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Maui Community Mourns Loss of Kumu Charles Kaupu Jr.

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By Wendy Osher

Charles K. Kaupu Jr. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Many on Maui are mourning the loss of Charles K. Kaupu Jr., after close friends confirmed his passing.

A radio tribute was made to his ‘ohana this morning on KPOA 93.5 FM, where he worked in the late 1980s and 90s as a Program Director and on-air personality.  While at the station, he was known over the airwaves as the “Bushman,” a fitting tribute to his trademark over-sized lei po’o that he wore proudly on many an occasion.

Kaupu was a kumu, chant teacher and performer, who worked most recently at the Old Lahaina Lu’au.  He also 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.

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On Maui, Kaupu was a founding member of the annual Celebration of the Arts Festival in Kapalua, where he led some of the ceremonial aspects of the event.

Kaupu was a 1975 graduate of Kamehameha Schools.

Those close to him embraced his humor, depth of knowledge, and perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture.

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He was 53.

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