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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bevy of Isle, reggae beats from Vaihi, Teomon, mixed CD

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

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Face it: Jawaiian is here to stay, and a recent compilation even has Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom bouncing to the reggae beat, though Fiji dominates the session.

If you've not yet encountered the harmonic artistry of Vaihi, its latest CD proves the group has creativity and originality to spare.

And from Kaua'i comes another album with the flavors of reggae.


  • Genre: Reggae, world music.

  • Distinguishing notes: Several stellar reggae-Jawaiian tracks are hidden in this bundle, which bounces with a life of its own. Fiji is the dominant spirit here, with a set of soul-stirring entries like "Satisfied," "Lonely" and "Till We Grow Old" (with Jeff Rasmussen and Rawsun), plus a moving reworking of "The Lord's Prayer" (redubbed "The Warrior's Prayer"), which has Luther Vandross-like spirit. Gilliom jumps on the reggae wagon with "The Best Thing, Poor Heartache," which easily should be the breakout title. Robi Kahakalau is joined by Irie Love on "To Every King"; Rawsun's "Been Around To Long" combines reggae rhythms, rap and infectious refrains; and B.E.T.'s "Island Girls" reflects the essence of Island rhythms. Lesser-known doesn't necessarily mean lesser quality; Laga Savea's "Take Me Away" and Cherie Yuen's "No More" (with Rawsun) should quickly find fans; and Kaulana Pakele's "With This Ring" has wedding implications for the young and hip.

  • The outlook: Vol. 1? Seems a franchise is in the making.

  • Our take: As reggae roundups go, this one is fresh.

    "With This Ring" by Kaulana Pakele. Audio sample available in mp3 format.


  • Genre: Island rhythms, world music.

  • Distinguishing notes: This one's already a crowd favorite; the title tune, rendered virtually a cappella, demonstrates the free-flowing joy that Vaihi elicits. The 10-title song mix includes a sweet ballad, "Never Letting You Go" (with lead vocal by Zynfia Sakulsinghdusit); "My Smylyn Girl," a lullaby sung by daddy to daughter; "Ain't Nothin' Wrong," a playful journey into making the right moves to woo a wahine; and "Moment by Moment," a tender and romantic ballad. Other cuts provide reassuring evidence that creativity lurks in the ranks.

  • The outlook: With original material, Vaihi continues to show growth and expression that fuel its vision as a leader, not a follower.

  • Our take: Better now than never to discover the virtues of Vaihi.

    "Harmony" by Vaihi. Audio sample available in mp3 format.


  • Genre: Reggae, world music.

  • Distinguishing notes: From Kaua'i comes Teomon and his 15-song sampler of the rhythms of reggae. The red, yellow and green colors of the Rasta flag are depicted on the CD cover and liner graphics, and the flavors and accents of Rastafarian sentiments unreel freely in such titles as "Hold You Tightly," "Life Is a Journey" and "Love is Paradise." In summary: Teomon's got the nuances down pat.

  • The outlook: Teomon could use some radio support to find his groove.

  • Our take: The reggae factor persists, and Teomon sounds as smooth and seasoned as the ol' pros.

    "Island Music" by Teomon. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

    Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com.