Island Mele


POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2009

”;Kupu A'e”;

The De Lima Ohana

; Kelly “;Kelly Boy”; De Lima opens a new chapter in his musical career with the first album recorded by all five members of the De Lima family: Kelly Boy; his wife, Leilani; and their children, Kapena, Kalena and Lilo. Each member of the ohana contributes as vocalists; he and the kids are the musicians.

Although Kelly Boy can be accurately described as a “;father”; of Jawaiian music, thanks to his work as the leader of the group Kapena in the '80s and '90s, this music is Hawaiian and old-style hapa-haole. He kicks things off as the featured performer on a zesty arrangement of “;Nani Waimea,”; while Kapena distinguishes himself as the lead voice on “;Wahine Hololio”; and Kalena captures our attention on “;Aia I Ka La'i.”;

Kelly Boy and Leilani make “;The Hawaiian Wedding Song”; their personal valentine. She returns for an exquisite rendition of “;Pa'au'au Waltz”; that features Aaron Sala (piano), Diane Rubio (cello) and Steve Jones (acoustic bass).

The use of synth-track “;strings”; under all the live instruments is either the musical signature of the De Lima ohana or an ill-advised use of annoying sonic filler, in places where it would be better to let the notes breathe. Sounds like the latter to me.

;» ”;Nani Waimea”;
;» ”;Wahine Hololio”;
;» ”;Pa'au'au Waltz”;

”;I'll Remember You”;

Danny Couch
(Danny Couch Records)

; Danny Couch first worked with Don Ho in 1981 when Ho and the Aliis reunited for an engagement at the International Market Place. Aliis founding member Al Akana retired on opening night, and introduced Couch as his replacement as the group's drummer.

Ho shared his knowledge with Couch in the years that followed, and Couch pays homage to his longtime mentor and friend with this album. With one exception, every song was popularized by Ho and the original Aliis at Duke Kahanamoku's in the mid-60s. “;Suck 'em Up,”; “;Lover's Prayer”; and the title track are several.

Couch shares credit with co-producer/keyboardist Pierre Grill for the instrumental arrangements and most of the instrumentation; Anela Kahiamoe (guitar) and Bryan Tolentino (ukulele) are the other members of the studio band.

Couch has always been a powerful pop balladeer at heart, and it is the ballads that stand out most vividly; in particular, “;Days of My Life,”; “;She's Gone Again”; and “;I'll Remember You.”; Some of the others are relics of a bygone era, fine as material for inebriated late-night sing-alongs at Duke's in the mid-60s, but a bit antiquated taken out of that context in 2009.

On the other hand, no one nailed “;Nightlife”; like Ho and the Aliis in 1965, but Couch succeeds in making it his as well.


;» ”;Maka Hilahila”;
;» ”;Ain't No Big Thing”;
;» ”;I'll Remember You”;

”;Fertile Sound”;

Ill Valley

; Ill Valley follows up on its 2007 debut with a fresh collection of contemporary hapa-haole originals performed by what is in essence a new group.

A duo in 2007, Ill Valley is now a quintet with vocalist Hoku Haiku backed by musicians Matt V (drums), Willy Dogg (bass), J Hawk (guitar) and B Ridge (keyboards). The musicians give Haiku a solid organic foundation that positions Ill at the intersection of several progressive musical genres.

The group brings hapa-haole traditions forward with songs that combine island themes and contemporary mainstream American music. References to women who collect Hawaiian bracelets, to something “;blowin' up like Kilauea,”; and going cruising in a truck with “;two brindles and a red nose pit (bull)”; capture images of modern Hawaii perfectly.

The influence of at least two major artists also percolates through the project. “;Pitchin On Da Block”; is a kissing cousin to Snoop Dogg's “;Drop It Like It's Hot,”; while the title track has instrumental hooks reminiscent of Tupak's “;California Love.”;


;» ”;Pitchin' On Da Block”;
;» ”;Finally”;
;» ”;Fertile Sound”;