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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, October 5, 2003

Munchies come with Makaha Sons' music

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Sam Choy's luau cookbook comes packaged with music by the Makaha Sons, who often perform on his TV cooking show.

EugeneTanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

A logical book-and-CD combo, fusing recipes of Sam Choy with musical appetizers by the Makaha Sons, tops the October releases. You can't buy one without the other, but the package deal is a gem.

An instrumental disc, highlighting steel guitar, and an urban hip-hop entry are among entries that merit attention.

"A Hawaiian Lu'au with the Makaha sons" by the Makaha Sons; Poki Records

• Genre: Contemporary Hawaiian, traditional Hawaiian, hapa-haole.

Distinguishing notes: This CD, assembling 12 classic tunes from Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, Jerome Koko and John Koko, is part of a book-and-disc venture. The book is "A Hawaiian Lu'au with Sam Choy and the Makaha Sons" (Mutual Publishing), an extension of the chef's KHNL-8 TV show, on which the Sons regularly perform. The idea is that while you prepare your kau kau or make pupu, you'll listen to the happy syncopation provided by the dependable gents. Or play it at your next Hawaiian bash. The tracks are familiar: "Pidgin English Hula," "Hu'i E," "Blue Hawai'i," "Keep Your Eyes on the Hands," "Lahainaluna," "Kuhihewa."

Outlook: A clever and natural pairing of the chef and his recipes with the trio. There's a lot cooking here — food for the tummy, fuel for the ears.

Our take: An ono recipe collection for foodies, a tuneful compilation for music buffs; both the book and the CD will bring hours of fascination, adventure and feasting — whenever the inclination hits. Details: www.mutualpublishing.com.

"Evening in the Islands, vol. 1" by the Essential Resophonics; MoonRoom Records

• Genre: Traditional Hawaiian instrumentals.

• Distinguishing notes: Performed in the old-fashioned acoustic style, with subtle steel guitar and tranquil 'ukulele and guitar, this one's an oddity that evokes another time, another place. No doubt, Essential founder Buck Giles (who plays the steel guitar here) is on to something, transporting the listener to pre-World War II, pre-statehood, simpler times in Hawai'i. "Sophisticated Hula" has the oomph that "Na Lei O Hawai'i" lacks, and the fare includes non-Hawaiian tunes such as "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Mood Indigo." A deliberate unflashy stroll down memory lane.

• Outlook: The performances may be a tad too low-key for most modern music buffs; but the disc plays like a time capsule discovery, with almost mythic implications of a lost generation of sound. As such, it's a wonderful mood-evoking discovery.

• Our take: One that resonates with quiet appeal.

"Na Lei O Hawai'i" by Charles E. King. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

"What they say" by Mr. Tripp; Way Out West Enterprises

• Genre: Urban island; hip-hop flavor.

• Distinguishing notes: Mr. Tripp has roots with Rush Pack (Sudden Rush), moving from the background to front-and-center. He's one of the hipsters of the moment, offering a taut line-up of tunes ("The Way We Go" and "What They Say" are steadfast entries) and the presence of other rappers (Sudden Rush, Dynomite, Detron, Aziel, B.E.T., Red Eye) provides variety and appeal. He was on the Mainland (must've picked up the beat and the savvy there) after living on the Big Island; now he's on O'ahu and waiting for the nod of approval.

• Outlook: A prime candidate for promotion and commotion outside of Hawai'i.

• Our take: A Tripp worth taking.

"What They Say" (featuring Sudden Rush) by Mr. Tripp. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

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