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Touching tribute


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POSTED: Friday, September 25, 2009

'Pulelehua: My Precious Butterfly'

Nohelani Cypriano
(Pulelehua)

; Cypriano's first album in more than a decade is the most personal project of her career.

It's a requiem for her beloved mother, Leina'ala Simerson, that includes originals written by Cypriano and family friends, along with pop chart hits and contemporary Christian songs that express feelings of loss and eternal love. There are also three duets with her mother recorded for another project that went unreleased until now.

Cypriano has been one of Hawaii's great pop voices for more than 30 years, and she lives up to expectations here. A rough cut of the album was leaked in 2008, but this is the official, “;ready-for-prime-time”; version; individual songs are also available on iTunes.

“;Pulelehua”; comes complete with composers' credits, family photos and liner notes that tell the story of Cypriano's love for her mother and the significance of each song. Although deeply personal, the album offers solace to anyone mourning the death of loved one.

www.nohelanicyprianocom

;» ”;Hawaiian Soul”;
;» ”;Tears In Heaven”;
;» ”;Pulelehua (“Butterfly”)”;


'Ekolu Music II: Anthem'

Ekolu
(Waiehu)

; The front cover shows a trio, the back a quintet, and the production credits list a total of 12 performers. Whatever the official roster, Ekolu's sixth album brings their commercially successful sound forward in fine style. With back-to-back Na Hoku Hanohano Award wins for Best Reggae Album in 2005 and 2006, this one is an obvious front-runner for 2010.

Lukela Keala, sole survivor of the original trio, is again the resident composer and primary vocalist. He wrote seven songs and co-wrote two more on “;Anthem.”; Makapu “;Puku man”; Ho'opii, who joined Ekolu after the first CD was released, gets credit for the other original; he too is a competent writer. Jawaiian remakes of pop hits by Richard Marx (”;Endless Summer Nights”;) and Prince (”;I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”;) complete the package.

The smooth vocalizing of Keala and Ho'opii ties it all together here, while crisp Jawaiian rhythms add commercial appeal. Pop remakes are rarely wise choices artistically for Hawaii artists, but the Marx remake is an exception to the rule.

Most of Keala's songs address contemporary male/female relationships from various perspectives—win, lose, regret and the excitement of being “;in the state of romance.”;

Two on other topics stand out—“;Watayaya”; responds to criticism from Johnny-come-lately music wannabes he doesn't deign to name; evidently they know who they are! “;In the Name of Jesus”; closes the album with a heartfelt statement of Keala's Christian faith.

www.ekolulive.com

;» ”;Endless Summer Nights”;
;» ”;You Will Always Be”;
;» ”;Watayaya”;


'C&K'

Cecilio & Kapono
(C&K)

; For the past 30 years Cecilio & Kapono have lived with the challenge posed by the tremendous success of four albums they recorded in the '70s.

Henry Kapono has released three highly significant solo projects since then, but Cee saw years ago that as a duo they have something special, timeless and unique that is bigger than all their accomplishments as solo entities. Acts with far less talent and back catalog would be happy to go on playing nothing but their old hits forever, but Cee and Henry have continued to write “;C&K music”; over the years as well as working on solo projects.

This eight-song album is their first Hawaii studio project since “;Good Times Together”; more than 20 years ago. “;Good Times”; was a multi-Hoku Award winner in 1989, so count this as a front-runner in one category or another for next year's Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.

Fans will find all the familiar components intact—the distinctive individual voices and the “;harmonies perfectly blending,”; Cecilio's harmonica, and interplay between them on guitar.

The experience of being C&K has been a recurring theme over the years, most notably in “;Friends”; (”;it's so nice to see familiar faces out in the crowd”;) and “;Someday,”; and then in “;Good Times Together.”; Several songs here cover the same subject another 21 years on.

Longtime C&K fans will detect hints of familiar melodies as well; never to the point where they're plagiarizing themselves, but sufficiently to catch the ear and stir memories of good old times together.

www.ceciliokapono.com

;» ”;That’s Love”;
;» ”;Forever & For All”;
;» ”;Too Many Lovers”;