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San Clemente Journal

Hawaiian Vocalist Paula Fuga Making Music from the Heart

Feb 01, 2008 04:05PM ● By Don Kindred

by Ariana Crisafulli

Listening to the song Lilikoi, by Paula Fuga, I was visited by millions of goosebumps on my flesh. For me, goosebumps always indicate that I have just heard a piece of amazing music. Although she is a native Hawaiian, her music is not what you would call typical Hawaiian ukulele music. Rather, it is very soulful, heartfelt, a bit bluesy, and most of all, completely unique.|

Each song has captured and then transported me to another place, and each place is completely different. In the song “Country Road”, which she recorded with Jack Johnson, I am actually on that country road praying that the people in the head-on collision will be alright. In the song, “Sweet Reverie” I am on a moonlit balcony with the man of my dreams and I am totally in love. What I gather from Paula Fuga is that she is an absolute believer in love. And not just the love of a man or a woman but love of people as a whole and the world in general. 

Paula is a genuine nature girl. She takes time to just sit under the trees in her hometown of Waimanalo on the island of O’ahu and create things from nature. One of her favorite pastimes is to collect Lauhala leaves which are good for weaving. It is easy to see that she enjoys the simple things in life. She describes herself as “regular,” and tells of her love of drinking water. What could be more natural and simple than that?

Paula Fuga is a native Hawaiian and has lived there her entire life. She explains that there is nowhere she would rather be, and seeing the beauty of it from her eyes I can understand why. She is serious about sticking to her roots which she does by singing many of her songs in the native Hawaiian language. 

Paula enjoys touring and being able to share her music with people while seeing new places, although she jokes that the backseat drivers bother her and not having her own kitchen is an inconvenience as well. At this point in her life, she says, she feels she needs to be sharing her music with as many people as she can. Of course, she loves playing local shows as well but notes that she would “feel like a big fish in a little bowl” if she stayed home and kept her music to herself and those lucky enough to be there to hear it. 

Inspiration for Paula’s music comes from everything around her. Being true to herself, her music just comes naturally. In her own words, “I just opened my heart and my mouth and let the sound come out!”

I suppose it could be said that Paula’s songs are a collection of her memories and her life. When writing a song she says she pulls experiences from times that have moved her deep in her soul. “I just try to remember to stay in the moment and enjoy the things happening around me because after all they only happen once and you can never go back and live it over again,” says Paula when talking about what inspires her lyrics.

Paula Fuga will be playing at the Coach House on the 20th of July for a benefit for XLP. The benefit is for Kingston, a boy who died of a fatal disease at only two years of age. His younger brother is also afflicted with the disease.

What I found most interesting about Paula is that she tries to say what is in her heart and not what’s on her mind. In our society, we are taught the exact opposite. Very few are honest and speak from their hearts. Everyone is always bumbling around spewing out whatever junk surfaces in their minds. It’s refreshing to know that there are still real people out there.

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