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Paradise For All: Aloha Got Soul
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Paradise For All:
Aloha Got Soul

Aloha Got Soul unearths forgotten and obscure music from Hawaii since 2010. They highlight the B-side of Hawaiian music: not traditional music as most know it, but “non-Hawaiian” music like funk, soul, jazz, and rock from the heavenly islands.

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“I was a beatmaker when I stumbled upon DJ Muro’s Hawaiian Breaks mix back in 2009. That blew my mind – I had no idea records like this existed from Hawaii!”, tells Aloha Got Soul founder Roger Bong. “Even though I grew up in the islands, my family didn’t have a connection to this kind of sound from here.”

Surprised by the music from the place he calls home, Bong went on a digging spree to find more info. “There was barely any info about these tracks online, let alone a tracklist.” Together with diggers around the world like the Soul Strut community, Waxist in France and shitzr in Hawaii, he managed to solve the mystery behind the tracklist.

That quest also led him to discover more music from the Hawaiian Renaissance: a cultural reawakening in the 70s, and a fertile time for creative exploration on Hawaii. Especially for non-Hawaiian forms such as jazz, R&B, soul, rock and electronic music.

“It doesn't sound ‘local’,” says Bong. “Even after 40 years, I think local artists like Mike Lundy who sit outside the box of music from Hawaii are still having a hard time describing–if any–the characteristics of their sound and how it relates to the islands. Another artist, Franz Kahale, recently told me he believes it's the ocean that influences us in many ways. Including our sound. There are few other places in the world that are surrounded by so much ocean. And when you ask a Hawaii ex-pat what they miss most, they'll probably tell you the beach.”

Aloha Got Soul's Roger Bong (left) with composer Chucky Souza (right)
Aloha Got Soul's Roger Bong (left) with composer Chucky Souza (right)

That ‘non-Hawaiian local character’ is at the core of Aloha Got Soul's purpose: it brings music from Hawaii (past and present) to the world and at the same time, Bong aims to attract producers from all over the world to music from Hawaii: “There's a rich catalog just below the surface... One big goal of mine is to encourage more local producers to sample local music. It's already happening, but if more producers from Hawaii participate perhaps it can help shape a new sound of Hawaii for the 21st century.”

Bong continues: "So many local beatmakers have asked me about sampling the Aloha Got Soul catalog, and Tracklib has finally come around to making this seamless. I must say that Tracklib has changed the game in my perspective."

And which music from his catalog awakes his inner-beatmaker? “Definitely Aiko. When I first heard ‘Shinobi Ai’, my beatmaker instinct immediately kicked in. I dropped the needle back to the intro about five times before letting the rest of the song play... Aiko's album, My Home Town, has all these little gems of samples ripe for producers.”

“If only we had the stems... the producer, Dale Senaga, admitted he got rid of the master tapes a while ago. All that's left is the vinyl, but that's never stopped anyone from making a beat.” But with no copies available at Discogs, with the last one sold over a year ago for $100: we got you covered with all ten tracks...


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