Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, May 15, 2005

Makaha Sons shine in a new compilation of their recent tunes

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

The Makaha Sons put their best foot — well, notes — forward in a recapitulation of their recent past.

An anthology by Filipino and Asian-American artists, including three from Hawai'i, is a tasty sampling of emerging talent.

And Island rhythms still are a primary source of inspiration for a new local group.


Genre: Compilation of Hawaiian and contemporary Hawaiian.

Distinguishing notes: There's no denying that The Makaha Sons — Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, Jerome Koko and John Koko — are among the best who perform, perpetuate and preserve the Hawaiian culture. "Ke Alaula," recorded in 1994, launched a new era for The Sons as a trio. Before that, as The Makaha Sons of Ni'ihau, they had been a foursome with Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

This retrospective shows the breadth of what they do; retaining their cultural past while forging ahead and creating a legacy with their music.

"Punaiki 'Ea," "The Pidgin English Hula" and "Ke Alaula" are among the choice cuts here.

The 15 titles — with a liberal sprinkling of medleys that "up" the total of tunes — are superb. The intent seems to be not just plucking out crowd-pleasers but lining up a roster of songs that adequately illustrate the prowess of the group.

The liner display depicts the five album sources of the selections (in case you want to explore the originals) and the proof of the group's value is in the listening.

The outlook: So what if you already own the original CDs; this collection tidily assembles performances as if the trio is doing a show. And yes, applause in your living-room is OK.

Our take: A must-have, must-cherish CD ... to complete your collection of The Makaha Sons' best.

"Drums of the Islands/Waterfall" by The Makaha Sons. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

"SLOWJAM SESSIONS, VOLUME ONE" by various artists; Rhythm Drive Records

Genre: Anthology of contemporary and pop love songs by Filipino and Asian-American singers.

Distinguishing notes: Local and Mainland acts, of Filipino and Asian heritage, combine energies and resources in a savory collection of romantic tunes.

Jordan Segundo ("So Many Reasons") is the lead voice for local fans, but Tani Lynn Fujimoto ("I Realize") and Forte with Glenn Medeiros ("Nothing's Gonna Change My Love") also likely to get noticed.

And wouldn't it be something if the Medeiros hit sets off another bolt of lightning on the national charts?

Others worth a listen: Harlemm Lee ("When I Need You") was the "Fame" contest winner from a couple of TV seasons ago; Malyssa ("I Love You"), Julissa ("Journey Together") and Lynette David ("Family Years") are distaff delights; J Cabrera ("Girl in My Dreams") represents the guys well.

The outlook: The liner notes, capsulizing the various acts, is helpful; diversity rules.

Our take: The ethnic love song premise is something different; hope those outside the bubble will listen.

"So Many Reasons" by Jordan Segundo. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

"ALOHA" by Second Hand Soul; Neos Productions

Genre: Reggae, island rhythms.

Distinguishing notes: Second Hand Soul is six-member ensemble featuring Al Mira-Fuentes, vocals and guitar; Joanna Agbayani, vocals; Todd Uyehara, drums; Ann Van Natia, bass; Jeff Llacuna, keyboards; and Freeman Ka'apana, 'ukulele.

Its sound is geared for island rhythm radio, which is both its strength and weakness — it's current but not original, secure but not trend-setting.

Still, there's verve and vitality in "Sweet," "I Got You," and "Think About You," with riffs and harmonies — and that insistent dance-oriented tempo — that targets the young and the party-hearty.

The outlook: These soulsters should find their niche in the musical landscape.

Our take: A pleasant debut, by a play-it-safe group.

"I Got You" by Second Hand Soul. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

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