an awesome, mellow crowd.”
The pub has designated an area for minors, and will close the night of live music relatively early, at around 10:00 p.m. Doors opened at 4:00 p.m., and Ekolu will take the stage at around 9:00 p.m. Keala handpicked special talent to keep the audience vibing and in good spirits before Ekolu takes the stage. The lineup includes: Manali’i, Positive Motion, Ho’okoa with special guests Kaipo Kapua and Inik.
The new album was released on March 29, and can be obtained directly from www.ekolumusic.com, or from local retailers. Their statewide CD release party, was kicked off on April 2, at Paddler’s Inn on Moloka’i. Tonight’s performance at Mulligan’s will segueway into another party on Oahu on May 14, at Sea Life Park. Ekolu will complete their island hopping on the Big Island, in July.
Ekolu has certainly matured since their boyhood days at Baldwin High, where they first competed in Brown Bags to Stardom. As the band evolved musically, their crew expanded. Their original three piece band which consisted of Lukela Keala on lead vocals, Dellomes and Hoopii, now includes: James De Bose on Trombone, Paul Bunuan on Saxaphone, Kanoa Kukaua on guitar, Tom Mamuad on keyboard, Michael Casil on drums, and Kamakoa Lindsey-Asing.
Ekolu remains humble and grateful for the support of their fans, friends, and family. Now, with three Na Hoku Hanohano awards, four Hawaii Music Awards, and four albums ranked in the Top World Billboards, Ekolu has graduated from second place in a high school talent competition, to become a recognizable force in the world music scene.