Hawaii music industry mourns death of award-winning engineer Milan Bertosa

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The Hawaii music industry is mourning the death of icon Milan Bertosa.

He died on New Years Day of a heart attack. He was 61.

Bertosa was a four-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner in Engineering and contributed to the recordings of many famous local artists.

Bertosa is best known for working with Israel Kamakawiwo’ole on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World.” During a midnight session at Milan’s studio, bruddah Iz recorded “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “White Sandy Beach of Hawaii” in one take.

Yugoslavia-born Bertosa grew up in Chicago and worked on projects across the world. He settled in Hawaii in 1988 and has credits on over 700 albums and thousands of singles and live shows. He’s remembered for his work to preserve and promote traditional and contemporary island music.

According to a news release of his death, Bertosa “co-opened Audio Resources Hawai’i. Starting off as a small recording studio in the Century Center building near Waikīkī, they soon opened a second location on Young Street, in the same space where Herb Ono’s revered “Sounds of Hawai’i” studios once operated. Milan later served nine years as the chief studio engineer for Mountain Apple Company before pursuing a freelance career.”

Bertosa is survived by his wife, Maya, and his studio cats.

A Celebration of Life fundraising concert to honor Bertosa will be held on March 12 at Hawaiian Brian’s in Honolulu.

Friends also set up a GO FUND ME page to help with medical and funeral expenses.

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