Gilliom adds voice to late Pavao's tracks
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
"It's been busy," she said last week during a recording break at a Pukalani, Maui, studio.
Her latest studio endeavor is not her own project but it's kind of a journey down memory lane. In a stroke of genius, she will be united in song, for the very first time on a recording, with the late Dennis Pavao in an album of duets under the aegis of producer Trav Duro Jr. Think Natalie Cole teaming up with her father, Nat "King" Cole, on "Unforgettable."
"I'm working on some tracks, doing something I've always wanted to do with him but unable to till now," she said.
Gilliom is not alone. Several other Islanders are tapped to meld talents with Pavao, including Nedward Ka'apana, Pavao's cousin and brother of Ledward Ka'apana.
Previously unreleased vocal tracks by Pavao (who died in 2002) dating back to the 1980s have been discovered, and are being restored for a new album expected before Christmas.
"It's so easy to sing along with him but it is kind of weird," she said of the technique of creating a modern-day duet after another singer's death.
"I think it all sounds good what is amazing is that when he does his breaks, it sounds like I'm doing the female version of what he's doing," said Gilliom.
"I never recorded with him but did sing with him once in person, with Robert Cazimero, in a Hana Hou show at the Hawai'i Theatre. What's interesting is you can't go in and repair his tracks; one of the songs he did was 'Imi Au Ia 'Oe,' and he had done the chorus but two verses were missing, so when I came in, I could hear he was doing 'ooohs,' so they wanted me to fill in the two verses. Everybody in the studio was crying afterward because our voices matched perfectly."
Gilliom also recorded "Wailana" with Pavao, a song, she found out, that he learned from his auntie, Tina Ka'apana. "From what I know, that's how he learned to sing Hawaiian music," she said.
Recent tours have been more conventional and joyful, she said.
"I was on a West Coast tour for three and a half weeks," she said about her get-up-and-go life. "Before that, I was in Germany, opening for Santana, doing some Hawaiian stuff, some English stuff. When we did ha'e ki'eki'e (falsetto), they went wild."
Come October, Gilliom hits the road again, doing a clutch of gigs from Chicago's House of Blues to venues in New Orleans and as far away as Florida.
"We come home before it gets too cold," she said. "We're home by Christmas."
While completing studio work for the Pavao release, Gilliom also has been juggling duties for her own CD still at the starting gate.
"Willie (Willie K, her former partner in song and in life) and I will be collaborating on all new music," she said. "We're writing songs and hope to get out the new CD by March next year."
There would be future Amy and Willie tours, too, just like old times. Thus, she said, her life is practically back to normal.
"I am a Gemini, but always rearranging furniture, seeking out the colorful," said Gilliom.
It's her "sign," she said, that sends her shuttling from Maui to O'ahu to Moloka'i and back. "Airline fare has become so expensive, so I take the ferry between Moloka'i and Maui," she said. "So beautiful. That's the way to go."
Reach Wayne Harada at 525-8067, firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 525-8055.