Island Mele

By John Berger,
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Friday, January 15, 1999

Big Isle group
still jamming

'Ukulele Lullaby: Pa'ani Pila (Liko)

Aself-titled debut album introduced Pa'ani Pila in 1997. It was a mixed bag of originals, modern Hawaiian standards, local bar band remakes and pseudo-Jamaican affectations. The Big Island quartet's second album is more of the same.

"Jammin' Big Island Style" is equal parts snappy arrangement and faux Jamaican posing. Ditto "Sweet Sweet Baby." The guys can jam but the bogus accents have got to go!

Hawaiian pop remakes of Bill Withers' "Lean On Me" and the Beatles' "Oh Darling" are better but still local bar band stuff. Pa'ani Pila does well with Hawaiian standards. Their arrangement of "Hanohano Hawaii/Na Moku 'Eha" suggests that they are fans of Led Kaapana.

The band writes in several styles. "The Richest Man" is an earnest contemporary local love song. "Crazy K Highway" finds them exploring a Hawaiian rock sound. The title song caps the collection; a synthetic string section is its only flaw.

In The Mix: SKI & The Swing Flava Family (MGC)

RAPPER SKI (aka SKI-103) earned a spot in local music history with "Hole Stroller," the best local rap song of the early 1990s. That was two albums ago. This one has notable "old skool" moments as SKI makes present tense references to "the Nine-Five," "the Nine-Tray," and other years past. Hook phrases from old albums percolate through this one too.

SKI and Accumix share credit for producing this collection of original rap tracks and dance mixes. "Caught In The Mix" is as catchy as anything coming out of local studios. An uncredited female rapper adds a memorable romantic edge to "Destiny Love."

Volume I: Kimo Keliiholokai (Island Spirit Productions) CD single

IT'S been over three years since Kimo Keliiholokai introduced himself with his first local album. This CD single previews his second. Both songs are significant steps forward for him as composer and arranger who can deftly blend live and synthetic instruments.

"Island Spirit Island Voice" is an expansive anthem with an imaginative arrangement. "Come Bruddah We Go, " a whimsical cross-cultural potpourri, is imaginative too.

See Record Reviews for some of John Berger's past reviews.
See Aloha Worldwide for locals living away.

John Berger, who has covered the local
entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings
produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Home Zone
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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