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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 1:46 p.m., Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Keali'i Reichel's 'Kawaipunahele' goes gold

Wayne Harada
Advertiser Staff Writer

Keali'i Reichel's career-making "Kawaipunahele" CD has become the first traditional Hawaiian music album to go gold.

Reichel, a kumu hula, chanter and Hawaiiana expert, received the award — which marks record sales exceeding 500,000 copies — at his Friday Kukahi concert at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theatre. Alaka'i Paleka, KPOA program director, made the presentation on stage.

"We're grateful to the thousands of Hawaiians and Hawai'i music enthusiasts for their love and support," Reichel said in a statement. "As a Hawaiian, I hope that this can serve as an example of what we can achieve when we work hard to bring forward the intelligence and creativity of our kupuna in this modern world. Our goal has always been to bring pride and honor to our people."

Jim Linker, whose Punahele Productions produced the 1994 and subsequent Reichel CDs, recalled the album's "humble beginning ... a recording done partially in studio and partially in a Maui basement with a budget raised by Keali'i's halau baking and selling shortbread cookies."