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Island Mele

By John Berger

Friday, October 1, 1999


Fine debut set to
lively reggae beat


Bullet Free The Land: By Lance Kalahiki (Windwave WW7012)

THE title song of Lance Kalahiki's debut album recalls the overthrow of free Hawaii in 1893 and calls on Hawaiians to settle the score. Kalahiki set his anthem to a commercial local reggae beat tailor-made for Hawaii's island music radio stations. This should be a hit wherever Hawaiian patriots gather.

The Jawaiian format continues in catchy songs about surfing ("East Side Rider") and leisure time ("Living In The Islands"). Kalahiki bogs down with the earnest but over-long "Family Time," but gets going again with a song for "local girls" who bleach their hair.

Kalahiki does an OK job rewriting Smokey Robinson's lyrics for a relatively soulful Jawaiian take on "Tracks Of My Tears," but with an original like "Free The Land" there's no need to rehash oldies.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Tracks Of My Tears
Bullet Free The Land
Bullet East Side Rider
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

Pakalekia Publishing, P.O. Box 4300, Mililani, HI 96789



Bullet Makana: by Makana (MOOnROOm MRR001)

MAKANA is a compelling vocalist and perceptive lyricist. His lyrics are Introspective and personal yet often universal. His voice is instantly memorable. Slack key, Celtic, and European-American folk music are among the diverse styles he blends.

Makana worked with more than a dozen artists detailing his arrangements. The extra acoustic textures enhance throughout. "Ei Pili A Nei Au I Kau Aloha" taps his Hawaiian heritage. "Song For Sonny" honors his long-time mentor Sonny Chillingworth. A final song recalls his reaction to his parents' divorce.

The cover art suggesting the cosmic origin of his musical gifts adds another facet to one of 1999's most impressive local debut albums.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Walk Upon The Water
Bullet She's All Alone
Bullet Jacked-Up Slack
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info



Bullet Maika'i No Blues: by Ray Kane and Yuki "Alani" Yamauchi (Respect RES-30)

SLACK-KEY master Ray Kane's new album with Yuki "Alani" Yamauchi presents him as a vocalist. That in itself makes it a landmark release. Kane is well worth hearing in his own right.

Kane has the i'i (vibrato) that defines traditional Hawaiian singing, and the gruff yet soothing quality in his voice fits the blues theme. The final track, "Nanakuli Blues," ties it all together.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Lani Ha'aha'a
Bullet Maika'i Blues
Bullet 'Opae E
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

Respect Records, 201 Fukuda Height, 3-18-29 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 150-0001
Fax: 81-3-3746-2572. Respect Records albums are available domestically at some Hawaii record stores.

See Record Reviews for some 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 Today
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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