By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor
||Audio sample of "Moloka'i Slide" by George Kahumoku Jr. in mp3 or RealAudio format. RealAudio requires a plug-in.
"HAWAIIAN LOVE SONGS: N Mele Hooniponipo Hawai'i," by George Kahumoku Jr., Dancing Cat Records, 08022-38050-2
George Kahumoku Jr. has become a mover and shaker in Hawaiian music, from traditional to contemporary, from religious to romantic, from instrumental to vocals.
His second solo CD is highly expressive and surprisingly innovative. Kahumoku is one of the most soulful interpreters of repertory songs and his originals do what a tune should: transport you to a specific time and place to capture a particular mood and thought.
The opening instrumental of "The Queens Prayer," the Queen Lili'uokalani composition, is really not a romantic rendering but a vividly powerful one, and eventually wins you over. Think of a matriarch facing a doubtful future at a pivotal time of cultural and social change - and consider the wizardry of Kahumoku's ki ho'alu fingers reinventing this classic.
The rest of the album is a lot more romantic, demonstrated on such vocals as "E Ho'i I Ka Pili" and "E Maliu Mai" and such instrumentals as "N 'Oli" and "Nklele."
With folks like Diana Aki on vocals and 'ukulele ("Keiki Mahine"), Norton Buffalo on harmonica ("Lei Pkake"), Bob Brozman on acoustic steel guitar ("Moloka'i Slide"), the disc has been liberally blessed with stardust. Terrific!
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