Island Mele


POSTED: Friday, January 30, 2009

”;Uke 'N' Surf 1”;

John Valentine
(Studio Valentine)

; Multitalented John Valentine has enjoyed consistent success as a musician, singer and recording artist for more than two decades. The Love Notes were an a capella “;do wop”; vocal group when Valentine was recruited in the late-80s; he not only added his voice to the mix but also introduced the use of pre-recorded backing tracks in their shows. The group morphed into a show band and got some national exposure as the backing group for “;the world's youngest Elvis.”;

  Valentine survived the eventual demise of the Love Notes' show and continued to work on his own. His latest solo project is another well-crafted collection of multitracked recordings that display his talents as musician and engineer.

Ukulele and guitar are the featured instruments for this collection of original melodies. One or the other takes the lead, while percussion enhances the sense of energy, action and movement. The songs titles all tie into the “;surf”; theme of the album—“;Clean Tube Ride”; and “;Laid Back Re-Entry”;—but Valentine's light and airy arrangements would be equally at home as the soundtrack to a film about competitive sailing, windsurfing or snow boarding.

They also provide the right mix of tempos for jogging, a brisk walk, or aerobics!

Valentine slows the pace a bit a few songs in and mixes things up thereafter. Even the most aggressive surfers occasionally take a breather!



;» “Clean Tube Ride”
;» “Barreling”
;» “Takin’ Off”

”;Contemporary Ukulele Instrumental”;

Kalei Gamiao
(Kalei G Productions)

; Kalei Gamiao joins the ranks of Hawaii's young ukulele stars with his aptly titled debut album. Gamiao shares producer's duties with local record industry veteran Aaron Kimura and gets solid support from some of Hawaii's top pop and jazz talents as his studio band: Gabe Baltazar, Michael Grande and Robert Shinoda among them.

Balance and focus are always a challenge when a soloist plays with a group behind him. Gamiao and Kimura sidestep the potential problem of the soloist being overshadowed by including several solo performances. “;Shore Break,”; one of six originals, is the first solo cut, and it demonstrates that Gamiao is fully capable of working alone. “;Kiss From A Rose,”; the Seal hit also performed solo, shows that he is also an imaginative arranger.

“;If”; and “;Theme From 'Ice Castles' (Looking Through The Eyes Of Love)”; are also notable examples of his ability to reinterpret familiar melodies.

Gamiao adds an important component to his debut by including information about the things that inspired him as a composer and his reasons for recording the others.


-no contact information-

;» “Flow”
;» “Shorebreak”
;» “Theme from ‘Ice Castles’ (Looking Through The Eyes Of Love)”

”;He Mele Aloha;

Jennifer Perri
(Lele Music Productions)

;Jennifer Perri first achieved fame as a child in the '90s when she won the Oceanic “;Kiddieoke-Plus”; talent contest, co-hosted an Oceanic variety show and then became a local recording artist. Her career since then has taken place almost entirely outside Hawaii—in New York, and primarily in Japan—but she now returns all grown up, and a mother as well, with an album that celebrates both her local roots and her international pop music horizons.

Perri opens soft and sweet with three hapa-haole numbers, and returns to the genre later with “;Pua 'Olena.”; All four neatly position her as a promising local pop singer (Herb Ohta Jr. leads the all-star team of studio musicians who give the songs their essential Hawaiian ambiance).

Steel guitarist Casey Olsen is the key when Perri combines hapa-haole and mainstream pop for a romantic remake of “;Yesterday Once More.”;

“;Baby Love,”; one of three originals, stands out as a paean to her daughter that seems certain to be embraced by loving parents everywhere.

Perri comes full circle with “;Seasons of Love,”; her favorite song from “;Rent,”; which she first recorded as her debut single in 1999.



;» “In Your Hawaiian Way”
;» “Yesterday Once More”
;» “Seasons Of Love”

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