Some things take time, something we don’t always have enough of. I first connected with Rob Butler, the man behind Be With Records, in October 2014. He sent me a friendly email and mentioned plans to visit Hawaii in mid-2015.
Rob and I both do the same kind of thing: run a record label that focuses on reissuing out-of-print classics and obscure deserving-to-be-classics.
Except Rob’s way out in London (or, from his perspective, I’m way out here in Honolulu), so the only way we could meet in person is to wait until he makes a trip to Hawaii or I hop across two ponds to England.
Two months after we linked up, Rob shared some amazing news: Be With Records would be officially reissuing Nohelani Cypriano’s 1979 debut LP for the first-time ever on vinyl.
“I know you’ll have an OG and that Lihue has just had a 7″ release but I think there’s enough people around the world that need to own a lovely legit copy of the whole LP!” Rob wrote to me a few days before the new year.
I was stoked! In recent years, Hawaiian funk and soul music has received more and more attention in the global reissue market, namely:
• Americana: Rock Your Soul series, compiled by Mark Taylor and Zaf Chowdhry for BBE in London.
• Hal Bradbury’s This is Love solo album, also on BBE in London.
• Athens Of The North 7-inch release of “Lihue”, thanks to Euan Fryer in Scotland.
• AOR Global Sounds compilation out this September, compiled by Charles Maurice on the Favorite Recordings label in Paris.
• …and likely a few others I’m forgetting at the moment
Seeing that the music of so many local artists has been making waves around the world in recent times, I was very excited to work with Rob on a collaborative reissue of Nohelani’s timeless debut.
Riding high on the crest of the global love for Hawaiian ‘Island Funk’, Be With Records team up with Aloha Got Soul to present a timely vinyl reissue of Nohelani Cypriano’s Nohelani. Sure to be one of the year’s essential reissues, the album’s irresistible blend of tropical-tinted soul, funk and rare groove sounds every bit as fresh today as it would’ve in 1979…
A record to surrender to in full rather than consume in pieces, it pivots around centrepiece ‘Island Boy’. A record of many colours, the LP is at once spaced-out boogie and sweet soul. The legendary ‘Lihue’ is worth the entry fee alone. A gloriously carefree showcase of a uniquely Hawaiian musical hybrid, this reissue provides a vital reminder of just how beautiful and important Nohelani is.
— Be With Records, 2015
When the news arrived in December 2014, Rob and I started to brainstorm whether to include updated liner notes and vintage photographs to accompany the reissue. As time progressed, we ended up deciding it would be best to re-release the LP in its original form with a few tweaks: updated label, pressed to 180g vinyl, and mastered by Simon Francis (known for his work with Claremont 56).
We then turned our focus to planning two release parties to celebrate this special collaboration.
August 7th, 2015 marked the official release date when the Nohelani reissue hit stores worldwide. Later that evening in London, Rob and Aloha Got Soul’s UK counterpart Cedric Bardawil held a successful release party at Brilliant Corners (recording coming soon!).
September 3rd, 2015 will mark the official Honolulu release party. Rob is flying all the way from London to enjoy R&R in Hawaii with family. While he’s here, we’ll be throwing a special event at Bevy to celebrate (see poster below for details).
And finally, Rob asked me to do a vinyl-only mix featuring some of my favorite Nohelani tracks. This was back in May when the idea hatched.
Some things take longer than expected. It’s finally available now:
We asked Roger @alohagotsoul to do a mix of records which interweave some of Nohelani Cypriano’s many highlights with some typically esoteric Hawaiian gems.
In doing so, he placed the Nohelani LP in a uniquely personal context. It’s a really great mix and will no doubt brighten up your Tuesday.
— Be With Records, August 11, 2015