'Kaden' sweet and easy


POSTED: Friday, April 02, 2010

''Kaden' Boy'

Anjj Lee

; The “;name song”; has been a cherished tradition in local music for generations and ranges in style from Hawaiian and hapa-haole classics such as “;Kawohikukapulani”; and “;Sweet Leilani”; to Willie K's unforgettable “;Uelani E.”; Singer/songwriter Anjj Lee now makes her contribution to the genre with this song written for a friend's young son. Released last December, “;'Kaden' Boy”; won Single of the Year at the 2010 Hawaii Music Awards last weekend.

The rhythms are Caribbean, the arrangement as much about calypso as reggae. The lyrics are sweet and child-friendly: “;'Kaden' boy/Fish and poi/You bring me so much joy ... Hawai'i no ka oi.”; It's a love song easy for a child to sing along with but with a rhythmic hook catchy enough for older ears as well.

“;'Kaden' Boy”; can be downloaded via Lee's Web site, www.anjjlee.com. A limited number of CD-singles are also available at her gigs.

;» ”;'Kaden' Boy”;

'Hiromi in Love'

Hiromi Kanda
(Music Gate)

; Timing can be everything. This romantic nostalgic album by Japanese vocalist Hiromi Kanda has a timeless beauty, but how wonderful it would have been if it had reached Hawaii before the Honolulu Symphony shut down last fall?

Why, you ask? Because Kanda's arranger/conductor is Honolulu Symphony “;Pops”; Conductor Matt Catingub, the band consists of the local musicians he uses on all his big band pop and jazz projects, and the orchestra backing them is the Honolulu Symphony.

This is the way that pop music was recorded back when these songs were new—with a big band backed by live strings. Give Kanda, Catingub and producer Yusuke Hoguchi credit for putting in the time and money to do it right. If this is to be the symphony's last hurrah, it's going out in superb style.

Concertmaster Ignace “;Iggy”; Jang solos on “;Someone to Watch over Me,”; and the multi-talented Catingub sings backing vocals on one song and plays a sax solo on two, while Kanda sings the classics with seductive charm.

Americans generally find Asian accents exotic and so while she generally does quite well with the lyrics her distinct Japanese accent doesn't detract. Her renditions of pop standards such as “;In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”; and “;When I Fall in Love”; will bring back memories of time spent in Asia for many Americans—and appeal perhaps to fans of “;lounge music”; as well.


;» ”;That Old Feeling”;
;» ”;How Deep Is The Ocean”;
;» ”;I'll Never Smile Again”;

'Nobody Owns Me'

(Pearl City Publishing)

; Born in Seattle, a Hawaii resident since high school, singer/songwriter Faioso Leau introduces herself with a collection of original hip-hop vignettes inspired by “;personal life, relationships, politics and culture.”; She released them as downloads in December but now steps up with the complete package on CD.

The title track turns out to be a whimsical love song. Unlike Lesley Gore's 1964 anthem, “;You Don't Own Me,”; the message here is that Faioso is so into the boy she loves that her heart “;blows bubbles.”; A entirely different side of her personality is heard in “;Better”; as she informs a misbehaving man that “;I need leave you to make you better.”;

“;I'm Movin On”; stands out musically in combining stream-of-consciousness lyrics with the human beat box percussion of Jason Tom. Yet another noteworthy cut, “;U Can,”; delivers a message of empowerment that should be utilized as a public service message by a local social service agency (”;If you think you can't, you can't! If you think you can, you might!”;).

Faioso delves into the darker side of hip hop culture as well. Some cuts refer to drug dealing. One isn't clear as to what's for sale. Such is street life.

Faioso and her production team keep it fresh using an imaginative variety of beats, tempos and backing tracks. The individual tracks are interesting but the full package makes a stronger statement.

“;Nobody Owns Me”; is available via iTunes and Faioso's Web site, http://www.faioso.com.


;» ”;Nobody Owns Me (But You, Boy)”;
;» ”;U Can”;
;» ”;Never”;