"Give and Take"
Kim Char Meredith
Meredith's performance, when she opened for Melissa Etheridge last summer at the Blaisdell Arena, was perhaps the best concert pairing of the year. While she is not an Etheridge clone or copycat, Meredith does write and sing with similar passion, and fans of Etheridge can expect to find her worth a listen.
By herself, Meredith is your basic acoustic guitar-playing solo troubadour, but she goes for a bigger sound here by sharing producer-arranger credits with Roni "H-Diggler" Yurong and the Hobo House guys. The group effort is a success throughout. The arrangements add breadth and depth without forcing her into a "one size fits all" sound.
She describes the highs and lows of relationships with keen lyric images. "Take Me on the Road," in particular, simmers with a palpable sexual undercurrent, while "Fly" offers support to victims of domestic abuse.
"Hi'ipoi I Ka 'Aina Aloha"
Aunty Edith Kanaka'ole
Edith Kanaka'ole made a major contribution of our knowledge of traditional Hawaiian music when she recorded two Hoku Award-winning albums for Hula Records in the late '70s. This one, the second of the two, won in 1980 and is a welcome CD re-release.
The recordings allow us to hear Hawaiian spoken and sung by a native speaker born in the early years of the last century and raised by kupuna who, in turn, shared their cultural knowledge of the 19th century. Many selections open with a brief account of what the song is about, and the liner notes include the text and translation of her comments, along with the lyrics.
Newly additional annotation by label president "Flip" McDiarmid and Kekuhi Kanahele complete this perfect album, a must-have for any complete Hawaiian music collection.
The Pandanus Club
The original Pandanus Club came out of nowhere to win three Hoku Awards in 1990. The lineup changed in the years that followed, but founding member Kenneth Makuakane said it was all part of the concept. Whether he or any other former members are heard on this album is an open question, however: While Makuakane is listed as the producer, no one else is identified. There are no composers' credits, song lyrics or information listed at all about the songs. The lack of such basic information on a Hawaiian album in 2003 makes this an embarrassment to the local record industry.
That's not to say, however, that people won't enjoy this uncredited music. They're some good musicians here -- whoever they are. The interplay between voices and instruments maintains the Club's tradition, and the acoustic arrangements are pleasant, but anyone wanting to learn more about Hawaiian music should skip this maladroit project.
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 email@example.com.