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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 21, 2002

Daniel Ho establishes himself as true vocalist

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

It's showtime for two recording acts. One's a well-known instrumentalist-composer, taking on a vocal posture; the other's a new fivesome, finding its niche in the Jawaiian genre.

Between the two, good vibrations prevail, whether for romancing or carousing.

Playing and singing
"Coolest Drop of Rain"

  • Artist: Daniel Ho.
  • Label: Daniel Ho Creations, DHS 89302.
  • Genre: Island jazz, adult contemporary.
  • Distinguishing notes: Known largely for his dexterity on guitar and 'ukulele, Ho now turns in his first all-vocals album. He's Mr. Do-It-All here, crooning, guitar, uke, drums, bass. Ho gets support from Dean Taba and Randy Drake, his partners in his "other" life as a Kilauea group member. And yes, he wrote all tracks. What's more, Ho introduces Skyler Blues — Siena Lee and Denise Tajiri — who do some back-up vocals.
  • The outlook: There's quite a bit to explore and embrace; the title song, like other soulful ballads, projects a warm sizzle, with multiple-voice tracking that reflects savvy production skills. "Suncatcher" is another bright spot, brilliantly showcasing Ho's instrumental and arranging talents. Think James Taylor meets Al Jarreau meets Audy Kimura in a quiet island paradise.
  • Our take: It's destination stardom for Ho, who establishes himself as a valid romantic singer here.
"Suncatcher" by Daniel Ho. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

Uprising to occasion
"Rise Up"

  • Artist: Uprising (Andrew Kaeo, Apela Hokoana, Cade Santos, Malia Reynon, Shea Saffery).
  • Label: Poi Pounder Records, PPR 7009.
  • Genre: Island rhythm, Jawaiian.
  • Distinguishing notes: A big plus for Uprising is the fact that it writes a good portion of its music, capturing elements of island life while spiking its sound with hypnotic Jamaican rhythms. Santos' "The One for Me" and "Don't Let Me Go" are charmers; Hokoana's "Mr. Jawaiian," "Cast All My Troubles" and "No Woman in the World" should establish his career. Two lead voices (Reynon and Hokoana) provide ample variety, and the covers (Peter Tosh's "Ketchy Shubby," Bob Marley's "One Draw") still enable Uprising to impart local flavors. Also special: "Too Much," a collaboration (with Reynon doing lead vocals) of girlfriend-boyfriend Reynon and Kaeo.
  • The outlook: With production scrutiny by Sean Na'auao, a success in this genre, Uprising is in good hands.
  • Our take: Easy-on-the-ears Jawaiian, adhering to the genre without being monotonous, yet still hearty for partying.
"The One for Me" by Uprising. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.