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 used to describe people of mixed Pacific Island ancestry.
The groups ground breaking 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.
Their music has appeared in countless National TV shows and feature films, and the group was showcased in a PBS Documentary hosted by Peter Fonda, who describes Hapa as "The music of my Bali Hai”. National Geographic kicked off their "Geo Sessions" music series with profiles on the group and Ben Harper. HAPA was the first Hawaii Musical act to be given to honor of being introduced and performed as themselves on the smash Television series, "Hawaii 5-0", performing their song "Olinda Road" which closed the first season's finale. An estimated 25 million viewers watched the show and its re-broadcast. “Since my initial move to Hawaii to appear on "Lost", the HAPA song "Olinda Road" will always remain the Soundtrack for my Hawaii-life" (Daniel Dae Kim).
HAPA’s self-entitled debut Cd released in 1993 became the biggest selling Cd by a group or duo in the history of recorded Hawaiian music. The group's debut Cd changed the tide and thus terminology of music from Hawaii, since it was the first Cd to establish itself outside of the musical category "Hawaiian Music" and be referred to as "World Music" by Billboard Magazine in 1993. All follow up Cd release have debuted in the Top Ten of the Billboard Magazine World Music Chart. The group’s ground breaking music has established them as the most recognized name in Hawaiian Music internationally since their debut release, continuing their 20 year touring tradition of selling out intimate Supper Clubs, Showcase Rooms, Festivals and Performing Art Centers from Tokyo to Sydney to New York.
The blend of their original vocal sound was originated on a wooden picnic bench in the beautiful little beach town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in the early 1980’s. It has travelled far in 30 years, as Rolling Stone Japan recently described them as "Titans of the Genre". Don Ho predicted in 1993: "What HAPA means and what their message is will touch and inspire millions”.