I Know You by Heart

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Honolulu-based folk act Kūpaoa consist of husband-and-wife duo Kellen and Līhau Hannahs Paik. Since 2008, the couple have released a steady string of breezy Hawaiian folk albums building an audience in their native islands and branching out internationally. Kūpaoa already had a busy year in 2013 with the release of their third album, Bumbye, a collection of sweet, close-harmony duets with little accompaniment outside of Kellen's acoustic guitar and Līhau's double bass. It's a format that works for their gentle music and they employ it again on their first EP, I Know You by Heart, released in late 2013. Sung both in English and native Hawaiian, the seven songs are impeccably recorded and subtly arranged with the focus on the Paiks' strong vocals. "Mele Aloha," one of two new original pieces, is a wistful tale of romance that features a lovely slack-key guitar part dancing around the couple's intertwined harmonies. Two of the tracks were written by friend and fellow native heritage advocate Puakea Nogelmeier, while the remaining tracks are culled from Kūpaoa's live catalog, including a medley of the Hawaiian song "Lei 'O Ma'ili" and the Drifters classic "Dance with Me." I Know You by Heart is a strong and heartfelt effort from a now veteran act steeped in Hawaii's enchanting culture.

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