Taj Mahal Signs with Tone Cool, Revisits Hawaiian Music

Taj Mahal - Hanapepe Dream
Taj Mahal – Hanapepe Dream
Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, USA – Based in Hawaii from 1981 until 1996, Taj Mahal returns to the island sounds of Kaua`i for the American release of Hanapepe Dream, his second CD with the Hula Blues. Hanapepe Dream, the Grammy® Award-winning artist’s debut joint venture between Tone-Cool Records and his own Kan-Du Records, will be released on June 10, 2003.

The follow up to 1998’s acclaimed Sacred Island, Hanapepe Dream’s 11 tracks feature Taj’s all-acoustic string band sound along with his signature slack-key blend of the blues and Pacific-Caribbean-island music.

Album highlights include an extended Hula Blues version of “Blackjack Davey,” a song from Taj’s 1974 reggae-infused Mo Roots album, and the signature Taj Mahal sound of “Stagger Lee,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and Mississippi John Hurt’s “My Creole Belle.”

The American release of Hanapepe Dream will offer bonus video footage including live performances of “The Calypsonians” and “The New Hula Blues.” Following Dream’s release, the very first Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues U.S. tour will follow with three weeks of shows during summer, kicking off June 20 in Chicago.

Commenting on his custom blend of styles, Taj has said, “My perspective is cultural and world-based. It’s always been a global perspective. Even in the early days when nobody knew me, they’d go, ‘Well, that album is perfect, but what was that calypso song doing on there? What does that got to do with it?’ I think that the way music is played [in America], it’s terribly narrow cast. I relate to these various traditions that I feel are connected through family, extended family, and influenced by influence.”

As part of “The Year of the Blues,” Taj Mahal will be seen in Martin Scorsese’s film From Mali to Mississippi, which will launch the seven-film series entitled The Blues. This project carries the viewer to the root of the blues in African music, and its journey across the Atlantic to the Mississippi Delta. Performers will include African greats Ali Farka Toure and Salif Keita, and American legends Taj Mahal and Othar Turner.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.