HONOLULU (August 31, 2010) – Released today, CJ Helekahi’s debut CD “Ka Mahina” is sharing the magic of beautiful Hana, Maui with the world. Known to many as “Boom,” CJ has gained a reputation for the beauty of his voice, from his soaring tenor to his caressing falsetto. With the much-awaited release of “Ka Mahina” (The Moon), CJ is coming full circle to share music that embodies the pure spirit of tropical Hana and highlights his unique vocal abilities and range. Guest artists Kaiolohia Funes Smith, Leokane Pryor and Pekelo Cosmo join CJ on “Ka Mahina” to create a musical experience unlike any other. Produced by Dave Tucciarone and distributed by the Mountain Apple Company HAWAI’I, “Ka Mahina” includes four original and six classic songs.
Visitors to the legendary Hotel Hana-Maui have long enjoyed CJ’s intimate performances, and after years of local acclaim, he is bringing his voice – and his love of Hana – to music fans everywhere. On “Ka Mahina,” each song leaves a lasting and meaningful impression, including CJ’s special favorites: “Church in an Old Hawaiian Town,” “Hele Mai” and “Mahina ‘O Hoku.”
“‘Church in an Old Hawaiian Town’ is one of the first that I learned, and a favorite that I love to sing,” said CJ Helekahi. “It builds so much feeling within me whenever I perform it. It’s not the lyrics that get me; it’s the memories of all the musicians that I’ve played with and the experiences that we all shared singing this song. I sang this song with the very first group of musicians that invited me to sing with them, and who gave me the chance to sing at Hotel Hana-Maui. Three out of five of these musicians have passed before their time. With this song, I give them so much aloha and mahalo.”
CJ’s influences for “Ka Mahina” come from a wide range of musicians while growing up in Hana, including his own family. For inspiration, CJ looked no further than his music immersed childhood.
“My most memorable influence is my grand-mom Clara Tolentino,” said CJ. “When I was much younger, my brothers, sisters and I spent a lot of time with our grandparents and other relatives due to my parents’ busy working schedules. Where my grandparents lived, there was no electricity to play Atari or watch TV like the rest of the town, so my grandparents and relatives spent a lot of time singing. They sang many different songs, but I noticed my grand-mom humming this one tune, ‘Hele Mai,’ a lot. After she passed, I didn’t hear or play the song until I started this project.”
“Singing ‘Hele Mai’ means so much to me; to sing it brings me back to those times watching her hang clothes on the sundried line or sitting in her chair sewing a blanket hearing, her humming away,” continued CJ “That is the way I remember my grandparents.”
“Ka Mahina” features original songs by CJ, whose songwriting style is drawn from many sources, including musicians he performed with over the years at the Hotel Hana-Maui. He also draws strength and insights from his ‘ohana:
“My Tolentino ‘ohana always had music at family gatherings,” said CJ “My mom always drove me to improve. My siblings gave me the love and support that I needed. My friends kept me being myself and my cousins always showed me the road to becoming the musician I am today. I consider these influences before writing any song.”
For more information, visit http://mountainapplecompany.com/cjhelekahi or connect with CJ on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/CJ-Helekahi/186495576356.