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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 3, 2003

Flanagan's latest evokes tranquility without words

 •  Singer/songwriter Barry Flanagan releases solo CD
Audio samples from "Instrumental Peace":
 • "Olinda Road" (mp3 or RealAudio)
 • "Rodeo Drive, Makawao" (mp3 or RealAudio)
 • "Paniolo 'Ona Slack Key" (mp3 or RealAudio)

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

In his first CD since the break-up of the seminal group Hapa, guitarist Barry Flanagan has a lot to say, and he lets his fingers do the talking.

"Instrumental Peace"
by Barry Flanagan
(Finn Records)

The instrumental disc has a calming effect, setting off alternating moods of upcountry friskiness with introspective self-discovery.

Aside from a chant by Charles Ka'upu on the title song, the disc expresses a lot of soul without benefit of words. It is a credit to Flanagan that he communicates without lyrics.

"Kyoto," a collaboration with R. Carlos Nakai, is particularly peaceful in spirit and execution, with a brooding, lingering dance of thought and reflection. Similarly, the title song, which Flanagan wrote with Gaylord Holomalia, exudes serenity and tranquility.

The genre remains adult contemporary music, with a measure of contemporary Hawaiian.

The CD clearly distinguishes Hawai'i — well, Maui — as a place of honor and recollection.

Several tracks ("Olinda Road," "Rodeo Drive, Makawao" and "Paniolo 'Ona Slack Key") are Flanagan originals that depict the easygoing casualness of life on the Valley Island, where he lives.

"Trini Kaopuiki Aloha" is a revision of an earlier-recorded composition that pays homage to Jimmy Kaopuiki, Trini's late father, who inspired Flanagan to traipse down the Hawaiian trail. His jazz roots are reflected on an Earl Klugh tune, "April Love," and he imparts a warm, romantic touch on Joe Satriani's little ditty, "Always With Me, Always With You."

The lyric-less format may thwart fans who love vocals and could diminish radio airplay. Nonetheless, Flanagan manages to put forth a communicative parade of songs that reflect his creativity and his joy of life in the Islands. You can imagine the cheer, the romance, the solitude and the camaraderie despite the lack of words. Perhaps this ability to "talk story" is one of the unexpected pleasures of his journey.