Island Mele


POSTED: Thursday, April 23, 2009


(One Hawaii)

; Until relatively recently most local pop artists didn't have the talent, material or production values to make it outside Hawaii. Even here, often as not, if a local pop artist got play on a mainstream radio station in Honolulu, it was probably because someone at their record label had a major “;in”; with a power broker there.

Anuhea Jenkins is the latest local pop artist who doesn't need “;connections”; to get airplay or reach the national pop charts. She sounds like several successful young pop divas—and that's a good thing. Her sound—smoky, introspective vocals and smooth R&B rhythms predominate—is already proven pop material.

Equally important, Anuhea is a witty and insightful writer. Her command of catchy phrasing and vivid lyric images puts familiar but ever-popular subjects (unfaithful boyfriends, unrequited love, the challenge of breaking the rules and pursuing a man) in fresh perspective.

“;Slow Down”; describes the situation of being a 19-year old “;queen in the making”; and fighting the frustration that comes with limitations. “;Fly,”; softer and sweeter than the others, is an inspirational message of hope.

And then there's “;Barista by Day.”; Think of it as the equivalent of “;Private Dancer”; for coffee servers, and you'll never look at them the same way again.

Anuhea Website

;» ”;The Shadow Of Your Smile”;
;» ”;Ku'u Pua I Paoakalani”;
;» ”;If”;



; Erving “;Kona”; Chang opens this collection of original music with “;Hold On,”; a song perfect for these troubled times. In it he approaches the subject of surviving bad times on several levels. His most memorable observation is that there are times when “;we trust the people who come back to bite us.”; That is so true, whether he is referring to duplicitous lovers or to Bernard Madoff and the financial con men who crashed Wall Street.

Chang explains in the liner notes that the title grew out of his love for acoustic music that takes “;you back to life's good times.”; He plays almost all the instruments except for percussion, and with a skill that results in a album that is a commercial-grade release rather than a singer-songwriter's demo.

Imaginative lyrics percolate through the collection. A phrase that sounds at first like a compliment turns out to be a come-on for a booty call, while an insult, “;You can take your face and throw it away,”; leads to a muted appeal for reconciliation.

Clean, well-written instrumental arrangements are the other half of Chang's musical calling card.


;» ”;He Mele Lei No Namakaalohakawena”;
;» ”;I'll Never Find Another You”;
;» ”;On The Shores Of Waikiki”;

”;Kai Palaoa”;

Various Artists
(Daniel Ho Creations)

; Jack Johnson's Kokua Hawai'i Foundation and the educational programs of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary are the beneficiaries of this beautifully packaged fundraiser anthology.

Producer Daniel Ho included a song from this year's Grammy Award-winning Hawaiian album, “;'Ikena,”; and several others by Herb Ohta Jr., Kawaikapuokalani Hewett and George Kahumoku Jr. Johnson contributes one of his, “;Better Together,”; and the Kaukahi ohana is represented by a recording by the group, “;E Ola Pono,”; and a solo number by Kawika Kahiapo. Songs by the Makaha Sons, Pali and Steve Sano complete the project.

The album is a comprehensive cross section of modern Hawaiian music, with male and female vocalists and lyrics in English and Hawaiian. Hewett's song demonstrates the importance of the piano in Hawaiian music, while Ohta's duet with Ho brings the ukulele into the picture as well.

Johnson's contribution, a whimsical yet deep love song, should give the album legs outside Hawaiian-music circles.


Visit hilife.starbulletin.com for an exclusive interview with Daniel Ho about “;Kai Palaoa”; and his most recent Grammy Awards win.


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;» ”;Shenandoah”;
;» ”;When Johnny Comes Marching Home”;
;» ”;Perdido”;