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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 23, 2003

Kapena, Freesound release new CDs

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

The accent's on contemporary sounds this week — a techno-pop sampling from Kapena, long-time favorite on the local front; a roots-reggae serving from Freesound, a band relocating back here after a period on the Mainland; and a pop-country-religious package from Shauna Chanda, a Denver transplant who now calls Hawai'i home.

• • •

"Won't Stop Now" by Kapena (KDE Records).
  • Genre: Contemporary Hawaiian, adult contemporary.
  • Distinguishing notes: Kapena has been a pioneering island-style band specializing in contemporary sounds often reggae-tinged. Led by Kelly Boy DeLima, the group has evolved from a trio to a five-member ensemble now featuring DeLima's son Kapena, plus Timo Tatofi, Eddie Teo and Kainoa Delo. DeLima's ability to make anything he touches his own is much in evidence here on powerhouse tunes such as "Sing To Me Hawai'i" and "You Poured Sugar on Me" and remakes such as Leo Akana's "Island Love" and Irmgard Aluli's "E Maliu Mai" (coupled with "Hawaiian Love Call"). The title tune is an excursion into techno-pop — lend an ear.
  • The outlook: Kapena has weathered all kinds of musical trends and — and it won't stop now. One example of the flickering flame: "Cool It Now," with Kapena (the son) singing lead with rap midway through the tune.
  • Our take: This is typical Kapena — dependable, entertaining, appealing, satisfying.

"Sing to Me Hawai'i" by Kapena. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

• • •

"Roots Is ..." by Freesound (Off the Gourd Records).
  • Genre: Roots reggae, rock, soul.
  • Distinguishing notes: After 1 1/2 years away from Hawai'i, Freesound, a foursome of Kaiser High grads, is back with a vengeance. Keith Batlin, Adam Crowe, Mike Loveless and Tavana McMoore perform a gamut of rock styles, some with psychedelic undercurrents ("Shine on Me"), others with a reggae punch ("One Bright Day"), even a smidgen of Led Zeppelin ("Evil Moon"). The tunes are more mood-setters than sing-alongs; that is to say, the group is able to impart a feeling of being transported to another time and place in the rock realm.
  • The outlook: The band has a take-notice sound
  • Our take: Freesound is cultivating a niche in the island club scene

"Shine on Me" by Freesound. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

• • •

"Shauna" by Shauna Chanda (Angel Dance).
  • Genre: Pop-alt rock, country, religious.
  • Distinguishing notes: Shauna Chanda, formerly of Denver, appeared in the weekend Plus One concerts at the Hawai'i Theatre. This CD is a snapshot of her pop-alt rock sound, which has a contemporary edge and urgency. "All We Need Is Time" and "Only Believe" are particularly expressive. And yes, a tasty new take on "Jesus Loves Me," combining country soul with religious undercurrent, is a comforting fit in her hands. The song of note, however, might be "Dancin' With Angels," which she composed as a tribute to her late husband who died in an accident. Her passion and her message reflect universal pain and sorrow but are hinged on hope and faith — the obvious essence of life.
  • The outlook: Still a newcomer in these parts, Chanda needs to seek gigs to gain valuable support and exposure.
  • Our take: Chanda's a welcome addition to the island music scene.

"All We Need Is Time" by Shauna Chanda. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

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