This February, an inspired collection of funk, disco, jazz and AOR recorded in Hawai’i shines a whole new light on the islands’ music culture. Aloha Got Soul encompasses a vibrant and varied era of recordings made during the 1970s and early 1980s, many of which never received attention on the mainland, despite brilliantly talented musicians, regular gigs and full album releases. Thanks largely to collector and DJ Roger Bong of Aloha Got Soul, a new interest in this fertile era of Hawaiian music has steadily grown in recent years, culminating in this new compilation of overlooked gems.
The influence of Western music in Hawai’i dates back as far as the ragtime era with the creation of hapa haole music (“half Hawaiian, half Caucasian”), but from the early 1960s with the island’s new American statehood status and the influx of rock’n’roll, a proliferation of new bands, night clubs and influential radio DJs like Tom Moffatt ushered in a boom in hybrid sounds. By the late ‘70s, the influence of bands like Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power had sparked a rich, close-knit soul scene on the islands led by jazz-funk innovators Seawind (CTI Records). Artists like Aura, Nohelani Cypriano and Mike Lundy shone brightly but relatively briefly through to the mid’-80s.
Hear a track below from Aura (pictured on the album cover), a family band consisting of eight siblings and featuring two female singers and an incredibly tight horn section.
Aloha Got Soul, out March 18th 2016, is compiled and annotated by Roger Bong and features rare photos and original artwork. Pre-orders are available now. All orders from Strut’s online store and bandcamp page will be discounted 10% in advance of the release date.