Island Mele

By John Berger

Friday, March 21, 2003



"Won't Stop Now"


Kapena's first studio album since the retirement of founding member Tiva Tatofi is noteworthy as the official introduction of the new lineup: Founding members Kelly De Lima (lead vocals/ukulele) and Timo Tatofi (guitar), veteran drummer Eddie Teo, De Lima's son, Kapena "Pena Bu" on keyboards and new recruit Kainoa "The Crip-Dogg" DeLo on bass.

The predominate sound is Jawaiian -- which is not surprising, since the original trio were pioneers of said musical movement. Some unidentified vocalist affects a Jamaican accent on a couple of songs but, other than that, the group plays it straight.

A punchy remake of "Island Love" makes the best use of De Lima's distinctive voice and ukulele picking, and a beautiful arrangement of "E Maliu Mai," sung by De Lima and his wife Leolani, shows that the band is also in touch with its Hawaiian roots.

"Do You Feel The Same Way I Do" uses an uncredited interpolation of "Sleep Walk," but is the strongest Jawaiian song on the album.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Island Love
Bullet E Maliu Mai
Bullet Do You Feel The Same Way I Do
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info



"Roots Is ... "

Regent Music

Imagine a band whose original repertoire suggests the legacy of Cream, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Metallica, Vanilla Fudge, and the basic classic rock sound in general -- but also plays straight reggae, never sounding like it's directly copying riffs or melodies. That's the music of Freesound, and "Roots Is ... " is clearly intended for people with equally eclectic tastes.

The quartet opens with a somnolent number, "Up We Go," followed up by the screaming rocker, "Black Rider," a song that suggests the dual influences of J.R.R. Tolkien and Aerosmith. The third song, "One Bright Day" (not the Ziggy Marley number of the same name), has a smooth reggae groove with a positive Rastafarian message -- and, yes, these guys understand what real "roots music" is, too. Hopefully, there are people out there with musical horizons as broad as theirs to embrace this album.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Up We Go
Bullet Black Rider
Bullet One Bright Day
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info




Melveen Leed

Lehua Records was one of the major local labels of the 1970s, and Melveen Leed one of its brightest stars. Lehua honcho Charles "Bud" Dant shrewdly marketed her as personifying a new, so-called "Hawaiian Country" sound.

Leed's talent and charisma did the rest. Local music writers of the time made much of the fact that Leed performed in Nashville and that some of her material was recorded there. (Ironically, another local girl, Sheila Tilton, was signed by a national country music label in Con Brio and hit the Billboard Country Singles chart at about that same time).

This album, which is also known as "The Hawaiian Country Girl," is now out on CD and contains Leed's signature hits "Morning Dew (Alone Once More)" and "Walk Through Paradise (Kanaka Wai Wai)." Having those songs on CD is probably reason enough to buy it, even through Lehua provides no new annotation on her accomplishments since 1976 (for instance, this album won Leed her first three Hoku Awards back in 1978).

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Morning Dew (Alone Once More)
Bullet Princess Pupule
Bullet Walk Through Paradise (Kanaka Wai Wai)
Quicktime | RealPlayer | MPEG-3 info

See Record Reviews for some past reviews.

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. Contact John Berger at

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