Island Mele

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, August 8, 1997

Machado rerelease
a treasure

Hawaiian Song Bird (Hawaiian Legends Vol. 3): Lena Machado (HanaOla)

ROCKY Brown, the Valley Boys and Amy Hanaali'i Gilliom all have Lena Machado songs on their current albums. That makes the recent release of this 17-song anthology especially timely. It opens with the recording of "Na Lei O Hawaii" that marked Machado's debut as a recording artist in 1927. Next come several cuts from a 1935 session. Songs from her final sessions follow that. Producer Harry B. Soria Jr. shares credit with Pi'olani G. Motta for the extensive annotation of Machado's life and times that completes the package; it even has the local street addresses where various events occurred!

"E Ku'u Baby Hot Cha Cha" has been known in recent years as interpreted by the Brothers Cazimero. "Ei Nei" has been recorded by many artists. Hear now Machado's arrangements of her compositions!

"Ho'onanea," "Mai Lohilohi Mai Oe" and "Kauoha Mai" are heard twice -- first as recorded in 1935, then again from the final 1962 sessions. Even allowing for the improvements in studio technology in the interim there are interesting differences.

Translations of Machado's Hawaiian lyrics aren't included, but the liner notes mention some of the kaona. Had HanaOla released only the '62 recordings this would be a great rerelease. With the older recordings too this album belongs in any collection of 20th century Hawaiian music.

At Night We Will Rise: Land of Dreams (Shock Therapy Records)

COMPOSER/performers D Nilly and Shauna are the duo behind this eerie semi-Gothic instrumental production. Enigma's 1991 international hit album, "MCMXC a.D.," is the most obvious point of reference but this is fresh and imaginative within the context of the Hawaii recording industry. Several cuts are prime picks for play in progressive Honolulu dance clubs.

Astute use of synthetic instruments, sound bites, and mixing board techniques creates a series of vaguely ominous vignettes. At times Shauna is featured; at others her voice is just another melodic texture.

Slack Key Praise: Leon Siu and David Kahiapo (Aloha Ke Akua/Haku Mele Productions)

LEON Siu and David Kahiapo honor the Lord with slack key renditions of Christian melodies Some are long-time island favorites such as "Amazing Grace," "Jesu Meke Kanaka Waiwai," "How Great Thou Art" and "Hawai'i Aloha." Others are known primarily in Christian circles. Slack key fans will find the beauty of these recordings transcends sectarianism. Concise annotation adds in the artists' credentials and the significance of each selection.

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 some of John Berger's past reviews.

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