Island Mele
Friday, May 25, 2001

By John Berger


"Jungle Juice"

Jungle Juice -- Onipa'a (ORCD 002)

The six members of Jungle Juice represent Hawaii, Saipan and American Samoa. The combination is a promising and fertile one. The guys have the commercial Jawaiian sound down but play it with a harder and more assertive edge than most of the acts getting local play these days. And if that's not cause enough to welcome them, every song is an original!

The group takes a step beyond conventional Jawaiian and local reggae with "Jungle Juice & Gin." There's a definite punk-rock attitude going on in the arrangement, the lyric messages and the bluntness of the language the group uses. "Jungle Juice & Gin" immediately distinguishes Jungle Juice from the competition.

There's another song here, "One Vibe," that'll make a great concert anthem. It has everything -- good rhythm, positive message, a natural sing-along refrain. This is the song that should be one of this year's big Jawaiian hits.

Add straightforward songs about marijuana, love and women, and "Jungle Juice" is powerful stuff for Jawaiian fans.

MP3 Audio Clips:
Bullet One Vibe
Bullet Jungle Juice & Gin
Bullet It's My Bush
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info


"El Leo the Jarican Express"

El Leo the Jarican Express -- Turtle Rock Music (TRM 101)

Puerto Rican music arrived here a century ago. The rural jibaro folk music of the early contract workers became known as "katchi katchi" and is now more popular here than with Puerto Ricans in the Caribbean or New York. El Leo the Jarican Express is one local Puerto Rican band that is firmly rooted in the jibaro tradition but also embraces other styles of music.

The familiar jibaro instrumentation is reinforced with modern Caribbean percussion instruments. Other styles are heard as guitarist Russell Ruderman adds ki ho'alu on "Na Pua Noni."

The group also does a fine job interpreting "The Sound of Silence" as a Latin-flavored instrumental.

Fans of "katchi katchi" will find plenty of great dance tunes. "Yours" is one of several romantic selections featuring vocalist Jeannie Bargas. "Amor" and "Banana" are two other appealing cuts, although just about everything is good listening.

The group adds some comedy with a cross-cultural hybrid titled "La Borinque Rap."


MP3 Audio Clips:
Bullet Amor
Bullet Banana
Bullet Sounds of Silence
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info


"Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941"

Various accounts -- Hula (CDP-24)

Hula Records originally released this album on cassette in 1976 as a handy souvenir of a visit to the Arizona Memorial. It has been a popular memento and steady seller ever since. With the current upsurge of interest in Pearl Harbor, and the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack coming up this December, producer Donald P. "Flip" McDiarmid III has issued this remastered version in modern compact disc format.

The narration includes all the basic information about events during the attack. The narrator's account is embellished by eyewitness accounts from USS Arizona survivors and several other military and civilian personnel. The program also includes the key sound bite from President Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech, remarks made by President Gerald Ford during a visit to Hawaii in 1976, and a partial roll call of the 1,177 men who remain entombed aboard the USS Arizona.

Classic U.S. Navy photos of the destruction add an important visual component to the effort.


MP3 Audio Clips:
Bullet War!
Bullet USS Nevada
Bullet Day of Infamy
Quicktime | RealPlayer | 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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