De Lima tunes in on furloughs


POSTED: Friday, November 13, 2009

'The Furlough Song'

Frank De Lima
(no label)

Frank De Lima has done political song parodies for more than 20 years, but most of that time they've only been as topical as the release date of his semiannual albums. The evolution of the record industry in general and public acceptance of legal downloads have changed all that.

The public school teachers' problematic Furlough Friday program was less than a week old when De Lima and his musical brain-trust—lyricist Patrick Downes and musician/producer David Kauahikaua—released their take on the issue as a free download at www.frankdelima.com.

The trio utilizes the melody and structure of Harry Belafonte's 1956 pop chart hit “;Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),”; with De Lima speaking for education-hungry students: “;Furlough day is lolo [crazy]. Friday come and we gotta stay home!”;

“;The Furlough Song”; can be downloaded for free, but a small donation to the Frank De Lima Student Enrichment Program would be welcomed.


;» ";The Furlough Song";


'Pahea ka Lawai'a'

(Makalei Music)

; Whenever a new group records with studio musicians playing the same instruments that the group members do, it is natural to wonder how much of the music on the record is the group and how much of it is the work of the studio crew. Stew Kawakami (guitar/ukulele/vocals) and Mike Judd (upright bass/vocals) acknowledge the kokua of an impressive roster of high-caliber guests—Pomaika'i Brown (upright bass/ukulele), Barry Kimokeo (guitar) and Dean Taba (upright bass), to name three—but there are no additional voices, and that fact alone would make them a welcome addition to the Hawaiian music scene.

The title song, co-written by Kawakami and Paki Vaughan, introduces them in fine style—the lyrics are Hawaiian, the harmonies smooth, the arrangement is crisp and acoustic, and it's evident that both men have strong individual voices. “;Lei Aloha Lei Makamae,”; “;Ka Lei Punahou”; and “;Moloka'i Nui a Hina”; are also nicely done. There isn't enough of this modern Hawaiian music being recorded these days!

Kawakami and Judd step away from Hawaiian music with several other selections. “;Oceans Away”; evokes memories of an earlier time in tropical local pop with Noel Okimoto sitting in on vibraphone. A jazzy take on “;Come Fly With Me”; pays homage to Frank Sinatra and shows what the duo can do with a jazz combo and a live string section behind them.

Makalei's final selection, “;The Wonderful World of Aloha,”; closes their debut on a romantic note while further demonstrating the diversity of the duo's repertoire.


;» ”;Pahea Ka Lawai‘a”;
;» ”;Ka Paniolo Nui O Moloka‘i”;
;» ”;Kukonaala’a”;


(Seawind Jazz)

; Reunion projects by long-missed groups are always welcome in theory but not always easy to bring to fruition. In some cases there are individual group members who aren't willing or able to forget the issues that caused the breakup. In others, death or physical infirmity makes a credible reunion of the original group impossible. Neither of those potential problems is an issue with this beautifully produced reunion by six of the seven original members of Seawind.

Pauline Wilson's voice gave Seawind its pop edge, most notably on “;Follow Your Road”; and “;Devil Is a Liar,”; and she returns in fine form. However, Seawind was and is first and foremost a jazz fusion group; Bob Wilson and Larry Williams share credit for intricate instrumental arrangements that give the guys plenty of room to stretch out. “;Wayne,”; one of Williams' compositions, is more than six minutes of instrumental magic.

The group revisits its biggest pop hits with new recordings of “;Follow Your Road,”; “;Devil Is a Liar”; and “;He Loves You,”; with Al Jarreau sitting in on scat vocals on “;He Loves You.”; Several other selections introduce an expanded version of the Seawind Horns on several other selections (FYI, Jerry Hey is the missing member of the original group; Larry Hall, a member of the group in its pre-Seawind days, is his replacement, with Hall's head grafted onto Hey's body in one of the group photos).

Seawind doesn't promote itself as a contemporary Christian group, but Christians will recognize and embrace the spiritual themes in composer Bob Wilson's lyrics.


;» ”;Kept By Your Power”;
;» ”;He Loves You”;
;» ”;Devil Is A Liar”;