Keith and Carmen Haugen

  Hawaiian music at its purest

For more than 30 years, Keith & Carmen Haugen have been regulars in Waikiki--at some of the finest venues. And for most of that time, they were one of the few all-Hawaiian acts anywhere.

Keith had been performing Hawaiian music since 1959, and was in a solo gig at the Kuhio Hotel when Carmen joined the act in 1975. "It was the best thing that ever happened to my music career," said Keith. "She brought beauty, talent, the hula, her smile and laughter, and that special 'Hawaiian touch.'"
In the years that followed, the husband and wife team performed at the Hawaiian Regent Hotel, the Blaisdell Hotel (with the Sons of Hawai`i), the famous Blue Dolphin Room of the Waikiki Outrigger Hotel, the Hale Koa Hotel and, from 1986 - 2003, as the resident act at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. They now perform at the Pacific Beach Hotel two nights a week.
And they traveled--performing in a variety of countries and venues--but always keeping the prestigious Royal Hawaiian Hotel as they "home."
During those years, Keith & Carmen also performed on the Royal Viking Lines luxury liners and the inter-island SS Independence, at Honolulu Stadium and Aloha Stadium, and in the Honolulu Concert Hall.
Carmen danced in a command performance for the Queen of Thailand at the Royal Palace in Bangkok in the 70s, making her one of the few modern Hawaiians to perform for Royalty. She also served as a High Chiefess in the Aloha Week Royal Court.
The two have done Valentine's Day, Christmas and Grandparents Day concerts and have performed for dozens of schools, churches, senior centers and organizations--many of them non-profit groups that the Haugens volunteer to help.
The Haugens have also performed in Japan, Korea, Guam, Australia, New Zealand, Christmas Island, Canada, England, and Thailand, on all the major Hawaiian Islands and in major cities all over the US Mainland--from Miami and New York to Chicago, Los Angeles and even at the Mall of America in Minneapolis. They've sung at weddings in such places as Iowa, New York City, Vancouver, and they have been featured in radio and television specials in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Japan, Australia, and the US Mainland.
They often use their vacation time and days off from the Royal to travel and perform Hawaiian music and hula outside Honolulu.
Their show--whether at home in the Royal, on another Island, or in some far away country--is a pleasant mixture of old and new Hawaiian songs, in Hawaiian and English.
There is always a lot of beautiful hula, including both old and new songs choreographed by Carmen, who studied hula under the late Kumu Hula Hu`i Park.
Keith is a hakumele, a composer, who has written more than 200 songs, about 75 of them in Hawaiian. About 40 of them have been recorded--some by such well-known artists as Ledward Ka`apana, The Lim Family, Diana Aki, Ohta-san, Pierre Grill, Rhonda, John Rowles, Don Shane, Butch O`Sullivan, Lanakila Rittenband, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, The SugarCane Express, Agnes Kimura, Stephen McDonough, and, of course, Keith & Carmen.
Two of Keith's compositions have been used as Aloha Bowl half-time show themes--"It's Christmas (All Over The World)," which was sung in that show in 1990 by the Love Notes; and "We Still Care," The Pearl Harbor Commemorative Song, which Keith & Carmen performed in 1991. His "Chasing Rainbows" was included in a State Department of Education textbook and was the theme for a Hawaiian Telephone Co. float that won first place in a Kamehameha Day Floral Parade in Honolulu.
Keith has also co-composed with such notables as Jimmy Kaholokula, Larry Kimura, Carol Miguel, Agnes Kimura, Bob Nelson, Leo Marchildon and others. He wrote the first song ever about the "Protea," and among his newest (1998) compositions are songs for the USS Missouri, West Moloka`I, and songs about such things as the ti leaf lei (also the first ever) and drinking `awa. His "I Ka La `Apopo," about the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, won first prize in a 1993 songwriting contest sponsored by the Friends of the Royal Hawaiian Band.
Keith has translated dozens of songs into Hawaiian--including both national and international hit songs in several languages.
