Song salutes emperor


POSTED: Friday, July 10, 2009

'He Pa'ipunahele no Tenno Heika'

Keith Haugen
(Island Viking)

; Indefatigable island songwriter Keith Haugen adds several “;firsts”; to his list of accomplishments with this CD single that commemorates an upcoming visit by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. Haugen sings while Pierre Grill creates most of the instrumental effects on keyboards.

In a second version, Kaha'i Topolinski renders the lyrics as traditional Hawaiian chant with additional noh-style vocals and taiko drumming by Kenny Endo. The project also includes an instrumental rendition of the Japanese national anthem, “;Kimi-ga-Yo,”; arranged for shakuhachi flute and brass.

Haugen says this is the first Hawaiian song written to honor the emperor of Japan, the first Hawaiian chant to honor the emperor and the first recording to combine chant with taiko drumming and noh vocals.

The tracks are available free to the first 10,000 people who visit www.hawaiiansong.com.

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;» ”;Kimi-ga-Yo”;
;» ”;He Pa‘ipunahele no Tenno Heika – chant”;
;» ”;He Pa‘ipunahele no Tenno Heika – sung”;

'Lovely Sapphire of the Tropics'

Jeff Teves Quartet

; From the moment steel guitarist Jeff Au Hoy sets the mood playing the opening bars of the title song, there is never a question that this an album Hawaiian traditionalists have been waiting for.

Jeff Teves and his quartet pay homage to the music of his mother's generation—yes, he is the son of Ethelynne Teves—and they do a beautiful job at it. Teves and Au Hoy share credit for the old-style hapa haole arrangements; Au Hoy is also the group's pianist.

“;Hinano”; is a fine example of his light touch on the keys, “;Kaulana 'o Waimanalo”; provides another chance to appreciate his work as a steel player.

Traditionalists will also appreciate the smooth vocal arrangements. Teves, the lead voice of the ensemble, is joined by two partners from years past, Henry Barrett and Duane “;Tote”; Conching, as well as several “;younger generation”; artists: Au Hoy, Aina Asing and Brandon and Keoni Souza.

The harmonies are exquisite; Iwalani Kahalewai adds a female voice to a beautiful rendition of Irmgard Farden Aluli's “;Pledge of Love.”; Teves and the guys also do great work with their arrangements of classics by Maddy Lam, Alice Namakelua and Mary Kawena Pukui.

Teves is not a new face on the Hawaiian music scene, but this album should make him a “;name”; artist—and quite possibly make the group a Hoku Award winner as well.


;» ”;Lovely Sapphire of the Tropics”;
;» ”;Kaukana Ke Kuahiwi A’o Haleakala”;
;» ”;Dance The Hula In The Sea”;

'The Deadbeats'

The Deadbeats
(The Deadbeats)

; Anyone can be a recording artist these days. Buy the right software, make some music and put it up on your MySpace page—you're a recording artist!

Doing it the old-fashioned way, as the Deadbeats have done with their debut album, is a much bigger commitment. Suffice it to say that two years of club gigs and some hard-earned studio time has made the quintet worth hearing for several reasons.

First, there's the music, a progressive amalgam of rock, funk, hip-hop and jazz. Bass, drums, keyboards and sax are the foundation of edgy rock-meets-soul instrumental arrangements; keyboardist Ethan Capone adds the sound of guitar and a brass section as needed.

Next, and of equal interest, are the lyrics. The compositions would be interesting as instrumentals, but the vocalists—Harumi the Hymn and Billy Shesman—round things out with vivid offbeat lyric imagery. There's attitude, there's irony and there is imaginative vocabulary in play here—as well as the occasional “;four-letter word.”; Whether the topic is an opaque account of a young girl's troubled childhood or wry observations on the local club scene, the Deadbeats have something is interesting to say and an interesting way of saying it.

The Deadbeats' album positions them as potential winners in at least two categories at the 2010 Hoku Awards. They should hit it commercially well before that.


;» ”;Bubba”;
;» ”;Honolulu”;
;» ”;Walking Cliché”;