Island Mele

By John Berger

Friday, April 30, 1999

‘Valley’ speaks
for Ekolu

Bullet Down in the Valley
Bullet By: Ekolu
Bullet Label: Dinosaur Valley Productions

EKOLU has an anthem in guitarist Lukela Keala's "Down In The Valley." The song blends Jamaican rhythms and local perspectives in strong and spirited style. Ekolu deserves local airplay.

Guitarist Shane Dellomes and bassist George Dela Nux join Keala on vocals. Unlike some other young local bands the guys also do their own studio work instead of having "guest artists" play for them.

"Stuck On You" is the most appalling of several vapid reggae lite remakes, but Ekolu does well with other pop chart material. Smooth harmonies and producer Troy Fernandez' ukulele solo make "Bye Bye Love" a fine salute to the Everly Brothers. Doing Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days Wasted Nights" as more than local-style country lite is commendable. "Let Me Be There" is also well done.

Bullet Visions of Paradise
Bullet By: Gaylord Rieta
Bullet Label: Twilight Hawaii

WAIKIKI veteran Gaylord Rieta debuts with an album evoking the old tourist lounge milieu. The songs are either standards visitors expect to hear or songs they fall in love with during their stay. Rieta sings them with feeling. An original, "Hula Girl," fits in nicely.

Synthetic string effects rarely add to local recordings but are appropriate here since they were heard in many of the albums sold as souvenir over the years by local Waikiki lounge artists. Rieta's informative liner notes complete this fine memento.

Bullet Let Me (Amy's Song)/Fine Dancing Hula La'i)
Bullet By: Don Nahaku
Bullet Label: Nahaku Enterprises/Jus' Write Productions

CAROL Hagiwara asked multi-talented Don Nahaku to do "Let Me (Amy's Song)" as a CD single to promote awareness of organ and tissue donation. Supporters can buy a copy or "sponsor" one as a gift to an organ donor's survivors.

Nahaku donated the second song; he and Mahela Cockett sing it beautifully. Three "minus-one" tracks add nothing to the message, but the overall karaoke instrumental sound suffices for fund-raising projects.

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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