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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 13, 2002

Pair of duos' debut CDs are delights

From left: Acoustic Soul "Chapter One" and Pali's self-titled album.

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

A pair of duos make their debut with impressive CDs — clean sound, masterful packaging, stirring performances — with far-reaching appeal. And guess what? No warmed-up Jawaiian here; perhaps one cut on each disc have that reggae rumbling.

Fresh approach

"Chapter One"

  • Label: Afterthought Entertainment AE 10104
  • Artists: Acoustic Soul, composed of Mike K. Okouchi and Robb T. Shibayama, aka Dr. Robb.
  • Genre: Adult contemporary, world music.
  • Distinguishing notes: Impressive vocals and instrumentation; Shibayama is lead vocalist and guitarist, Okouchi plays a mean 'ukulele and also sings.
  • The outlook: Aside from "Careless Whisper," this album is crammed with fresh material; Shibayama and Okouchi wrote all but two of the tunes. "Gypsy 'Ukulele" is catchy and eloquent, in the tradition of Jake Shimabukuro.
  • Our take: These guys have "it." Producers are Jason Lent of DisGuyz and his songwriting partner, elan, with kokua from the folks at Hobo House on the Hill. If you loved Pure Heart, you'll like Acoustic Soul.
  • Footnote: Release day is Tuesday.

• • •

Sweet presence


  • Label: P&K Records PPR 17254.
  • Artists: Pali — Kevin Kashiwai and Pali T.W. Ka'aihue.
  • Genre: Adult contemporary, Hawaiian, world music.
  • Distinguishing notes: A sweetly accomplished sound, rich in harmony, significant for the acoustic approach. Kashiwai plays rhythm guitar, Ka'aihue lead guitar, 'ukulele and bass guitar; both sing and collaborate on music, in English and Hawaiian.
  • The outlook: A splendid mix of original mele (nine) with quiet ballads such as "For You" (crammed with romantic allusions) and "Ku'u Aloha" (the latter in Hawaiian, natural for discovery by hula stylists) and beach-side jams such as "Tropical Island Day." A few instrumentals showcase a gentle ki ho'alu skill, too. Even the "covers" have vigor, polish and new appeal.
  • Our take: Pali is the Olomana for the 21st century; remember the first time you heard Jerry Santos and Robert Beaumont trade vocal and instrumental licks, with scintillating results? Pali has that kind of presence.
  • Footnote: Release date is May 7.
"Save a Place" by Pali. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.