Record Reviews

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, August 23, 1996

Slack-key style travels to Japan

Hawai'i Aloha By Yuki "Alani" Yamauchi (Respect), CD

Slack-key a Japanese treasure.

AN international interest in Hawaiian music is seen in "Hawai'i Aloha" by Japanese slack-key guitarist Yuki Yamauchi. He discovered slack-key some years ago and studied here before starting to record, in hope of increasing Japanese appreciation of Hawaiian culture.

Raymond Kane and Ozzie Kotani sit in on several songs on the disc, but Yamauchi is very much a player in his own right.

Two songs of special note are originals. "Da Kine Slack Key" is an instrumental that fits in smoothly with the island standards that comprise the majority of the selections. "Takaramono" (treasures) shares his feelings for the music in Japanese.

Yamauchi has produced a solid effort here; the album is not a novelty or curiosity.

The Path By Peter Moon (Kanikapila), CD

THIS modest but beautiful collection of instrumentals sums up the diversity of Peter Moon's musical interests while also marking a return to his musical roots. Exquisite simplicity and understated virtuosity are the common denominators.

Dwight Kanae joins Moon on ukulele and guitar. Eddie Palama (steel) and Freddy Von Paraz (percussion) complete the band. File this one under "Romantic." It's a delight for lovers and Moon fans alike!

Ka Pilina By Teresa Bright and Kawaikapu Hewett (Generation Music), CD

IF released without liner notes, "Ka Pilina" would have seemed an odd grafting of projects by two distinctly different talents into a single album.

Kumu hula Kawaikapu Hewett tells of the experiences of Pele and other ancient figures. Bright sings an assortment of Hawaiian-language songs that capture the familiar beauty of her voice while avoiding the synthetic add-ons that have detracted from some of her earlier work.

But a 14-page booklet makes it clear to malihini and non-speaking residents that this is a beautiful family portrait.

The title - translated as "Relationships that stem from the past. Our linage" - reveals the significance of the everything within. Bright and Hewett are cousins; his narratives and her choice of songs reflect that shared heritage, the contributions of their kupuna, and the cousins' commitment to preserving and carrying forward that legacy.

Few local albums this year can accurately be described as perfect - this is one of them.

John Berger, who has covered the local entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Home Zone section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

See Record Reviews for John Berger's past reviews.

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