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Island Mele
Friday, January 14, 2000

By John Berger


Ka‘u’s ‘Sand’ tracks
range of genres


Bullet Footprints in the Sand:
by Ka'u (Ninole)

KA'U benefits from the one-two punch of vocalist Demetrius "Big D" Oliveira and musician-writer Greg Foxx. Oliveira has a soulfulness reminiscent of Martin Pahinui or Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Foxx is imaginative and versatile. The combination is perfect for Hawaii's "island music" radio stations.

Several songs combine commercial reggae-rock rhythms with memorable lyric images. Four or five could easily become local hits. "Kai Nalu" and "Strange Fruit" top the list; the first celebrates the joy of surfing, the other is an ambiguous love song.

Ka'u explores other topics with equal impact. "Cut it Loose" addresses social issues. The title track proclaims their faith in Christ. "Lost in the '50s/In the Still of the Night" interpolates a classic to good effect while other cuts show Ka'u likes country music too.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Kai Nalu
Bullet Strange Fruit
Bullet Footprints In The Sand
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info




Bullet Hawaii Coconut Hits:
by various artists (Bluewater)

THE songs most likely to make this anthology of interest are from the vinyl era: Iva Kinimaka's beautiful "He Aloha Mele"; "Sweet Okole" and "Mr. Sun Cho Lee" by Keola & Kapono Beamer; and "Blame it on the Night," featuring Hal Bradbury as lead vocalist of the original Fabulous Krush.

Most of the other songs are recent. Some were local hits. Others, definitely not. Robert Kekaula's "Ukupau" and the late Mackey Feary's "I Remember You" add some value to the package.

Bluewater anthologies have been notorious for lacking annotation. The notes here are incomplete but the best ever from Bluewater in providing basic information on the contents.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Blame It On The Night The Fabulous Krush
Bullet Sweet Okole Keola & Kapono Beamer
Bullet He Aloha Mele Iva Kinimaka
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info



Bullet The Love Within:
by Bob Albanese (Tropi Cool Jazz)

BOB Albanese marshalled some of Hawaii's top jazz talents behind his keyboards on this collection of songs he wrote or arranged.

Rachel Gonzales (vocals) makes "Request From Table 86" an instant stand-out. The interplay between Albanese and his guests makes several of the instrumentals notable.

Albanese isn't a regular vocalist but the fanciful "Senor Bear" suits him.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet A Request From Table 86
Bullet Joe Beam/Elegy
Bullet Señor Bear
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info


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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