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POSTED: Friday, June 26, 2009

'Peace at Heart'

Fawwaz Jubran
(Peace at Heart)

; Singer-songwriter Fawwaz Jubran describes his debut album as “;my gift to my family and the world.”; Jubran's prayer that we may all have “;peace at heart”; is a sentiment that can be embraced by everyone. His album, a collection of earnest, heartfelt originals performed in English and Arabic, will be of greatest interest to family and friends but is nonetheless an impressive achievement.

Two tunes—“;Hula Girl”; and “;On the Golden Sands of Kailua”;—may well be the first hapa-haole songs written by an Arab-American. If so, they are welcome additions to the genre as they demonstrate the timelessness of the ever-popular images of a beautiful hula dancer, a romantic beach and the magic of Hawaii.

www.PeaceAtHeart.com

;» ”;Not a Stranger”;
;» ”;Hula Girl”;
;» ”;In the Magic of Your Eyes”;


'Someone Like You'

Misaki
(Mistralwind)

; Misaki Kawachi builds on the artistic success of her self-titled debut album and displays her growth and maturity as a vocalist in the process.

She did “;Misaki”; when she was 14; three years later she's a high school graduate off to college on the mainland and already an appealing pop vocalist. Artistic continuity is provided by her production team—Rosyln Catracchia and David Kauahikaua. Catracchia and Kauahikaua have worked together on many projects over the years, and they serve her well here.

The arrangements are clean mainstream pop with piano and other keyboards the dominant instruments. Catracchia has been a prolific song writer over the years, but the songs here are by other writers. Several are contemporary Christian compositions that convey sectarian themes in relatively oblique terms; some express emotions that could be directed to God and/or Jesus Christ—but equally well to a human lover.

Others seen more decidedly secular. “;Someone Like You”; and “;Journey To The Past”; express in articulate style the experience of anticipating love for the first time. The lyrics of “;One Day (Misaki's Song),”; the one Misaki wrote for the project, hint that she already has.

A beautifully illustrated liner notes booklet completes Kawaichi's perfect, Hoku Award-worthy album.

www.misakikawachi.com

;» ”;Every Season”;
;» ”;Journey To The Past”;
;» ”;Hope Is Born Again”;


'Ultimate Vibes: The Best of Natural Vibrations'

Natural Vibrations
(Natural Vibes)

; Natural Vibrations has enjoyed consistent success over the years as local disciples of Jamaican music. Three of their five albums were Hoku Award-winners—Best Reggae Album in 1999, 2004 and 2008—and it's only fair to note that their first album, “;Balls Rolling,”; was released before the category was created.

Their new anthology contains 15 songs; there are also two newly recorded tracks—“;Shawty”; and “;Man Down”;—that should generate lots of download sales to tech-smart 'Vibes fans who already have all the other songs. Older selections remind us that the groups is also into Rastafari political issues (”;Freedom Fighter”;), local lifestyles (”;Okana Road”;) and marijuana (”;Green Harvest”;).

The 'Vibes owe Smokey Robinson at least a “;thank you”;—if not royalties as well—for the “;People say I'm the life of the party”; riff on “;Into Me.”; That faux pas aside, this is a good sampler of their work to date for people who like the group but didn't buy the previous CDs. It's been more than 10 years and “;Balls Rolling,”; the title song of their first album, still holds up well.

However, this would be a stronger package if there was a little information on the group's history and the things that make these songs their “;best”; work.

www.naturalvibrations.com

;» ”;Shawty”;
;» ”;Natural Vibrations”;
;» ”;So Nice”;