Exceeding previous promise


POSTED: Friday, October 30, 2009

”;Four Strings: The Fire Within”;

Brittni Paiva (Talmidim)

At the age of 21, Brittni Paiva has successfully outgrown her early identity as a novelty act — “;She's young! She's a girl! She plays three instruments!”; Paiva's debut album was a home-brewed project on which she played ukulele, guitar and bass.

On this, her fourth, she concentrates on ukulele and displays her continuing development as a youthful virtuoso.

“;Europa,”; presented as an acoustic duet by Paiva and guitarist Charles Michael Brotman, stands out in its artistry and simplicity. The other duet, “;Somewhere Over the Rainbow,”; is also successful; Dean Taba adds just the slightest hint of bass underneath her interpretation of the familiar melody.

Paiva creates a different sound elsewhere by playing multiple ukulele parts. This helps keep her in the forefront when she's accompanied by drums, keyboards, bass and other instruments.

Paiva's debut album won the Hoku Award for Most Promising Artist(s) in 2005. This could be her ticket back to the winners' circle.


“;Cruisin' on 7”;

“;Sunday Morning”;



Na Palapalai (Hulu Kupuna Productions)

The long-awaited fourth album by Na Palapalai is a milestone twice over. It is the first by Kuana Torres Kahele and Kehau Tamure as a duo. It is also the first Na Palapalai project where the group had complete creative control.

It takes nothing away from the two multi-Hoku Award-winning Na Palapalai albums with Ke'ao Costa, or an earlier album Kahele and Tamure made as members of another group, to say that “;Nanea”; is everything a modern Hawaiian album should be. Kahele and Tamure make beautiful music together!

They open with a classic, “;Ho'oipo Hula,”; and follow it with “;Aloha No Ka'u,”; the first of several originals. It doesn't take long to be captivated by their new sound. They epitomize the tradition of Hawaiian falsetto singing throughout this impressive collection of 16 songs, and Kahele's lower-register voice is featured as well.

Aaron Sala (piano) and Paul Kim (steel guitar) provide solid support as the duo's primary guest musicians in giving them the musical depth of a quartet. They close on a spiritual note with a contemporary Christian hymn, “;Precious Moments,”; that captures the beauty of their voices perfectly.

Thorough documentation is essential for all Hawaiian albums, and Kahele and Tamure provide both Hawaiian lyrics and English translations. While “;Nanea”; missed the cutoff date for the 2010 Grammy Awards, it would represent Hawaiian music quite well on the final ballot in 2011!

Ho‘oipo Hula (Ipo Hula)”;

Aloha No Ka‘u

Pua Lasana


”;Canefield Hero”;

David Tamaoka (Mix808)

David Tamaoka sounds too young to be married — but it's probably a point in his favor.

Most of the eight songs on this all-original calling card describe experiences of people still looking for the love of their life, rather than the lucky few who have already found it. With Charles Michael Brotman as his producer and Garin Poliahu (drums) and Dean Taba (bass) as his sidemen, Tamaoka and his compositions are ready for prime time, major radio airplay and national audiences.

It's probably another point in his favor that he sounds a lot like other young singer-songwriters — think Matt Costa or Jason Mraz — and fits right into that mold. Equally important, he has a knack for crafting ear-catching phrases and lyrical imagery of his own. Take “;So Uncomfortable,”; in which he tells a woman who he is evidently on the outs with, “;I'm the cold wind sinking into your skin ... when you think of uncomfortable things, I hope you think of me.”;

On “;Dream Now”; he observes that “;If you look the way you feel, then everybody's gonna hate you,”; while on “;Eventually (Do Re Mi)”; he informs a twinkling star that it has lost its magic mystery: “;The scientists have explained you away. For all we know you could have burned out a billion years ago.”;

Not much point in wishing on a star then, is there?

Tamaoka closes on what sounds at first a slightly brighter and more upbeat note with “;Nothing Gold.”; The first verses describe the thrill of love supreme in vivid terms. But, as it turns out, “;nothing gold can stay, you should have know better.”;

Alone again!

Tell Me Again


Jet Planes Disappear