Posted on: Sunday, October 29, 2006
Trio of compilations showcases old, new
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
Three compilation CDs to consider:
"MEA MAKAMAE (HAWAIIAN TREASURES)" BY VARIOUS ARTISTS; POKI RECORDS
Genre: Traditional Hawaiian music.
Distinguishing notes: This is a polished, potent 15-song overview of the power of Hawaiian poetry and performance. Songs such as Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Kana'i Aupuni," 'Ale'a's "Hula O Makee," Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett's "Ola I Ka Poi," and Cyril Pahinui's " 'Ahulili" are wonderful specimens of language, voices and instrumentation, linking the past with the present. Ki ho'alu, falsetto and harmonies reflect the vast canvas our artists embrace. Each song gets a description, an image of the album it originally appeared on and awards where applicable. Kata Maduli produced all sessions, so there's uniformity of vision. And executive producer Lea A. Uehara's high standards shine through on cover, engineering and liner notes.
Our take: A compilation doesn't get any better than this.
"ALOHA FROM PARADISE " BY VARIOUS ARTISTS; ALOHA JOE PRODUCTIONS
Genre: World music.
Aloha Joe (alohajoe.com) has been an online booster of Island music for a couple of decades. He corrals a second 12-pack of Hawaiian songs here, giving new life to some forgotten gems. He brings back some true oldies such as "It's Aloha Friday, No Work 'Til Monday," the end-of-the-week hit by Kimo Kahoana and Paul Natto, Danny Couch's love letter "Hawai'i, My Paradise," and a Makaha Sons take on "Blue Hawai'i". More recent snippets are provided by 'Ale'a ("Take Me Home"), Brittni Paiva ("Dreaming of Hawai'i") and Hapa ("Haleakala"), among others.
Our take: This will appeal to a broad spectrum of fans; could have scavenger-hunt appeal.
"HAWAI'I " BY VARIOUS ARTISTS; M&H HAWAI'I
Genre: World music.
Distinguishing notes: This assembly of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music features legendary vocalists and exceptional instrumentalists who double as arrangers. It's an ambitious and extensive collection. But the CD lacks liner factoids that would have added to the pleasure: like, when were these cuts done? That said, it's a pleasure to hear Joe Recca deliver "Follow Me" and "South Sea Island Music," Buddy Fo chirping and playing conga on "To Make You Love Me Ku'uipo," Mary Ann Lim adding her sweetness to "Ka Makani Ka'ili Aloha," Nina Keali'iwahamana galvanizing "Kipahulu," Danny Otholt doing a slightly jazz-flavored "I'll Weave a Lei of Stars for You," and Cathy Foy belting out "Pa'au'au Waltz."
Folks as varied as Noel Okimoto, Bruce Hamada, Herb Ohta Jr., Charles Recaido, and Elmer "Sonny" Lim are among the musicians.
Our take: The cover graphics of a surfer girl doesn't reflect the Hawaiian contents. It's a worthy effort that falls a tad short.
Reach Wayne Harada at email@example.com.