Surrounded by weathered ukuleles, a haunting steel guitar, and the lush, cinematic weight of The Brno Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), singers Danica Dora and Josh Kaler set off towards an uncharted archipelago on Hula Hi-Fiʼs debut, “The Isle of Forgotten Dreams”. The record takes the best elements of Hawaiian music and baptizes them in a moonlit tidal pool of strings, electronics, and songwriting unafraid to chart the dark underbelly of the human heart. They call it ‘Hawaiian Noirʼ, an intimate sound full of longing and melancholy. The record took three years to make, and only came to exist thanks to a few people just crazy enough to try making it.
As a multi-instrumentalist and producer in Nashville, Josh Kaler had spent the better part of a decade helping other artists make their dream records. While working with everyone from Frances Cone and Jump, Little Children to Matthew Perryman Jones, he was also toiling away at a personal love: Hawaiian music and specifically the lap steel guitar. In 2014 he met singer-songwriter Danica Dora when co-producing her EP ‘Together in Spaceʼ.
Between other projects the two slowly started chipping away at this burgeoning hobby, sketching out the songs that would become the backbone of ‘The Isle of Forgotten Dreamsʼ. When it became clear the project deserved more, they took their labor of love to the most obvious place for a Hawaiian concept album: the Czech Republic.
The world-renowned Brno Philharmonic Orchestra recorded their parts in 2019 and a process that had begun years ago was finally complete. Due for release in early 2020, ‘The Isle of Forgotten Dreamsʼ is an epic opening statement from an act that somehow mines the mystery of exotic locales to explore the uncharted emotions that lie sunken within each of us. They ached for a thing just out of reach… and grasped it.
Hula Hi-Fi plays a variety of Kala instruments, including the White Archtop and Solid Mahogany U•BASS.