KOHALA's music - an acoustic blend of island, folk, and jazz - reflects the beauty of the landscape and culture found in the Kohala region on the Big Island where the acoustic guitar trio lives. Lead guitarist and GRAMMY® Award winning producer, Charles Michael Brotman, is a classical guitarist who began playing contemporary jazz after completing graduate studies in music. Rupert Tripp Jr. and Charlie Recaido grew up in Hawaii playing island music with a finger picking style on steel string guitars. The combination of the trio's diverse musical influences creates their own distinct sound.
Charles Brotman has lived in Hawaii since 1976. He grew up on Mercer Island in Washington state and his first introduction to formal music lessons was at age 8 as a violin student. At age 12 he discovered the guitar and in his teens he performed with various bands throughout Washington State. He then studied music at the Cornish Institute in Seattle, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at The Evergreen State College, and received an M.A. degree in music from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he taught classical guitar for several years. Charles is the first recipient of the GRAMMY® Award for Best Hawaiian Music Album, and is internationally recognized for his role as lead guitarist of KOHALA, as a producer and as a composer. He is a multi Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, and in addition to his GRAMMY® award, he was the producer for two GRAMMY® nominated recordings. His music has hit #1 on the Billboard World Music Chart and his guitar recordings have charted in the top 10 on national radio charts. In 2013 he received an engineering credit on Neil Young's GRAMMY®nominated album. Charles works out of his Lava Tracks Recording Studio in Kamuela, Hawaii and is the President of Palm Records.
Charlie Recaido, born and raised in Hawaii, performed and recorded with the group Summer, which toured in the US and Japan in the late 70s with Kalapana. Summer was a headliner at "Toppe Ada Shoppe”, the hotspot in Honolulu in the 70s that spawned the contemporary renaissance of music in Hawaii. Recaido lives in Waimea on the Big Island and works as an independent engineer and producer in between KOHALA tours and recording projects. Recaido was a featured soloist on Hawaii's first GRAMMY® CD.
Rupert Tripp Jr., lives in Hilo where he was raised in a family of entertainers and musicians. Although Kohala s primarily an instrumental trio Rupert shares his beautiful voice on selected songs during Kohala concerts and his wife Adele frequently accommpanies them with hula. Rupert was founder of the band Nalu! Rupert performs weekly in Hilo and his schedule can be found on our 'Live' page.
Awards:GRAMMY® Award (2005): Charles Michael Brotman, Producer's Award, Slack Key Guitar Volume 2 (Palm)
Hawaii Music Festival Producer of the Year Award (2005): Charles Michael Brotman
Na Hoku Hanohano Award (2005): Charles Michael Brotman, Producer, Hula! Big Island Style
Nammy Award Finalist: “Best World Recording”: Back to Kohala (2003)
Na Hoku Hanohano Award Finalist: Cool Breeze (2003), Lullaby (2001), Flying (2000)
Reviews:"These three artists have recorded some of the most beautiful acoustic instrumental tunes I've heard in a few years - this music is fantastic! Kohala are exceptional talents ... " Wind & Wire
"Brotman is certain to have a bright future in contemporary jazz" Contemporary Jazz Review
"KOHALA...Call this exquisite!...The tranquility and delicacy of their arrangements...the interplay between the instruments...merits attentive listening" The Honolulu Star-Bulletin
"...KOHALA, an acoustic guitar trio residing on the Big Island poised to conquer Japan..." Billboard Magazine
"KOHALA...A new ethereal beauty with quiet uncluttered arrangements...The beauty and charms that constitute Hawaii." The Honolulu Advertiser
"One of the most soothing CDs we've heard in a long time is KOHALA..." Honolulu Magazine
"For simply beautiful guitar instrumentals, look no farther than ...KOHALA..." Islands Magazine