Barry Flanagan is an American Singer-Songwriter, Musician and founder of the acclaimed World Music group HAPA. Flanagan is known for his Guitar and Song Writing skills, vocal performances and ocean awareness projects. In 1980, Flanagan moved to Hawaii to research and study the Art of Kiho 'Alu, or Slack Key Guitar and Haku Mele, Hawaiian Language Song composing. It was after hearing the music of American Musician and film score composer Ry Cooder with legendary Slack Key master Gabby Pahinui that inspired Flanagan's sojourn to Hawai’i to explore and learn these two Art forms.
Flanagan immersed himself in Hawaiian Culture and Art, seeking out native speakers, Teachers and Composers of Hawaiian Songs, passionately studying indigenous Art forms with Maui as the backdrop. An “eternal wellspring of inspiration for Artists and Writers from around the globe” is how Flanagan describes Maui.
In 1983, Flanagan founded a musical duo on the island of Maui, naming it “HAPA”, a Hawaiian word meaning “half” and also used to describe people of mixed Pacific Island ancestry. During the next 10 years, to 1993, Flanagan raised $125,000 to Write and Produce what was described in the local papers in 1983 as “…a first-class recording that would change the way people out of the state of Hawai'i perceive Hawaiian Music”.(Lahaina News).
“HAPA” was Produced, Composed, and Arranged by Flanagan, with supporting performances by Grammy Award winning singer Kenny Loggins and Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Stephen Stills. The groups benchmark first release in 1993 still remains the number one selling recording by a group or duo in the history of recorded Hawaiian music, sweeping all six categories it was nominated for at the 1994 Hawaii Music Awards. In 2007, the CD was acknowledged by Honolulu Magazine as #31 of the “50 All-Time Greatest Hawaiian Recordings Of All Time” with the original song “Lei Pikake” also acknowledged as #32 in the follow-up “50 All-Time Greatest Songs” issue. In 2005, Flanagan co-composed a song with friend Kenny Loggins for his Grammy Nominated Children’s release “More Songs from Pooh Corner” CD. The song, entitled “Hana Aluna Lullaby” includes a chorus in the Hawaiian language, making this the first song utilizing Hawaiian lyrics to receive a Grammy distinction.
The groups groundbreaking music has established them as the most recognized name in Hawaiian Music since their debut release, performing 100 shows or more a year out of state.
“Flanagan's guitar style is like an iron fist in a velvet glove”…he explores the rich possibilities beyond Hawaiian music and then some, blending a variety of pop and world music styles.” — San Francisco Chronicle”
“HAPA is the most successful musical act from Hawaii in recent history” — The New York Times
“Flanagan showed off such a combination of dexterity and soulfulness that he brought to mind some mid-Pacific amalgam of Mark Knopfler, Chet Atkins and Wes Montgomery... absolutely breathtaking.” — Orange County Register
“One of the worlds premeier Guitarists” — Oregon Emerald
“Barry Flanagan in this 21st Century represents just how far Hawaiian music has traveled and how compelling its appeal is.” — Honolulu Magazine
“...a masterful guitarist” — Stephen Stills