Island Mele

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, February 19, 1999

Kamakahi showcases
family, tradition

'Ohana: Dennis Kamakahi (Dancing Cat)

DENNIS Kamakahi has evolved from youthful traditionalist star to revered black leather-clad man of slack key. The title of his second album for Dancing Cat refers to another type of evolution. His son, David, plays ukulele on several tracks.

Dennis Kamakahi embodies a soothing traditionalist style throughout. "Pua Hone" is one of his early songs that is now a local standard. "Around The World" is a non-Hawaiian tune deftly reworked with a romantic late Monarchy ambiance. A 12-page liner notes booklet shares the significance of each song and Kamakahi's place in the slack key pantheon. "'Ohana" is a perfect introduction to slack key.

Chucky boy Chock Presents Leinani: Leinani (Dream Tech Productions)

LEINANI is a vocal group, but Chucky Boy Chock is the talent behind this album of Christian music. He wrote and arranged all the songs, did most of the vocals, and played most of the instruments. Gabe Ornellas (bass), John Leonard Loo ("keyboards and more keyboards"), Malani Bilyeu, Roland Cazimero, and some kids helped out.

Chock has some good ideas. "Who's Love? God's Love!" is a swinging modern gospel gem. "March For Jesus" had a catchy cross-cultural reggae rock sound. Eliminating the vapid sonic filler underlying some of the other songs would improve them.

Monday Night Live!: Potato Cannon (Pacific Monograph Music)

POTATO Cannon made the most of a visit to KTUH-FM, where playing in the studio gives a band air play and a live recording. Garage band rock doesn't get much air play in Hawaii, and the band had a good night.

James Hicks and Star-Bulletin staffers Mark Coleman and Burl Burlingame are the band's writers. Coleman's topic of choice in recent years has been the aftermath of a wretched personal relationship. Hicks is a traditional bluesman. Burlingame's tongue-in-cheek irreverence is exemplified by "Betty Rubble" and his fantasy of going Homo erectus with the character.

Coleman's "Wounded Man" is the basis for an extended band jam. Burlingame's "Furry Butt" closes the set in proper garage band style. The fact that he's singing about a dog doesn't diminish the attitude.

See Record Reviews for some of John Berger's past reviews.
See Aloha Worldwide for locals living away.

John Berger, who has covered the local
entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings
produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Home Zone
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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