Get to know Augie again


POSTED: Friday, December 11, 2009

'Ultimate Comedy Collection: Augie T's Greatest Hits'

Augie T (Kinetic Films)

; It has been a long time since Augie T lived in Kam IV housing, bought after-school snacks with food stamps and had to “;catch bus”; to go to work, but his new two-disc DVD shows that he remembers the experience of pinching pennies. This collection of old, new and previously unreleased material provides eight hours of entertainment for a list price of $19.99. The contents include his “;Then & Now”; show at Farrington High School in 2006 and his sold-old Blaisdell Arena show.

There is also tour footage of Augie in Alaska, on the neighbor islands, and performing in Halawa Prison. Newly released material includes his 2009 Kaneohe Comedy Crusade and the second season of “;The Augie Show.”;

The Farrington show was a milestone in his career, a triumphant return to his alma mater (he graduated in 1986) for a performance in front of a sold-out crowd. It remains a great night in local-style stand-up comedy and underscores Augie's place as one of the major local comedians of his generation.

Add the other concert performances and sitcom segments, and this is a comprehensive and affordable introduction to his work.


'Mana'o Pili'

Waipuna (Poki)

; Waipuna makes its debut too late for the 2010 Grammy Awards but in time to be one of the major contenders for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards next summer.

Kale Hannahs (vocals/bass/pahu) already has three Hokus for his work as a member of 'Ale'a. Matthew Sproat (vocals/six-string guitar/six-string ukulele) is a member of the “;Kindy”; Sproat ohana and 2003 winner of the Clyde “;Kindy”; Sproat Falsetto and Storytelling Contest. The duo makes a great first impression with “;Malama Mau Hawai'i,”; a Willie K composition that they embellish with pahu rhythms while bassist Glenn Mayeda Jr. provides additional support on electric bass.

Next comes a zesty rendition of “;Papa Sia”; that gives Hannahs a chance to rock the bass. A soothing “;Lehua Mamo”; reaffirms their strengths as vocalists.

The album reaches its apogee when pianist Aaron J. Sala joins them on “;Ali'ipoe”; and someone—Sproat, presumably—sings falsetto. Sala provides perfect instrumental embellishment to the vocalist, and the ear-catching combination of piano and falsetto sets the song apart from all the others.

Waipuna jumps abruptly from Hawaiian to country-western with “;I Can See Arkansas,”; the least likely fit in the collection. “;Home”; also has a country feel to it, but is an original by Sproat. In between the two is “;Owl's Lullaby,”; an English-language folk song that is identified in the liner notes as a favorite of the Sproat ohana.

Neil Hannahs' liner notes provide background information on the duo and their four dancers (who don't sing on the album), but CD buyers who are not fluent in Hawaiian will need to look elsewhere for information on the lyrics and English translations.


;» ”;Malama Mau Hawai'i”;
;» ”;Papa Sia”;
;» ”;Lehua Mamo”;


Chiyo with Bruce Shimabukuro (Forever Enterprise)

; While Jake Shimabukuro off meeting Queen Elizabeth II in England, his talented younger brother, ukulele virtuoso Bruce Shimabukuro, is celebrating the release of a beautiful album that is also a personal career milestone.

Japanese pianist Chiyo Flynn saw Bruce playing at a local restaurant and envisioned recording an album of melodies arranged for their two instruments. This is it. Chiyo and Bruce mesh perfectly.

They open with the title song, one of four Chiyo originals, and prove the appeal of the concept as they neatly trade off as the “;lead”; instrument. Chiyo's piano is the dominant (louder) instrument on some verses, Bruce's ukulele on others. It is as if the musicians are in motion and their distance from the microphone is changing as they play, or as if the distance between the performers and the audience is changing.

On other selections the two instruments are balanced and equally loud throughout. The artistry is beautiful either way (credit for the mixes goes to studio veteran Milan Bertosa).

Three selections are arrangements of other composers' work. Pachelbel's “;Canon in D”; is a beautiful reworking of a Baroque classic from 17th-century Europe. “;Lullaby—Takeda No Komoriuta”; applies piano and ukulele to a Japanese folk melody, and “;As the Deer”; closes the album with the duo's take on a Christian hymn that is gentle but suggests great spiritual power.

Imaginative in concept and soothing in style, “;Lani”; is the perfect antidote to Christmas-season stress and provides beautiful music for all seasons.


;» ”;Lani”;
;» ”;Believe”;
;» ”;Canoon in D”;