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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, October 27, 2002

New band brings Heart and Soul to their music

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

A hot new foursome with a feel-good sound evocative of the defunct Pure Heart could find its way into the hearts of Islanders. A music industry veteran turns on his piano artistry, interpreting cherished memory-makers in a soothing style. A compilation of 20 hot ones is perfect for that 'round-the-island cruise.

• • •

"A Lot of Love" by Heart and Soul (Neos Productions).

  • Genre: World music, island rhythms.
  • Distinguishing notes: If you loved Pure Heart, you'll savor the bright, enthusiastic, lively sounds — and yes, with 'ukulele front-and-center — of Heart and Soul, a foursome worth watching. The group features twins Gary (guitar) and Garrett (bass) Sevellino, James Locquiao ('ukulele) and Sam Pablo (vocals). While they "cover" "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Heart and Soul" (from which they derived the group name and rendered as a playful 'uke solo), H&S are hot and sizzling with a round of powerhouse originals: "Hele Down to Hawai'i Nei," "Confused," "Summertime," "The Greatest Gift." It's hard to resist the infectious in-your-face joy they project.
  • The outlook: Great effort by a neophyte band, which shares what's in its heart, rather than what is marketable for local radio. Jawaiian fans need look elsewhere — but that's good news for this sounds-happy, feels-good combo.
  • Our take: With radio support and concert exposure, Heart and Soul could easily find its way into the hearts and souls of island audiences.
"Can't Help Falling In Love" by Heart and Soul. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

• • •

"Pua Lilia" by Pierre Grill (Rendez-Vous Records).

  • Genre: Contemporary Hawaiian; piano instrumentals.
  • Distinguishing notes: If you check your liner credits of LPs, cassettes and CDs of the past, you're likely to see Pierre Grill's name as a producer or an engineer. The Frenchman (from Marseilles) is sort of a kama'aina these days, having been here for 22 years, and now operates a studio in Manoa Valley. This long-overdue debut CD reflects his ability to acknowledge and upgrade a favored melody and memory from the past, via his intimate keyboard approach, which gives a classical, nostalgic, reverence to whatever he touches: "Ku'uipo I Ka He'e Pue One," "You, Ku'uipo," "Waimanalo Blues," "'Akaka Falls," "Wahine 'Ilikea," "Kalama'ula," "Hi'ilawe." The Luna String Quartet from Punahou School joins in on "Hawai'i Aloha."
  • The outlook: Even without lyrics, there's abundant "poetry" to Grill's nostalgic canvas; his interpretations easily evoke images of a special place, a cherished moment, an indelible milestone in life.
  • Our take: Grill thrills — in his inimitable music-box manner. Could he evolve into Hawai'i's Jim Brickman?
"Waimanalo Blues" by Pierre Grill. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

• • •

"A Place Called Hawai'i" by various artists (HanaOla Records).

  • Genre: Anthology of 20 island songs, reflecting current and past recording acts performing a spectrum of local sounds.
  • Distinguishing notes: This is the perfect CD to slip into your car player to go cruisin' — with nearly 70 minutes of tunes, you'll reach your destination with music to spare. It's a virtual grab bag of goodies — Jon and Randy ("Hawaiian Soul"), The Ali'is ("Maka Hilahila"), Nohelani Cypriano ("You Are So Beautiful"), Imua ("Live Aloha"), Moe Keale ("Aloha Is"), Country Comfort ("Waimanalo Blues"), the Makaha Sons ("I'll Remember You?"), Henry Kapono, Melveen Leed and Keali'i Reichel ("Home in the Islands"), Barry Flanagan ("Olinda Road"), Herb Ohta Jr. ("Sophisticated Hula"), Nathan Aweau ("A Place Called Hawai'i").
  • The outlook: As assembled by Aloha Joe (www.alohajoe.com), this compilation pulsates with adoration of island music.
  • Our take: Great collection of fond memories, great introduction to isle music for a Mainland visitor to tuck into the suitcase.
"Olinda Road" by Barry Flanagan. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com, 525-8067 or by faxing 525-8055.