Among his better known songs are "The Lei Maker," "Brown Skin Woman," "Close Your Eyes, (Haugen's Lullaby)," "E Hula Mai `Oe," "Maua Pu," "In Your Eyes," "O Ka Wehi `O Kawehi," "Mokupuni Nui," "Crown Flower," "Carmen's Song," "He Makana Mai Ke Ali`i," "Ka Makana O Pauahi," "Ho`omaika`i," "O`ahu," and "The Christmas Prayer."
Carmen plays six-string `ukulele, ipu, and other Hawaiian instruments and dances hula. Keith plays guitar and four-string `ukulele. They take turns singing lead and harmony parts, and he is the storyteller--with a wealth of background about music and Hawaiian songs that comes from decades of both researching and teaching Hawaiian music and language.
Keith taught Hawaiian music courses at the University of Hawai`i for more than ten years and currently teaches music and Hawaiian language at the Star of the Sea School in Wai`alae.
Keith & Carmen have recorded many times--singles and LPs--beginning in 1978.
Currently, their only products in print are "Na Mele Hawai`i Punahele" (Favorite Hawaiian Songs), "`Ukulele Lady" and "Looking Back, a Hawaiian Anthology," both on the Pumehana Records label (Tropical Music); and "Lullaby" and "The Village Where I Went To School," both on the Island Viking label. "Looking Back" includes songs from such earlier out-of-print albums as "Chasing Rainbows," "Lovely Hula Hands," and "Keith & Carmen at the Royal." "The Village Where I Went To School," which was released on the Mainland in 1996, includes many Haugen compositions form earlier singles and extended play singles.
K&C have guested on other labels and may also be heard on releases from Kokua Records and Poki Records.
Carmen also has taught hula (`auana) for many years and has conducted workshops and seminars for solo hula dancers for the Foundation for Pacific Dance and in Japan. She is best known for her choreography of such hits as her Uncle Jimmy Kaholokula's famous "Pua `Olena," which she does as a kneeling hula.
She has been described by reviewers as the "premier" solo hula dancer in Hawai`i and is often described as having " . . . the loveliest of hula hands."
Keith & Carmen are a husband and wife team with a large and wonderful family. They have five adult children--four of them married--and have ten grandchildren, ranging in age from 15 years to less than a year old newcomer. And they have thousands of family members and friends all over the world.
Carmen U`ilani is Hawaiian-Chinese-Filipina-Spanish, born on Maui, and is part of the `Ohana Kauaua, believed to be the largest family in the Islands. She is one of 11 children and her mom, Mary Sarmiento, is still performing--in her 80s. After 27 years in the garment industry, Carmen "retired" as vice president of marketing for a leading garment firm, and is now the office manager for ServiceMaster of Honolulu, a franchise business owned and operated by the couple's eldest son.
Keith is an American-born Norwegian who has been involved in music for all of his life. In high school, he sang in a male quartet, the school's mixed chorus and church choir. While earning his BA in Hawaiian language, music and culture at the University of Hawai`i, he sang in the UH Hawaiian Chorus. He is a school teacher and also has conducted workshops on such topics as Hawaiian language, songwriting, `ukulele.
Keith is often called upon as a resource person in both Hawaiian language and music, and is often published on both subjects. He has also written, produced and hosted award-winning radio and television specials on those subjects and continues to host his own award-winning weekly Hawaiian music radio programs
heard at 3 p.m. Sundays on KIPO, 89.3 FM, Hawai`i Public Radio.".
He started Ke Aolama, the first-ever Hawaiian language radio news cast on KHPR and KKUA, a program that is still heard daily, and such features as "The Hawaiian Word of the Day" which is heard daily on several Island stations.
He wrote, narrated and produced the award-winning "Christmas Time with Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai`i" television special, and such popular radio features as the more than 200 programs in "The History of Hawaiian Music."
Keith is an award-winning record producer, with more than 30 recordings on half a dozen labels. He is often called upon as a Hawaiian consultant on many others--often writing liner notes, translating songs, editing copy and helping other artists and producers to be correct in the use of Hawaiian.

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