Jake links Hawaii, Japan


POSTED: Friday, September 11, 2009


Jake Shimabukuro
(Hitchhike HRCD)

; Jake Shimabukuro's new CD-single commemorates two events of interest to the Japanese community both in Hawaii and in Japan. The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii is observing its 120th anniversary this month, and the 750th anniversary of the death of Shinran Shonin, the founder of Shin Buddhism, as well. This CD-single commemorates both milestones.

Shimabukuro has two of the fastest hands in the business, but his work here displays his soft and sweet each. Each individual note can be savored.

Dean Taba backs him on bass with such restraint on the title track that it takes careful listening to detect hints of another instrument. A string section and soft percussion are slightly more intrusive on “;Ichigoichie”; but never challenge Shimabukuro's rightful place in the spotlight.

The CD is available in the U.S. at his concerts, through online stores and at www.jakeshimabukuro.com. Fans in Japan can also buy it in record stores.


;» ”;annon”;
;» ”;ichigoichie”;


Lorna Lim

; Lorna Lim makes another significant contribution to the extensive discography of the Lim Family with this exquisitely crafted album.

Lim, her parents, sisters and brother Elmer “;Sonny”; Lim Jr. won back-to-back Hoku Awards (Traditional Hawaiian Album) in 1981 and 1982, and the group returned to the winners' circle following her father's death to win a third Hoku (Group of the Year) in 2002.

“;Polinahe”; is now an obvious front-runner in several categories for the 2010 Hoku Awards, and it would represent Hawaii beautifully at next year's Grammy Awards as well.

Lim's voice is as sweet as it when the Lim Family's recording of “;Pua Olena”; first hit almost 30 years ago. Now as then, her singing takes the listener to a place that is soothing and pure. Grammy Award-winning producer Charles Michael Brotman surrounds her with talent while keeping the arrangements traditionalist in context.

All but one song is Hawaiian; “;Lovely Hula Girl,”; by Jack Pitman and Randy Oness, adds a hapa-haole classic to the package. Lim recorded these songs with hula dancers in mind. Her zesty rendition of “;Ka Ha Ua La”; will get ti leaf skirts flying from Kauai to Ka'u.

“;Kapilimehana,”; “;Alekoki”; and “;He Nani o Moloka'i”; also stand out as hula numbers. With “;Aloha No,”; Lim transcends the language barrier with the sweetness of her voice. The title song is memorable for the same reason.

Hula cannot exist without lyrics. They're posted at www.palmrecords.com.


;» ”;Wailau”;
;» ”;Hula O Makee”;
;» ”;Aloha No”;

'Yesterday & Today'

Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaii
(Hawaii Sons)

; When the Board of Governors of the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) informed Eddie Kamae earlier this year that it was planning to give the Sons of Hawai'i a Lifetime Achievement Award, Kamae stipulated the award must include everyone who had been a Son during the group's five decade history—not just the founding four members, or some others cherry-picked from the complete roster, as had been done when honoring other venerable groups.

In the end a compromise was reached, and HARA honored all those who had recorded as an official member of the group (Kamae and Gabby Pahinui had previously received individual Lifetime Achievement Awards).

The back story is necessary in understanding Kamae's commitment to the big picture here. Five 1970s vintage recordings represent the Sons as they were in the 1970s; seven new recordings others show that the current roster—Kamae, Mike Kaawa, Paul Kim, Ocean Kaowili and Analu Aina—are worthy successors to Kamae's colleagues of years past.

“;Koke'e”; stands out as the best known of the classics Kamae selected here; the Sons' definitive recording of the song is indeed timeless. Die-hard fans of the old-time Sons might be surprised, but the new songs mesh perfectly with the old. Kamae's message—that the Sons of Hawai'i are a living and evolving presence in traditional Hawaiian music—comes through perfectly.

Kamae completes this excellent album with background information on each song.


;» ”;Nani Waikiki”;
;» ”;Rain Li‘ili‘i”;
;» ”;Ho‘ina‘inau Mea Ipo I Ka Nahele”;