Haumāna from the Music Tech 2018 class at KS Kapālama celebrated last year with Kumu Bailey Matsuda after officially releasing their collaboration (pictured below) entitled “UNTOLD,” which is now available at the school bookstore and through multiple online music platforms.
A group of talented and dedicated high school students at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama has taken a collection of original songs from the drawing board to the worldwide stage as part of an innovative music compilation project.
The 17-track album titled “UNTOLD” was created solely by haumāna, from the compositions to the performances to the production work, and features both traditional and contemporary mele. The collaborative effort of the Music Tech 2018 group was guided by Bailey Matsuda, music and technology kumu at KS Kapālama within the high school’s Performing Arts Department. Matsuda’s current students are working on another compilation to be released in May.
“I love the idea that the kids would get that kind of exposure and recognition, and what they do with it is up to them,” says Matsuda. “I have some students who are so committed and passionate about what needs to be done to produce music at this level. It's a generation of leaders that gives us all hope.”
Matsuda explains that he encouraged the students to create the album at the commercial level so that it would become eligible to be nominated as a compilation album for the 2019 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, which is slated for May 19 and is recognized as the local music industry’s equivalent of the Grammys.
“For me, if you’re one of the top five nominated (in a Nā Hōkū category), you’re in the game, you’re in the show!” says Matsuda. “One way you ‘test’ the impact of your work is by putting it out in the world. It’s on the music platforms out there, so you could access it from halfway around the world in Afghanistan if you have internet access.
“That’s important for our young Hawaiians, because the world is their stage and that speaks to a philosophy that has been evolving at Kamehameha Schools. Our na‘au is always there, and whatever genre is used to express their art, it’s going to be world-class Hawaiian music – regardless of how you define that. We’re looking to define who we are as artists on the world stage as we take our history into the future.”
Revenue from CD sales goes back to the Music and Technology class account to help with funding future projects. The CDs are for sale at the Kapālama campus bookstore, as well as through musictech.hearnow.com. Additionally, UNTOLD is available on music streaming sites including iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and Amazon.
"Yes, we’re culturally grounded and we look at the world through a Native Hawaiian lens, but that doesn’t mean we’re restricted in any way in what we do,” explains Matsuda. “For instance, (Native Hawaiian fashion designer) Manaola going to Fashion Week in New York – that was pure Hawaiian all the way. This is a course that encourages that mindset and approach.”