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From left, Keola Donaghy, visiting mentor Ron Williams and students Bobbi Bridges, Al Nip, Herb Folsom, Grace Gomes, Iraj Namiranian, Makena Laurion, Aaron Grzanich and Mehra Park. Missing from photo: Hualani Moore (Photo credit: 51 Maui College)

University of 51 Maui College students have released an album of original music about Lahaina, its rich history and their hopes for its future.

album cover, 2 sets of hands holding plant

Haʻina Ko Wehi: Celebrating West Maui in Mele, the colleges (IHM) project, was originally intended to create new music for West Maui. However, on August 8—two weeks before the group was scheduled to begin work—wildfires burned on Maui, and the projects focus shifted.

Students Bobbi Bridges, Herb Folsom, Grace Gomes, Aaron Grzanich, Mkena Laurion, Hualani Moore, Iraj Namiranian, Al Nip and Mehra Park, led by IHM faculty coordinator and six-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner Keola Donaghy, gathered nearly every Saturday throughout the fall of 2023 to work. All songs were composed by December; recording and mixing were completed in April 2024. The album was produced by Donaghy, 51 Maui College lecturers Joel Katz and Stephen Fox, and Lance D. Collins.

“Words cannot fully express the pride I feel for what these students experienced as individuals and as a group over the course of our time together,” Donaghy said. “They dug deep into their hearts, souls and experiences to produce incredible expressions of art and aloha. I am sure that anyone who listens to this recording will feel the same sense of pride and gratitude for their efforts to help our community heal in this time when healing is so badly needed.”

Haʻina Ko Wehi: Celebrating West Maui In Song is available on all major music download and streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube. Physical CDs will be available this summer.

For more information, contact Donaghy at (808) 984-3570 or email donaghy@hawaii.edu.

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