Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, September 14, 2003

Hawaiian, reggae CDs keep mood upbeat

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Hawaiian and reggae ... a typical mix of sounds this week.

"PARADISE" by Kawika Regidor; Neos Productions.

Genre: Contemporary Hawaiian, Island rhythms.

Distinguishing notes: Regidor is a Maui native with one previous CD. He is a composer, singer, Tahitian dancer and musician, so clearly he's an all-around marvel. His 11 originals (a few with collaborators) include a cheerful and engaging "Want To Know You," which crisply showcases his sweet tones. In fact, a feel-good, party-hearty mood prevails in just about everything he embraces, including "Poor Boy From Maui," "Take Your Clothes Off," "Luv Luv," "Feel So Good" and "Deeper in Lover." O-shen shows up on periodic raps, and a very personal "Aloha No Kawika," is a heartfelt homage to his son.

Further, a revival of the traditional "Na Ka Pueo" and a cover of Gregory Isaacs' "My Only Love" demonstrate his ability to put his own spin on someone else's tune.

The outlook: A sophomore effort that should put Regidor right up there among the best of the best.

Our take: Paradise lost? Not if you stick with Regidor.

"Want To Know You" by Kawika Regidor. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

"COME AND SEE ... HAWAI'I" by Na Kama; Makani Records.

Genre: Traditional and contemporary Hawaiian.

Distinguishing notes: Na Kama is Brian Mersberg (vocals, 12-string guitar) and Eric Lee (vocals, 6-string guitar, 'ukulele, bass). The duo serves a zesty, refreshing glimpse of many facets of Island life, singing love songs, place songs and theme songs. The "Honolulu Medley" combines "Honolulu I Am Back Again," "Swingtime in Honolulu" and "Honolulu How Do You Do," a tuneful postcard of this city. Flower tunes are natural for hula enthusiasts, including "Ku'u Lei Pikake," a Lee co-composition with Ken Makuakane, and "Ku'u Pua Lehua," another Lee original. There's a delightful "Hapa Haole Hula Medley," stringing together "My Hapa Haole Hula Girl," "My Little Hula Girl Has Gone" and "Hula Lolo." Mersberg's composing skills are depicted on "Kehaulani." A distinguished roster of guest artists provide support, including John Koko of The Makaha Sons on bass, Casey Olsen on steel guitar, Kit Ebersbach on keyboards and Nancy Masaki on cello. There's ven the keiki of Kamehameha Schools' Children's Chorus.

The outlook: A gamut of wonderful sound pictures of the Islands.

Our take: Sounds like a natural for the Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau to adopt — what better come-on than a bounty of music?

"Honolulu Medley" by Na Kama. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

"THE CIRCLE" by Natural Vibrations; Natural Vibrations Records.

Genre: Reggae and Jawaiian.

Distinguishing notes: A vibrant and energy-packed contribution from the party-hearty band, who've gigged with the best — with Carlos Santana, Maxi Priest, UB40, Jimmy Cliff, Reggae on the River, Monterey Reggae Festival. Voices and instruments blend and bounce in happy syncopation, with an all-original slate of tunes composed by the band. The group — Shane, Stacy, Peni, Kayton, Jehua and Wayne — have a chemistry that is unparalleled, evoking impromptu fan response. Sizzlers include "Hopin' and Prayin'," "Hot Like Fire," "Time Stands Still" and "It Don't Come Easy."

The outlook: Good vibrations, from start to finish.

Our take: For reggae, it doesn't get any better.

"Hopin' and Prayin'" by Natural Vibrations. Audio sample available in mp3 and RealAudio formats.

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