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Noted Maui kumu Charles Kaupu dies

    Charles Kaupu chants for dancers on the Old Lahaina Luau float at the the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2002. Top: Charles Kaupu Second Row, Left to Right: Sarah Kakugawa; Laureen Seabury; Mahiehie Pokipala -- all from Maui Photograph by: J. Anthony Martinez 2002 NOVEMBER 28

Maui kumu Charles K. Kaupu Jr., a chant teacher and performer, died early this morning, friends said.

He was 53.

Alakai Paleka, KPOA 93.5 program director and disk jockey, said she was told the Kaupu died early this morning on Maui.

She described Kaupu as “a true Hawaiian master chanter” and “very charismatic.”

Maui FM radio station KPOA 93.5, where he worked in the late 1980s and ’90s as a program director and on-air personality, paid tribute this morning to Kaupu, who was known as “Bushman” to his listeners.

 Kaupu was a founding member of the annual Celebration of the Arts Festival in Kapalua.

He traveled with the musical duo Hapa, and was recently featured alongside musicians Raiatea Helm and Keola Beamer at the 34th Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards show.

Paleka said that Kaupu also traveled extensively in Japan.

Kaupu was a 1975 graduate of Kamehameha Schools.

He was married.

Funeral services are pending.

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